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Hundreds Of Victoria Police Officers Wrongly Sworn In Due to Legislation Bungle

Victoria Police has confirmed more than 1200 officers were incorrectly sworn in over the past eight years.

The Chief Commissioner, Shane Patton, said he was given legal advice over a legislative error in the Victoria Police Act.

The Act was changed in 2013, requiring acting assistant commissioners could only be appointed by the chief police commissioner, or a deputy commissioner who had been delegated the authority to do so.

However, between July 2014 and August 2021, deputy police commissioners were appointing acting assistant commissioners without the legally required powers.

It was these acting assistant commissioners that swore in the graduating officers over the seven-year period.

Victoria Police confirmed 1076 police officers, 157 protective service officers and 29 police custody officers were wrongly sworn in by acting assistant commissioners.

Because the officers were wrongly sworn, the error could mean they have been making arrests and issuing charges without the power to do so.

This means doubt has been cast over thousands of police matters.

Victoria Police said it was contacting the affected police offices on Thursday, and that it would “urgently swear in these officers again over the coming days and weeks”.

On Thursday, 660 officers would be sworn in again.

Chief Commissioner Patton said the officer would need to be sworn in again to continue their police duties.

"This is an oversight, it's an administrative oversight, it has some significant consequences for a short period of time," he told reporters.

The Victorian Government will introduce new laws to fix the error in the legislation during the next sitting week.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said the new laws will be retrospective to rectify all previous decisions, including arrests and charges issued by wrongly sworn-in police officers.

"We've got to get this right, it will rectify all that and all those matters will stand," she said.

"Now someone in the meantime might try to contest, but with the support of the opposition....we'll get this through very quickly and it won't really be an opportunity for people to have any matters overturned."

AAP with The Project