Understanding the letter about the decision
At the conclusion of the investigation you will receive a letter stating the outcome of the investigation.
The letter usually includes little information about why the decision was made. In the letter, one of the terms in the table below will be used to describe the outcome of the investigation.
|Substantiated||The evidence supports the complaint; therefore, the complaint is considered to be true.|
|Not substantiated||The evidence supports the police officer’s version of events.|
|Unable to determine||The investigator is unable to determine whether or not the complaint is true based on the available evidence.|
|Not proceeded with||The complainant was unwilling to supply information but has not withdrawn the complaint.|
|Withdrawn||The complainant withdrew the complaint.|
|No complaint (sanctioned by law)||The conduct complained about is permitted by law.|
|No complaint (denied by alleged victim)||A third party lodged the complaint and the victim denies the allegation.|
|Unfounded||The available evidence establishes there is no ground for the complaint.|
|Exonerated||The available evidence establishes that the police officer was not involved or is completely free from blame.|
|Lesser deficiency||A fault or issue has come to the investigator’s attention but was not part of the original complaint (e.g. incomplete paperwork).|
|False report||There is evidence that the complainant made a false report.|
If your complaint is substantiated – or if the investigation uncovers matters not raised by the complainant that indicate impropriety on the part of the police officer – the police decide whether or not to discipline, caution or counsel the police officer.
Getting more information about the investigation
If your initial complaint was lodged with the Professional Standards Command (PSC) (and not Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)), you can access documents about the investigation of your complaint through the freedom of information process (see ‘Where to complain: Misconduct complaints’ in ‘Where can complaints about Victoria Police be lodged?‘, for an explanation about why you may not get access to documents if your initial complaint was made to IBAC).
The freedom of information process is outlined in Chapter 12.5: Freedom of information law, and in ‘Supporting your complaint with freedom of information documents’ in ‘How to make a complaint about Victoria Police‘. In your freedom of information application, ask for copies of all documents relating to the initial incident, and for a copy of the PSC file about your complaint.
Review of the decision
If you are unhappy with a decision made by the PSC, you can ask IBAC to review the decision.
If you are unhappy with a decision made by IBAC, you can request an internal review of the decision.
An IBAC officer who is independent of the original decision-maker will conduct the internal review.