An off-duty female police officer was pepper-sprayed, had her clothes removed, was kicked and punched, and then dumped by Ballarat police in a cell for hours without pants or blanket, Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog has heard.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has begun examining claims of police brutality in Ballarat police cells at public hearings that continue this week after numerous appeals.
IBAC alleges 157 complaints were made against officers at the Ballarat Police Station between 2010 and 2012, most of which were made against senior officers.
An alleged incident involving the 51-year-old woman was the first of four alleged uses of excessive force by police in the area to be heard by the anti-corruption watchdog in the week-long hearing.
Council Assisting IBAC Jack Rush, QC, told the public hearings on Monday the woman was arrested for being drunk in public when she was allegedly subject to violent and degrading treatment while in custody last year, the Ballarat Courier reported.
He said she was partially stripped in front of male officers, pepper sprayed while her hands were cuffed behind her back, Mr Rush said.
"She was kicked, stomped on and stood upon."
Footage of the incident was shown before the commission, of the woman forced to use a cup to scoop water from the toilet bowl to drink.
The video has not yet been made public.
Mr Rush said police involved in the alleged incident would be asked to give their account of the night during this week’s hearing.
Another three alleged incidents of police corruption involving officers at Ballarat would be examined this week.
The commission revealed an alarming statistic of 52 Ballarat officers receiving four or more complaints – compared to the state average of 2.5 complaints per member, the Courtier reported.
This week's hearings will focus on the alleged excessive use of force and Victoria Police's management of the incidents.
News break – May 23