Complaints about police

Complaints about police

You have a right to be treated fairly by the police.

If you believe you have not been treated fairly by a police officer you can make a complaint against them.

Where to lodge a complaint

Police Conduct Unit

All complaints about police can be made to the Police Conduct Unit. You can also complain directly to the officer-in-charge at the station if you feel comfortable and safe doing so.

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission

You can also complain to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. The IBAC does not work for Victoria Police. They can investigate things like serious corruption but cannot investigate all complaints. If you send your complaint to IBAC and it is not serious, they may give your complaint to the Police Conduct Unit to handle.

You can report the police officer without giving your name if you are worried that the police officer will know who you are.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

To make a complaint about the Australian Federal Police contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Make a complaint as soon as you can

Make your complaint as soon as possible. Talk to a lawyer, especially if the police have charged you with an offence. You can get free legal advice from Victoria Legal Aid or a community legal centre.

What to put in your complaint

Write down everything that happened. Include:

  • what happened to you
  • the date and time it happened
  • the names of the police involved, their rank and station. Try to get these details at the time the incident happened.

If you have been physically hurt:

  • see a doctor straight away
  • get someone to take a photo of your injuries. Photos from a personal camera might not be good enough. Ask your doctor about specialist doctors who can take proper photos
  • write down as much as you can about who hurt you. Include their name, rank and the police station where they work
  • write down what happened, who said what and the names and contact details of any witnesses
  • write down the name of the last person to see you before you were hurt and the first person to see you afterwards. Ask them to write their own notes as soon as possible
  • contact a lawyer who can help you make a complaint.

Suing for compensation and damages

You may be able to sue Victoria Police for compensation and damages if you believe you suffered a genuine wrong by the police officer. You will need evidence of your suffering and loss. These cases are usually very serious. Get legal advice as soon as possible after the incident.

Additional support

Indigenous people

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service can help Indigenous people who want to complain about the police. They can provide support and free legal advice about your options.

Gay and lesbian people

Contact the Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit if you are worried about dealing with police officers or are not happy with how the police handled your complaint.

Racial or religious discrimination

You may believe that a police officer did not help you because of your race or religious background, or that a police officer treated you badly because of your race or religious background. You can complain to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Your human rights

You have rights, freedoms and responsibilities under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006. The Victorian Government and its agencies must consider these rights and freedoms when they make laws and provide services to the public. Victoria Police is part of the Victorian Government.

For more information about the charter contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

If you believe your existing rights have been breached,get legal advice.

Note: international human rights law requires that an independent body has to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment by police.

Get help

Find out how you can get help dealing with police.

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