Have you ever wondered who polices the police? It is a good question. One answer is unsurprising – private investigators. But we rarely hear about this happening, due to the private nature of both entities. So, it was big news this week that Victoria Police hired Sydney/Melbourne private detectives to investigate claims of bullying within the force.
Of course it happens – police personnel are as human as the rest of us, and can behave as badly. This is just one of the ways that private investigators and private detectives are helpful to police, and it’s also a great reason why the job of a private investigator is different from a police detective. It means there’s an outside detective available when those on the inside are too close.
Interestingly, the investigation in question was concluded in May of 2013 and has only just been brought to light in the media. As reported by the Herald Sun earlier this week, in 2012 two Victoria Police Deputy Commissioners hired a Sydney/Melbourne detective agency to investigate seven different cases within the force.
It is no great surprise that these investigations were hushed up. Nor is it surprising that nothing is being said about the nature of the charges or the outcome of the investigation, though from the little information discovered, charges of bullying were mentioned. A spokesperson for the police, Inspector Ian Geddes, said to HS reporters that the Victoria Police were not required to fund these investigations – they were simply a professional way of investigating allegations made by individuals within the force.
The private detective agency also is not talking. According to the Herald Sun, the agency refused to discuss whether it had conducted investigations for Victoria Police.
So how did the reporters find out about it? Well, what little information they gleaned came from the police themselves, under a Freedom of Information injunction – only three pages of an almost 300 page report were recovered by the journalists. These pages included some of the report produced by the private detectives, outlining their instructions from the police who commissioned the investigation, who expressed the need for new eyes on the situation.
So, we can rest assured that both police and private investigators Sydney/Melbourne are as tight-lipped as ever, and that detectives continue to operate as a power balance when needed.