More than 1200 Victorian police officers will have to be sworn in again due to a legislative error arising from amendments made nine years ago.
Between July 2014 and August 2021, deputy police commissioners appointed acting assistant commissioners without the required powers.
Those acting assistant commissioners swore in a number of graduating police officers.
However, under changes to the Victoria Police Act in 2013, acting assistant commissioners needed to be appointed by the chief police commissioner or a deputy commissioner who had been delegated the authority.
Due to this error, Victoria Police has identified 1076 police officers have been wrongly sworn in by acting assistant commissioners.
A further 157 protective service officers and 29 police custody officers were also wrongly sworn in.
Affected police members, PSOs and PCOs were being contacted on Thursday, with Victoria Police saying it was moving to “urgently swear in these officers again over the coming days and weeks”.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said officers would have to be sworn in again before they could perform their police duties, with 660 officers to be re-sworn on Thursday.
“We are confident this administrative error will be corrected next month and there will be no ongoing ramifications for impacted staff or any of their court matters,” he said.
The Victorian government is moving to urgently amend the legislation to fix the error, with legislation to be introduced at the next sitting week.
“We’ve acted swiftly to address the issue after it was uncovered by Victoria Police last week and confirmed by legal advice in recent days,” Police Minister Lisa Neville said.
“We’ll continue working closely with Victoria Police to ensure the work of officers in keeping us safe is uninterrupted.”
IBAC and the Director of Public Prosecutions have been notified.