Examination report into privacy and information handling training at Victoria Police published
Examination finds Victoria Police may not have met with privacy obligations
Part of OVIC’s role as Victoria’s privacy regulator includes oversight of Victoria Police and its management of law enforcement data.
On 30 September 2021, OVIC commenced an examination into the privacy and information handling training at Victoria Police.
The objective was to examine whether the training provided to Victoria Police personnel meets the requirements of Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 4.1 under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).
IPP 4.1 outlines that an organisation must take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification, or disclosure.
During this examination, OVIC staff gathered information from relevant Victoria Police personnel on how training is developed, delivered, and evaluated at Victoria Police, with an interest in information handling and privacy both generally and within the context of family violence investigations.
“In performing its law enforcement functions, Victoria Police collects, manages, and uses sensitive and personal information of Victorians, including delicate information related to some of the most vulnerable members of the community” said Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel.
“A lack of appropriate training in privacy and information handling can increase the risk of misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification, and disclosure of this information.”
The examination found that as of February 2022, Victoria Police had not provided any privacy-specific training available for its members for more than a year. The examination also found a lack of resources within its Privacy unit and Education Unit.
While no dedicated privacy training was available to Victoria Police members, there was a range of training available to Victoria Police personnel that touched on information handling principles including cyber security and information security.
Due to a lack of dedicated privacy training and awareness provided, the examination found that Victoria Police may not be compliant with its obligations under IPP 4.1.
In contrast, the examination found that since the 2016 report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, Victoria Police has done extensive work on providing family violence training to its personnel, including providing comprehensive guidance about handling information gathered in a family violence context.
“Victoria Police’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence demonstrates it can deliver effective training on handling sensitive and personal information when this is prioritised and appropriately resourced” said Mr. Bluemmel.
Victoria Police has accepted the findings of the examination and has provided further resourcing to its privacy team. It has also undertaken to review privacy and information handling education annually.
OVIC will continue its engagement with Victoria Police to promote, support, and ensure reasonable steps are taken to protect the personal information of Victorians.
For media enquiries contact:
t: 0415 042 463
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For enquiries about privacy in Victoria contact:
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC)
t: 1300 006 842
For further background, please refer to:
- Examination report into privacy and information handling training at Victoria Police
- Privacy Management Framework
- Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and Privacy
- Your Privacy Rights