WorkSafe have charged Victoria Police with several bullying-related offences following allegations they weren’t providing a safe work environment. The claims are directed towards a station in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh, where a senior detective with the Monash Crime Investigation Unit has been charged with two offences for failing to "take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who might have been affected by your acts or omissions in the workplace".
The alleged bullying, which took place in 2016, included verbal abuse and threats to several officers. The person accused of bullying has been transferred to another station, and will be tried next year in the Magistrates Court. Complicating the investigation are two police officer witnesses who aren’t cooperating and may be forced to testify.
Speaking to the The Age, an unnamed police source reflected on the culture of bullying within the police: “Some people in the organisation see bullying and intimidation as a management style." A Victoria Police spokeswoman responded saying, “Victoria Police takes matters of health and safety very seriously."
Last year, Commander Dean Stevenson was placed on leave from the Victoria Police after several complains were made about the toxic work environment he had fostered. His case is being investigated by WorkSafe. But The Age report that it’s believed the case in the Oakleigh station is the first time the Victoria Police have faced faced criminal prosecution for bullying.