Media release: Police payouts to misconduct waste millions in public money 

9 September 2020

Documents released through Parliament following a motion by the Greens show almost 300 cases each year of the police being sued for misconduct and other bad behaviour, with millions in public funds paying for the outcomes.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Police are being sued at least once every working day for serious misconduct including battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

“The over 2 million of public money each month that police misconduct costs the taxpayer could be used to support and protect communities, rather than just as secret payouts.

“We have been trying to get access to this data for years but police have tried everything to hide it. This information should be used as part of core police activity of  identifying, addressing and preventing police misconduct.

“The outcomes of these cases are usually suppressed, meaning its impossible to know whether the police whose misconduct has resulted in  large payments to victims have faced any sanction at all.

“It’s very likely that most or all the officers whose actions have led to the police being sued are still working in their usual roles with no significant sanction or penalty.

“It’s hard to sue the police especially because of the resources and power of the organisation, the fact that over 300 cases are brought each year shows us just the tip of the iceberg of likely possible cases.

“This is also a message to people out there who have been the victim of bad police behaviour, chat with a lawyer because you may have a legal remedy available to you.

“We’ll be following up this information request to find out whether any action has been taken to change systems and processes following any of these cases,” Mr Shoebridge said.