Funding for Victoria Police has taken a hit after a review by the force’s Professional Standards Command (PSC) found over a quarter of a million breath tests undertaken since 2012 were artificial.
Due to the scandal, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has suspended $4 million that was allocated to the police force indefinitely.
PSC revealed that over the past five and half years there have been 258,463 false roadside tests of the 17.7 million roadside tests overall. This means the false tests make up 1.5 percent of those conducted on Victoria’s drivers.
It is believed the culprits of the fake tests were general duties and highway patrol officers but Professional Standards Command Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett said that it was too early in the investigation to work out how many officers were involved in the false tests.
“Victoria Police is incredibly disappointed. It is incredibly poor behaviour by our members,” Barrett said.
“Our reputation’s tarnished in the eyes of TAC and in the Victorian community. We can’t walk away from that”.
Former Victorian police chief commissioner Neil Comrie has been appointed to conduct the investigation as to why police officers were deliberately faking the results. It’s believed officers were either placing a finger over the straw entry hole or blowing into the straw themselves.
Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt believes that fake breathalyser tests are an outcome due to unrealistic targets that officers are assigned to complete during their shifts to highlight their productivity.
“Call them whatever you want, targets, quotas, objectives. It’s no lie, every individual van across the state gets told that they have to target preliminary breathe tests (PBT). It does happen. It happens every shift,” he told radio station 3AW.
Roughly $12 million over a three-year-period is made available for Victoria Police should they apply for funding. Recent applications have been suspended until the investigation is clarified.