Victoria Police

Victoria Police is the primary law enforcement agency of Victoria, Australia. It was formed in 1853 and now operates under the Victoria Police Act 2013[4][5][6]

Victoria Police
Badge of the Victoria Police
Flag of the Victoria Police
MottoUphold the Right
Tenez le Droit" until 1975
Agency overview
Formed8 January, 1853
Employees19,635 (30 June 2018) [1]
Annual budgetA$3,011.5 billion (2018–19) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionVictoria, Australia
Victoria Police jurisdiction
Governing bodyGovernment of Victoria
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed byIndependent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) (Formerly Office of Police Integrity)
HeadquartersVictoria Police Centre
637 Flinders Street,
Docklands, VIC 3008
GPO Box 913
37.8189°S 144.9624°E / -37.8189; 144.9624
Sworn members15,700 (June 2018) [1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
RegionsWestern, Eastern, North West Metro, Southern Metro [3]
Stations333 [1]

As of 30 June 2018, Victoria Police had over 19,635 members, including 73 Protective Services Officers and 238 Police Recruits in training, 2 reservists and 3,231 civilian staff across 333 police stations. It had a budget of A$3.011bn with an expenditure of 3.064bn.[4]

Between 31 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, Victoria Police responded to 892,374 emergency calls, a reduction of 13.9% from previous year.[4]


Early history

The early settlers of Melbourne provided their own police force and in 1840 there were 12 constables who were paid two shillings and nine pence per day and the chief constable was Mr. W (Tulip) Wright.[7] Charles Brodie followed Wright as chief constable in 1842 and was succeeded by W. J. Sugden who held the positions of 'town chief constable' and superintendent of the local fire brigade.[7] By 1847 there were police in 'country centres' and the Melbourne force was composed of 'one chief officer, four sergeants, and 20 petty constables'.[7] There was also 'a force of 28 mounted natives' enlisted and trained by DeVilliers and, later, Captain Pulteney Dana.[7]

The Snodgrass Committee was established in early 1852 to "identify the policing needs of the colony" and, following the Committee's report in September 1852, the Victoria Police was formally established on 8 January 1853[8] from an existing colonial police force of 875 men. Later that month William Henry Fancourt Mitchell was 'gazetted as Chief Commissioner of Police for the Colony of Victoria'.[9]

In 1853, Victoria Police was the first police organisation in Australia who merged all its police entities into one organisation under Victoria Police Chief Commissioner William Mitchell. Victoria continues to be the only state in Australia with a Chief Commissioner of Police.[10]

Their first major engagement was the following year, 1854, in support of British soldiers during the events leading up to, and confrontation at, the Eureka Stockade where some miners (mostly Irish), police and soldiers were killed. From a report at the time: 'the troops and Police were under arms, and just at the first blush of dawn they marched upon the camp at Eureka'.[11]

Mitchell resigned as Chief Commissioner and Charles MacMahon, was appointed acting chief commissioner that same year.[12] After the formation of the Victorian Police, the first recorded death on duty was Edward Gray in 1853, followed by William Hogan in 1854, both of drowning.[13]

The following couple of decades saw the growth of the police force, including the beginning of construction of the Russell Street police station in 1859.[14]

Six years later, three more officers (Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlan) who were hunting the Kelly Gang, were killed by them at Stringybark Creek.[15][16] Two years later, in 1880, the police confronted the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan. A shoot-out ensued on 28 June, during which three members of the Kelly Gang were killed and following which Ned Kelly was shot and captured.[17]

In 1888 senior constable John Barry produced the first Victoria Police Guide, a manual for officers.[18] (The Victoria Police Manual, as it is now known, remains the comprehensive guide to procedure in the Victoria Police.) Police officers were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections the same year.[19]

In 1899 the force introduced the Victoria Police Valour Award to recognise the bravery of members.[20] Three years later, in 1902, the right to a police pension was revoked.[21]

In October 1917, Victoria Police appointed Madge Connor as a 'police agent'—while not a full sworn officer, Connor was the first women to be made a member of a police service in Australia,[22] and was one of four women to be sworn in as officers in 1924, after she led a successful campaign for equal pay and status within the force.[23]

1923 Victoria Police strike

On 31 October 1923 members of the Victoria Police Force refused duty and went on strike over the introduction of a new supervisory system. The police strike led to riots and looting in Melbourne's central business district. The Victorian government enlisted special constables, and the Commonwealth of Australia called out the Australian military. Victoria Police are the only Australian police department to ever go on strike.

Only a few of the strikers were ever employed as policemen again, but the government increased pay and conditions for police as a result. Members of the Victoria Police (as its officers are generally known) now have among the highest union membership rates of any occupation, at well over 90%. The Victorian police union, the Police Association, remains a very powerful industrial and political force in Victoria.

Recent history – controversy and corruption allegations

In the 1980s and 1990s allegations were made against most Australian police forces of corruption and graft, culminating in the establishment of several Royal Commissions and anti-corruption watchdogs. Inquiries have also been held into Victoria Police (Beach et al.). The force was criticised because members of the public (both innocent and guilty) were being fatally shot at a rate exceeding that of all other Australian police forces combined.[24] Related criticisms emerged after the 2008 killing of Tyler Cassidy by Victoria Police officers, which was partly blamed on inadequate training. In later years, numerous edits were made to the Wikipedia article about the killing from police computers, in an attempt to give a more favourable impression of the officers' conduct and the subsequent investigation.[25]

In 2001, Christine Nixon was appointed Chief Commissioner, becoming the first woman to head a police force in Australia.

In May 2004 former police officer Simon Illingworth appeared on ABC-TV's Australian Story documentary program to tell his disturbing story of entrenched police corruption in Victoria Police. He has also written a book about his experiences entitled Filthy Rat.[26]

In early 2007, Don Stewart, a retired Supreme Court judge, called for a royal commission into Victorian police corruption. Stewart alleged that the force was riddled with corruption that the Office of Police Integrity was unable to deal with.[27]

In early February 2009, in response to evidence that many of the 2009 Victorian bushfires were deliberately lit, chief commissioner Christine Nixon announced the creation of Taskforce Phoenix to investigate all related deaths during the fires, to be led by assistant commissioner Dannye Moloney of the crime department and was composed of around 100 police officers.[28]

On 2 March 2009, Simon Overland was named as the new chief commissioner, replacing Christine Nixon, who was retiring.[29] On June 2011 Overland announced his decision to resign prematurely with effect from 1 July 2011 over what many assume were the allegations of corruption, the ombudsman criticism and the government pressure.[30][31][32]

In November 2011 then acting chief commissioner Ken Lay was named as chief commissioner after five months' caretaking.

On 21 October 2011 the police force evicted Occupy Melbourne protesters from Melbourne City Square. Despite 173 arrests being made, no charges have been laid against any protesters.[33]

On 29 December 2014 Lay announced he was stepping down as the chief commissioner of Victoria Police after three years of service, taking leave until his resignation took effect on 31 January 2015. Deputy chief commissioner Tim Cartwright was acting in the role until a new commissioner was appointed.[34] On 25 May 2015, Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton of the Australian Federal Police was announced as the new chief commissioner—he took up the role in July 2015.[35]

In April 2016, the treasurer announced an investment of $586 million into Victoria Police. From those, $540 million will be used to employ 406 additional sworn police officers and 52 additional specialist staff, technology upgrades and an expanded forensic capability of Victoria Police; $36.8 million to replace and refurbish a number of police stations in regional and rural areas; $19.4 million to continue the Community Crime Prevention Program; $63 million to enhance counter-terrorism capability, including an additional 40 sworn police officers and 48 additional specialist staff to investigate and respond to an increased terror threat. The budget also funds a package of initiatives for all Victoria Police employees to help deal with mental health problems.[36]

In 2015, Victoria Police employed The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) to examine the nature and prevalence of sex discrimination, including predatory behaviour, amongst Victoria Police personnel.[37] Kate Jenkins was appointed the Commissioner[37] and, in mid December 2015, VEOHRC revealed its findings.[38] Shortly after, on 9 December 2015, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ashton apologised over the high tolerance and prevalence of sexual harassment and the sexual discrimination and gender inequality within Victoria Police. Ashton pledged a change of direction and the implementation of all 20 recommendations by VEOHRC.[39]

In September 2017, Transport Accident Commission (TAC) notified Victoria Police of "anomalies" in the preliminary breath tests statistics data. TAC and Victoria Police analyzed more than 17.1m tests starting February 2012 and found that 258,463, or less than 1.5% tests were probably false.[40] As a result, in mid 2018, TAC froze $4m funding to Victoria Police operations. Victoria Police also started an internal investigation into the matter, notified IBAC and appointed former chief commissioner Neil Comrie to conduct an investigation into the causes.[41][41] A preliminary report suggested that unrealistic management demands of between 50 and 100 breath tests per shift was a possible cause to faking the tests. The methods used by police officers was that of placing a finger over the straw entry hole of breath testing equipment or blowing into the straw themselves.[41]

In April 2018, Victoria Police officers from the Preston station were suspended 'over allegations of brutality' and a fifth, from the Bendigo area, has 'been assigned to other duties' following a claim 'in which a man had his head thrown against a police cell door'.[42]

Uniform history

Between 1853 and 1877, when the first Victoria Police officers emerged, the uniforms resembled the military style of the day. Mounted and foot officers wore dark blue jackets buttoned to the neck. Mounted troops wore swords whilst the Gold Escorts carried revolvers and rifles. The foot patrols, as equipment, had wooden batons, notebooks, handcuffs and a whistle to call for assistance when in need. The whistles were fixed to the officer tunic by chain which prevented losing the whistle or falling during a foot chase,[43][44]

In 1877 and until 1947 Victoria Police's uniform resembled British Metropolitan Police's uniform. In 1920, the Wolseley leather "bobby" helmet was also introduced. Policeman were wearing striped pieces of cloth (brassards) on their lower left cuffs to show they were on duty. During World War II, Victoria Police issued anti-shrapnel steel helmets, also referred as "tin hats".[43]

Between 1947 and 1979, a major uniform change took place for Victorian Police officers. The bobby helmet was replaced by a black cloth peak cap, a silver police badge was introduced along with white shirts and ties for the general police officers. In 1963, a white pith helmet with a puggaree hatband and a hand-held radio were added to the Victoria Police general duties officers. Along with a new uniform, Victoria Police also introduced the first uniform for women. The uniform for females featured a knee-length skirt, a button-up jacket, a shirt and tie, tights, and peak hats made to fit a lady's hairstyle. Starting with 1972 until 1986, female police officers also carried handbags custom-made to hold batons and firearms.[43][45]

Between 1979 and 2013, police uniforms underwent a number of small changes and there were a total of 83 combinations that a police officer could wear. The changes were mainly as need based for the general duties policing with the addition of capsicum sprays, handgun, baton, etc. In 1981, female police officers were approved trousers as part of their uniform and they were issued 54 pantyhose a year. In 2001, the baseball cap was introduced along with akubra and a woollen jumper. One major change happened in 2008 with the introduction of the Integrated Operational Equipment Vest.[43]

In November 1986, Victoria Police announced the transition of the motto from "Tenez le droit" to "Uphold the right". This change would start taking place in December 1986.[46]

In June 2013, the new dark navy uniform was introduced to all officers as the new standard. The pants are made from rip-stop fabric, the undergarment made from cotton stretch which can be short sleeved or long sleeved and is to be worn under the ballistic vest. Baseball caps remained, although they are darker in colour than pre 2013. The new dark uniform was designed to look more professional and to hide blood, dirt and sweat. The dark blue uniform was modelled after the Oxfordshire and Northumberland police attires.[43]

Chief Commissioners

NamePost-nominalsTerm beganTerm ended
Sir William Mitchell18521854
Sir Charles MacMahon18541858
Frederick Standish18581880
Hussey Chomley18811902
Thomas O'Callaghan19021913
Alfred Sainsbury19131919
Sir George StewardKBE, CMG, VD, JP 19191920
Sir John GellibrandKCB, DSO & Bar19201922
Alexander Nicholson19221925
Sir Thomas BlameyCB, CMG, DSO, ED19251936
Alexander DuncanCMG19371954
Selwyn PorterCBE, DSO19551963
Rupert Arnold19631969
Noel WilbyLVO, QPM19691971
Reginald JacksonCMG, MVO, QPM19711977
Mick MillerAO, LVO, QPM19771987
Kel GlareAO, APM19871992
Neil ComrieAO, APM19932001
Christine NixonAPM20012009
Simon OverlandAPM20092011
Ken LayAO, APM20112015
Graham AshtonAM, APM2015Incumbent

Rank structure

Although Victoria Police has a rank structure similar to an army, the organisation insists it is not a paramilitary organisation.[47] However, within Victoria Police, units such as Special Operations Group, have been identified as paramilitary units by Victoria Police and by Australian Defence Force.[48][49][50][51]

All sworn members start at the lowest rank of constable[52] and work their way up. After their 2-year probationary period, the Constable gets its confirmation and becomes a permanent addition to Victoria Police. The newly confirmed Constable can get the insignia of 'First Constable' to distinguish himself between confirmed and non confirmed Constables.[53]

Constables are promoted in situ to senior constable after two years of becoming a confirmed Constable and successful completion of re-introduced Senior Constable exams. Promotion beyond senior constable is highly competitive. The newly promoted officer is in probation for 1 year.[6]

All sworn members of Victoria Police have a rank. There are a total of 12 different legislated ranks[54] within Victoria Police. The Chief Superintendent rank is being phased out with no one occupying the rank, making Victoria Police having 11 effective ranks. The last Chief Superintendent was in 2008[55].

Constable and non-commissioned ranks[56]

(not a rank)


(not a rank)

Commissioned ranks[56]

Non-commissioned ranks

Promotion to the rank of sergeant is merit-based after successful completion of the Sergeant Level Pre-promotional Qualifying Exam. A sergeant normally manages a team during a shift, like Patrol Supervisor of a Police Service Area (PSA) for a shift. A detective sergeant is typically in charge of a team in a specific part of either local detectives at police stations or crime squads.

A senior sergeant oversees the sergeants and traditionally performs more administrative work and middle management duties, for example coordination of policing operations, or specialist work other than active patrol duties. General-duties senior sergeants are traditionally in charge of most police stations or can be a sub-charge (or second in charge) of larger (usually 24-hour) police stations. In each division, or group of divisions on a night shift, a senior sergeant is the division supervisor for a shift and is responsible for managing and overseeing incidents in their area. Detective senior sergeants are usually the officer in charge of crime investigation units.


Additional classifications are available for members skilful enough, and upon completion of certain training and work-based performances, for classification of detective at senior constable level. Detectives also hold classification up to chief superintendent.

Dissolved ranks


The ranks of chief inspector and chief superintendent are no longer promotable ranks since the changes in hierarchy in 2014.[57]

The previous and last chief superintendent, Peter McDonald, retired from Victoria Police on 30 September 2014.[58] The last Chief Inspector Christopher K. Coster retired on 6 June 2019 after 45 years service. He was the only Chief Inspector to wear the current style and colour uniform.


Leading senior constable (LSC) used to be listed in the rank structure but was not a rank per se. It was only open for senior constables to apply for and was not a permanent position. If a member transferred to another duty type or station, the officer was then relieved of the position of LSC. It was primarily a position for field training officers who oversees the training and development of inexperienced probationary constables or constables.

The most recent round of wage negotiations however saw the title of leading senior constable become an actual rank. It is awarded "in situ" but only after assessments have been made against the senior constable's ability to move to the higher position. Leading senior constables are now capable of being upgraded to acting sergeant and it is expected that the position is one that people will move through as they are promoted.

Members who held the position or classification of leading senior constable under the last enterprise bargaining agreements will retain their title and position.

Salaries and benefits

On 15 February 2016, Victoria Police members voted for the 2016 – 2019 Enterprise Bargain Agreement. On 4 March 2016, the outcome of the vote was announced but the new EB took effect starting on 1 December 2015.[59][60] Under the new EB, Victoria Police officers will receive increased penalty rates for weekend work, added unsociable and intrusive to weekend work, increased pay for prosecutors and a number of other benefits and entitlements.[61] The new EB did not include the ranks of Commanders and above.[61]

On 2016 – 2019 EB, Victoria Police officers were offered 2.5% increase per year for 4 years starting on 1 December 2015. At first, the new proposed agreement was strongly opposed by The Police Association as, in reality, represented only 0.3% increase after inflation.[62][63] However, in December 2015, The Police Association changed their position and supported the new EB.[63][64]

Victoria Police salaries[61]
Rank Increment 1 July 2016 1 July 2017 1 July 2018[65] 1 July 2019[65]
Superintendent 1–8 $146,257 – $171,580 $150,279 – $176,298 $154,412 – $184,769 $160,203 – $191,698
Inspector 1–6 $129,428 – $143,711 $132,987 – $147,663 $136,644 – $151,724 $141,769 – $157,413
Senior sergeant 1–6 $109,308 – $116,370 $112,314 – $119,570 $115,403 – $122,859 $119,730 – $127,466
Sergeant 1–6 $97,557 – $106,315 $100,240 – $109,239 $102,997 – $112,243 $106,859 – $116,452
Leading senior constable 13–16 $91,119 – $95,573 $93,625 – $98,201 $96,199 – $100,902 $99,807 – $104,685
Senior Constable 5–12 $77,856 – $90,217 $79,997 – $92,698 $82,196 – $95,247 $85,279 – $98,818
Constable 1–4 $63,757 – $70,968 $65,510 – $72,920 $67,312 – $74,925 $69,836 – $77,735
Recruit 1 $46,409 $47,686 $48,997 $50,834
Reservist 1 $65,371 $67,169 $69,016 $71,604
Protective Service Officer (PSO) salaries[61]
Rank Increment 1 July 2016 1 July 2017 1 July 2018[65] 1 July 2019[65]
PSO senior supervisor 1–2 $86,629 – $87,554 $89,011 – $89,962 $91,459 – 92,436 $94,889 – $95,902
PSO supervisor 1–4 $80,071 – $82,996 $82,273 – $85,278 $84,536 – $87,624 $87,706 – $90,909
PSO senior 1–4 $67,450 – $72,081 $69,305 – $74,063 $71,211 – $76,100 $73,881 – $78,954
PSO 1st 5–6 $63,484 – $65,230 $65,230 – $67,082 $64,024 – $68,927 $69,537 – $71,512
PSO 1–4 $58,788 – $62,777 $60,405 – $64,504 $62,066 – $66,278 $64,393 – $68,763
Commuted overtime allowance (COT 2)[61]
Rank 1 July 2016 1 July 2017
Sergeant & senior sergeant $13,091 $13,451
Constable & senior constable $10,430 $10,717
One Person Station Allowance[61]
Rank 1 July 2016 1 July 2017
Constable & senior constable $10,430 $10,717
Shift and weekend penalties[61]
Type Hours 1 July 2016 1 July 2017
Unsociable 6PM – 1 AM $5.46 $5.61
Intrusive 1AM – 7AM $6.97 $7.16
Weekend 7AM – 6PM 39.36% of ordinary rate
Unsociable weekend 6PM – 1AM 45.22% of ordinary rate
Intrusive weekend 1AM – 7AM 57.76% of ordinary rate

The arrangement for ordinary hours of work is described in the Victoria Police Force Enterprise Agreement 2011. The ordinary hours of work for full-time members is 80 hours per fortnight arranged within various shifts to suit service delivery needs.[66]

Police officers are entitled to the following[66]:

  • nine weeks' leave consisting of:
    • five weeks' recreation leave per year
    • additional two weeks in lieu of public holidays
    • and 10 days accrued time off in lieu of the 38-hour week
  • Sick leave of 15 days per year. (accruing)
  • A range of other generous leave entitlements; including maternity and paternity leave, study leave and defence force leave.
  • Long service leave after seven and a half years of service
  • If the police officer is joining the Police Association Victoria (TPAV) they have some other benefits and discounts including (benefits are through TPAV and not related to Victoria Police organisation):[67]
    • discounted holiday homes
    • discounted car prices for various brands
    • access to legal representation
    • discounted electricity and gas

Income as a police officer like any member of Victoria Police (employee in Australia) is a taxable income.

Recruits are paid a salary whilst training. During the first 12 weeks, recruits are paid $44,057 per annum. At the end of week 12 when a recruit becomes a (constable) sworn member of Victoria Police is paid $60,526 per annum. Part-time is not available for recruits. Training is ongoing for first two years as a probationary constable. Study leave is available post probationary stage. Further in-house courses and training are available[66]

Head office departments[68]

  • Business Services Department
  • Corporate Strategy and Operational
  • Improvement Department
  • Human Resource Department
  • Information, Systems and Security Command
  • Infrastructure Department
  • Intelligence and Covert Support Command
  • Legal Services Department
  • Licensing and Regulation Division
  • Media and Corporate Communication Department
  • Communications Department
  • Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police
  • Professional Standards Command
  • Road Policing Command
  • State Emergencies and Security Command
  • State Policing Office
  • Transit and Public Safety Command
  • People Development Command
  • Victoria Police Academy
  • Crime Command
  • Victoria Police Forensic Science Centre

Regional headquarters[68]

  • Eastern Region
  • North West Metro Region
  • Southern Metro Region
  • Western Region

Protective Services Unit

The Protective Services Unit (PSU) was established in 1986 following a security review. The first deployment of a Protective Services Officer (PSO) was on 1 May 1988.The PSU has two divisions: Security and Transit.[69] PSU is part of Transit and Public Safety Command (TPSC), along with the Dog Squad, Mounted Branch, Search and Rescue, Special Operations Group, Water Police, Operations Response Unit, Sex Industry Coordination Unit.[70][71]

PSU Security[69]

The PSU security division maintains static security at designated locations in Victoria, mainly in Melbourne metropolitan area. PSOs have specific powers for the area they serve.

Designated areas include:

  • Melbourne's Supreme Court, County Court, Children's Court and Magistrates' Court
  • Various suburban Magistrates' Courts
  • Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation
  • Parliament House Victoria
  • Government House
  • The Shrine of Remembrance
  • Victoria Police Centre
  • Spencer Street Police Complex

PSO Transit[69]

PSOs are based on the Victorian suburban railway network and are deployed at all train stations in the Melbourne metropolitan area. PSOs focus mostly on anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug related offences, weapon offences, property damage, either individual or corporate, crimes against the person.

PSOs powers at train stations include:

  • arrest and detain
  • search people and property – and seize items
  • issue on-the-spot fines
  • issue a direction to 'move on' from the area

Victorian Mounted Police

See main article Victorian Mounted Police

Victoria has maintained a mounted unit as part of its police force, that pre dates the present establishment of the Victoria Police. The mounted police force was formed sometime before the 1850s. This is the second oldest continuously operating mounted police unit in the world, after the NSW Mounted Police. Historically, the Victorian Mounted police had taken part in actions against Bushrangers, and guarded gold shipments from the Goldfields. For a lot of its history, the force had largely operated from its barracks at Southbank from 1912, but are now bases at Attwood, near Melbourne airport. Modern duties include crowd control, patrolling, public relations and sports events.

Honours and awards

Recognition of the bravery and good conduct of Victoria Police employees is shown through the awarding of honours and decorations. Employees (including both sworn and unsworn personnel) are eligible to receive awards both as a part of the Australian Honours System and the internal Victoria Police awards system.[72]

Australian honours system

Victoria Police employees, like those of their counterparts in other states police forces, are eligible for awards under the Australian Honours System, including:

  • Australian Bravery Decorations,[73] namely the Cross of Valour (CV), Star of Courage (SC), Bravery Medal (BM) and the Commendation for Brave Conduct.
  • Australian Police Medal[74] – The Australian Police Medal (APM) recognises distinguished service by a sworn police employee and is awarded on Australia Day and Queen's Birthday each year;
  • Police Overseas Service Medal[75] – The Police Overseas Service Medal (POSM) recognises service by employees of Australian police forces with international peacekeeping organisations;
  • Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal[76] – The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (HOSM) honours members of recognised Australian groups that perform humanitarian service overseas in hazardous circumstances;
  • National Medal[77] – Available to sworn police employees only, the National Medal (NM) is awarded to specified categories of employees from recognised organisations for diligent service and good conduct over a sustained period. Issued for 15 years service with a clasp issued for each additional 10 years of eligible service;
  • Public Service Medal[78] – The Public Service Medal (PSM) is awarded for outstanding public service and is awarded on Australia Day and Queen's Birthday each year;
  • Campaign medals such as United Nations Medal For Service, when seconded or attached to an appropriate United Nations position overseas.

Internal Victoria Police honours and awards

Victoria Police medal ribbon bars
Valour Award Victoria Police Star Medal for Excellence Medal for Courage Medal for Merit Service Medal
  • Victoria Police Valour Award – The Victoria Police Valour Award (VA) is awarded to sworn police employees for a particular incident involving an act that displayed exceptional bravery in extremely perilous circumstances;
  • Victoria Police Star – The Victoria Police Star is an award for employees killed or seriously injured, on or off duty;
  • Victoria Police Medal for Excellence – Awarded to an employee/s who has/have demonstrated a consistent commitment to exceeding the organisational goals and priorities of Victoria Police;
  • Victoria Police Medal for Courage – Awarded to an employee/s who has/have performed an act of courage in fulfilment of their duties in dangerous and volatile operational circumstances;
  • Victoria Police Medal for Merit – Awarded to an employee/s who has/have demonstrated exemplary service to Victoria Police and the Victorian community;
  • Victoria Police Service Medal – The Victoria Police Service Medal (VPSM) is recognition by the chief commissioner of the sustained diligent and ethical service of Victoria Police employees. The medal issued for 10 years service with a clasp issued for each further period of five years' eligible service. Additionally the medal is available to former employees who left Victoria Police before the introduction of the VPSM on 26 February 1996;
  • Victoria Police Thirty Five Years Service Award – The Thirty Five Years Service Award recognises employees who have an extensive and dedicated employment history with Victoria Police
  • Victoria Police Unit or Group Citation for Courage or Merit – As per the Medal for Courage and/or Medal for Merit criteria;
  • Victoria Police Department or Regional Commendation – A department or regional commendation provides recognition of exceptional performance or service;
  • Victoria Police Divisional Commendation – A divisional commendation provides recognition of exceptional performance or exceptional service;
  • Victoria Police Unit or Group Commendation – a unit or group commendation can be awarded at department, regional or divisional level;


Operational and station/office dress

Equipment is carried by officers in a nylon equipment belt, also known as a gun or weapon belt. The nylon belt, specifically designed to be very light-weight, was first issued in 2003 as a replacement for worn leather belts. The belt consists of one firearm holster placed on the hip (either side), one firearm magazine pouch, one ASP (baton) pouch, one OC Spray pouch, one hand cuff pouch and one holder for the portable radio.

Victoria Police started a roll-out of a new uniform design in June 2013 for sworn members, protective service officers, reservists and recruits. The new uniform was the first time in over thirty years Victoria Police had significantly changed their uniform, which at the time of replacement could be worn in over eighty different combinations.[79] The new design can be worn in either an operational or station/office dress configuration.

Other holsters can be added to the belt to suit members duties such as a clip to hold the polycarbonate baton or mag light. In 2007/08, the chief commissioner approved the issue of firearm holsters which could be strapped around the members thighs, to replace the low-riding belt gun holster. These holsters are not standard issue but are issued to members upon request, and are commonly requested by members who suffer from back aches (as a result of heavy utility belt), or those who find it more operationally sound to draw their firearms from a lower position (as this option offers a more comfortable reach).

Operational Dress of Victoria Police consists of navy blue cargo/tactical pants, a navy blue long/short sleeved undergarment or shirt, an integrated operational equipment vest (IOEV), a navy blue baseball cap or a wide Brimmed hat (common in rural areas) and black boots. When police members or protective service officers are assigned to duties where they are required to be easily identified, or for occupational health and safety reasons, a high-visibility yellow cover may be put on the IOEV. In 2018, a new style of ballistic vest was announced.[80]

Station/office dress consists of navy blue trousers, navy blue long or short sleeved shirts (which can be worn either open-neck or with a tie), navy blue peaked hat and black boots/shoes.

Some specialist units of Victoria Police, such as the Air Wing, Public Order Response Team, Critical Incident Response Team, Search and Rescue Squad and the Special Operations Group, wear uniforms which are customised to their specialist roles.


Officers carry the M&P40 semi-automatic pistol as the service pistol to replace the Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver issued since 1976. They also carry an ASP brand 21-inch expandable baton, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray and Smith & Wesson brand handcuffs, although there are a number of different handcuffs in use. The vast majority of officers carry a Motorola brand tactical radio (with or without handpiece). Other divisions of the Victoria Police have speciality equipment and defensive weapons. The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) carries the H&K UMP40 submachine gun (chambered in .40S&W) and Remington 870P 12 gauge shotgun.

The weapons issued to police was a politically contentious issue in the 2006 Victorian state election. A deal between the police union and the state government allocated funding sufficient to cover replacement of the revolvers with semi-automatic pistols, and the equipping of all police cars with tasers, was reached without the involvement of police command.[24] However, despite the allocation of funds in the 2007 state budget, there was initially no indication that the police command had actually decided to purchase the new weapons.[81]

After a violent shootout in Melbourne, during which a man shot a police officer and was shot dead himself, concerns were raised by the Police Association about a possible upgrade to semi-automatic weapons with the $10 million allocated to the police in the 2008–09 Victorian State Budget. Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon launched an inquiry into the fiscal aspect of a possible upgrade. [82]

On 6 June 2008, chief commissioner Christine Nixon announced that an external panel, consisting of a County Court Judge, members of the Australian Defence Force, members of the community, an ethicist and "other professionals" advised that Victoria Police should adopt semi-automatic duty firearms. The chief commissioner had previously announced that she would accept and implement the recommendations of the external panel. She further stated her concerns in regards to semi-automatic firearms, especially if members of the police force required the additional firepower. She believed that there were no incidents she could foresee where general duties members would require the additional ammunition afforded by a semi-automatic duty firearm. In her statement on the Radio 3AW Melbourne she stated that she would like to see the new firearms begin to be issued in about six months.[83]

On 29 April 2010, it was announced that the M&P40 semi-automatic pistol was selected to replace the existing Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver.[84] Over 10,000 Victoria Police members underwent training and qualification before being issued new pistols.[85]

Victoria Police transport

On 7 March 2014, the Water Police purchased a new state-of-the-art catamaran vessel. The $1.9 million, 14.9-metre-long boat boasts a range of modern technological features and will assist in the search for people stranded at sea or washed overboard and during periods of total darkness, poor light and rough seas. The vessel has the ability to scan the seabed for sunken vessels, and a radar can be switched into heat seeking mode to help locate a person at night, or in situations of poor visibility and rough conditions.[86]

Training facilities

The main training for Victoria Police during the first 31 weeks, until a member becomes fully operational, is done at Victoria Police Academy.

Academy facility upgrade[86]

In order to increase the Academy's capacity to accommodate the training of an additional 1700 police and 940 PSOs by November 2014, $15.4 million was provided to Victoria Police to upgrade the Victoria Police Academy in 2013–14.

The significant works include:

  • an operational tactics and safety training complex with a new firing range, a ‘soft fall’ area for conducted energy device and defensive tactics training, and a simulator, which will be used for firearm and operational safety training, using state-of-the-art bluetooth technology to give recruits the most realistic training experience possible
  • a new state-of-the-art training system, called Hydra, which simulates a variety of operational scenarios, ranging from vehicle intercepts to large-scale criminal investigations and emergencies, such as bushfires
  • a railway platform for PSO training, new classrooms for training, improvements to bathroom and change room facilities, a dining room upgrade and extra car parking space

New operational tactics and safety training facility

Construction of a new multimillion-dollar police training facility alongside the new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre in Craigieburn commenced in 2013–14.[86]

The new $30 million Victoria Police OTST facility will replace the existing facility located at Essendon Fields, and is due for completion in March 2015.

The new facility will house administration and training staff and include a specially-designed indoor firing range, scenario training village, classrooms, an auditorium, conference centre and fitness facilities. Police will be required to undertake compulsory training twice a year at the facility.


Victoria Police employees by classification and gender as at 30 June 2016[87]
Rank Males Females
Police 73.7% 26.3%
Recruits 50.5% 49.5%
Reservists 25% 75%
PSOs 90.7% 9.3%
Total sworn 74.9% 25.1%
Public servants 32.7% 67.3%
Total workforce 67.6% 32.4%
Victoria Police employees by employee type and age grouping as at 30 June 2015
Age grouping (years) Police Recruits Reservists PSOs Public servants
<25 3.8% 31.8% 13.3% 5.5%
25–34 26.3% 44.9% 41.9% 26.5%
35–44 31% 19.6% 22.5% 24.1%
45–54 29.6% 3.7% 16.7% 24.8%
55–64 9.1% 50% 5.1% 17%
65+ 0.3% 50% 0.6% 2%
Total workforce 76.1% 0.6% 0% 7.4% 16.%

Officers killed on duty

  • As of 2013, 157 Victorian Police Officers have died in the line of duty.
  • 13 July 1979, Detective Senior Constable Robert Lane was shot and killed while performing a routine interview. Lane was the first officer to be slain on duty since the end of the Vietnam War.[88]
  • 27 March 1986, Constable Angela Taylor was killed in the Russell Street Bombing. Taylor was the first female police officer killed in the line of duty in Australian history.[88]
  • 12 October 1988, officers Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre were gunned down in the Walsh Street police shootings.[88]
  • 16 August 1998, officers Gary Silk and Rodney Miller were gunned down in the Silk–Miller police murders.[88]

Memorials to officers killed on duty are maintained at the Chapel of Remembrance within the main chapel of the Victoria Police Academy at Glen Waverley in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. There is also a memorial to police officers who have died on duty in Kings Domain, Melbourne, as well as the National Police Memorial in Canberra. Online Honour Rolls are maintained on the Victoria Police website:

See also


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