Victoria Police to Enhance Chain of Responsibility Skills

Victoria Police in action on the highway. The service plans to beef up its investigative skills. Image source:

Victoria Police in action on the highway. The service plans to beef up its investigative skills. Image source:

VicPol have vowed to beef up their Chain of Responsibility skills after admitting that there is room for improvement when it comes to CoR prosecutions. This includes improving its investigative skills related to chain of responsibility breaches.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin, head of the Heavy Vehicle Unit within VicPol explained:

“We’re looking at ramping up our investigative capability,”

“What we are doing in the chain of responsibility area is we are actually reviewing the way we do that, and we’re actually looking at the investigative capability of our people; we’re looking at ways we can improve that.


Mr Rankin says Vic Police will become far more specialised than it is currently and will also be putting in more resources. Mr Rankin went on to explain:

“We’re very aware of the good results we can get from chain of responsibility prosecutions, particularly those small number of companies that everyone in the industry knows, who blatantly breach the legislation. It will give us a better capacity to deal with them.”


Within Mr Rankin’s team there are 25 officials who carry out CoR investigations and a specialised unit to conduct deeper investigations and more detailed assessments. Rankin’s team so far has not managed to prosecute any customers under CoR.

Also 2 prosecutions of trucking companies under CoR have failed. Currently there are 2 prosecutions of trucking companies underway. There have only been a couple of successful prosecutions of operators over the last 4 years.

Mr Rankin explained what was being done to improve the effectiveness of his unit,  

“You could align a COR investigation to a lot of other criminal type investigations in that you need the same skill sets,” Rankin says.

“And what we’re doing as an organisation is looking at the skill sets of our people and seeing if we need to do some extra work around that, and of course what that will lead to is then looking at the numbers of people required to do that work.

“It hasn’t got to the stage where it’s gone to force command but I’m certain there will be some adjustments in the way we approach chain of responsibility.


Mr Rankin explained that problems with the law also needed to be addressed. In relation to these concerns with the law, VicPol sent through a submission to the National Transport Commission’s current review of duties under that CoR legislation.  The submission highlights concerns such as vague phrases which allow offenders to establish a defence, phrases such as “so far as is reasonably practicable”.

VicPol also believes the laws are too complicated and have been altered so much that they lack consistency.

Read more about VicPol’s complaints at