Message from the Chief Commissioner

Equality is not the same

Release date: Mon 22 December 2014

Last updated: Tue 20 December 2016

Equality is not the same

Victoria Police released the Equality is not the same report (the Report) in December 2013 as a direct result of extensive community consultation, aimed at improving the way police engage with diverse communities.

The Report included a three year action plan that established a clear direction for Victoria Police to strengthen community trust and confidence in police.

The name of the report comes from the notion that treating people the same doesn't mean treating people equally.


Background to Equality is not the same

In February 2013, upon settlement of litigation in the Federal Court of Australia alleging the existence of the practice of racial profiling within Victoria Police, in an agreed statement Victoria Police announced it would:

(1) Invite community comment about, and then undertake an examination of

  • The policy of Victoria Police on field contacts, including the collection of data concerning field contacts; and
  • Cross Cultural training provided within Victoria Police

(2) Publish a public report on the results of this examination and announce what actions will be taken in response to these results, by 31 December 2013.

In June 2013, Victoria Police invited community members to provide feedback on cross cultural training and 'field contact' policies and processes, asking individuals and organisations from across the state to make submissions.

The consultation process received more than 70 submissions, bringing a number of themes to our attention, including communication issues between police members and the community, how field contacts are used, what constitutes 'suspicious behaviour', perceived targeting of particular community groups, and confidence or community understanding of the internal Victoria Police complaints process.

The consultation process also included a series of community forums to discuss these themes in greater detail, as well as commissioning independent reviews into our current cross-cultural training, field contact policies and processes.

The outcomes from this process were used to help formulate recommendations for Victoria Police to improve our current policies and processes and enable us to serve the community better.

This feedback was incorporated into the 'Equality is not the same' report.

Equality is not the same - Phase One (years 1, 2 and 3)

Victoria Police is committed to ensuring every member of the community who comes in contact with police is treated with dignity and respect.

We continue to embed policies, guidelines and processes into all elements of the organisation to reinforce cultural awareness and human rights in all decision making and practices.

A lot has been achieved during Phase One of Equality is not the same (2014-2016). Specifically, we have:

  • created the foundations and infrastructure (policy, curriculum, practice) that better enables us to work with the community
  • revised and implemented Field Contact policies and processes
  • scoped, developed and trialled 'receipting' in a way that was tailored to the Victorian community
  • reviewed and reformed the Victoria Police education content, structure and delivery to support enhanced cross cultural and diversity training
  • developed policy, practice and education on unconscious and implicit bias
  • reviewed and enhanced the Victoria Police Complaints process with regard to improving community awareness and feedback on complaints.

Equality is not the same - Phase Two (years 4, 5 and 6)

Victoria Police has committed to a further three years of action in Phase Two of Equality is not the same (2017-2019). The focus of phase two will be the continued implementation and demonstration of change at the grass roots level.

The next three years bring an opportunity to:

  • embed sustainable reform across Victoria Police
  • work with employees and stakeholders to identify ways of measuring and demonstrating reform
  • continue implementation of the Community Engagement Strategy and Community and Cultural Diversity Education Strategy - with a focus on impacting service delivery and relationships at the local level
  • progress a state-wide rollout of a business contact card and an associated community awareness campaign and training.


Each year Victoria Police reports back to the community on the progress made through yearly reports which can be found below.

Community Engagement

Cultural, Community and Diversity Education Strategy

Receipting Proof of Concept (RPOC)

As part of the program of works implemented under Equality is not the same, Victoria Police developed and trialled a receipting pilot to address perceptions that some community members are stopped and searched by police more than others. This trial was known as the Receipting Proof of Concept.

For more information visit the Receipting Proof of Concept (RPOC)  webpage.

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