VicRoads officers must play by the rulesDate posted:
Some VicRoads staff placed the public at risk by routinely breaking the speed limit in official enforcement vehicles without using warning lights and sirens.
Some senior staff also granted colleagues exemptions from fines and demerit points with little or no evidence or rationale.
Tabling an Investigation into allegations of improper conduct by officers of VicRoads in Parliament today, Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass said the case was particularly troubling as it involved public officials breaking the very regulations they were responsible for upholding and enforcing.
"People with the power to enforce the law and impose penalties on others must be held to the highest possible standards when it comes to their own conduct," Ms Glass said.
"It is a worrying state of affairs when those charged with enforcing the rules not only flout them, but have no qualm in doing so,’ she said.
"These VicRoads enforcement officers bore no consequences despite committing offences for which any member of the public would get a ticket and points off their licence."
The behaviour of some officers in the Transport Safety Services unit at VicRoads came to light after a complaint by a whistleblower in October 2014.
The investigation was limited to one region, examining 18 speeding infringements recorded against VicRoads vehicles over a two-year period.
"Given the problems identified in this region, the lack of internal controls to monitor exemptions and the confused data, I am recommending that VicRoads review all exemptions approved in the past three years and take appropriate action in relation to any staff who either incurred or approved an exemption inappropriately," Ms Glass said.
In addition, the Ombudsman recommended disciplinary action against two VicRoads staff members, according to Victorian public service guidelines.
Ms Glass also made a number of other recommendations on improved training of staff and developing review procedures to prevent a re‑occurrence.
VicRoads has accepted all the recommendations made in the investigation.
Notes to editors
- Transport Safety Services (TSS) is in the Regulatory Services division of VicRoads.
- TSS officers drive both marked and unmarked cars.
- There are 66 VicRoads officers in Regulatory Services including approximately 45 TSS officers. There are 48 enforcement vehicles.
- TSS officers are authorised to carry out enforcement, escort and inspection activities.
- TSS officers can intercept drivers where there is impaired driving and other safety issues. They can issue penalty notices to members of the public for breaches of legislation such as speeding or using a mobile phone while driving.