'Challenges of modern policing': Police Association supports charged Ballarat officers

Footage allegedly shows a police officer standing on a woman's legs while she is held in custody at Ballarat police station.
Footage allegedly shows a police officer standing on a woman's legs while she is held in custody at Ballarat police station.

The Police Association of Victoria says assault charges laid against two members who were caught on camera stripping and kicking an off-duty officer were an example of the "challenges of modern policing".

It comes after the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) recommended that police consider whether charges should be laid, after a drunk off-duty officer was allegedly stripped, kicked and stomped on by officers while she was in custody at a Ballarat police station.

CCTV footage shows former police officer Yvonne Berry was repeatedly kicked by officers and left in a cell for 16 hours, where she drank from the toilet after allegedly being denied water.

A CCTV still of Ms Berry during her time in police custody.

A CCTV still of Ms Berry during her time in police custody.

A female leading senior constable has been charged with one count of assault and a male senior constable with two counts of assault over the alleged assault at Ballarat police station in January 2015.

Both officers have been stripped of their operational duties.

In a statement on Thursday, incoming Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt extended his support to the two officers who were charged.

Yvonne Berry was allegedly left in a cell for 16 hours and denied water.

Yvonne Berry was allegedly left in a cell for 16 hours and denied water.

He said the incident showed that the increasingly complex nature of crime meant that police officers needed "more workplace support".

"Our officers make minute-to-minute decisions to keep the public safe - and they must be supported in making judgement calls in their daily interactions with the public. The officers charged today have the support of their colleagues and The Police Association," he said.

Mr Gatt said the charges were an "example" of how social challenges such as ice, alcohol and mental health were putting pressure on the police force. He said serious assaults on police were on the rise.

The association says large regional cities like Ballarat are some of the most challenging areas to police.  Photo: Simon Schluter

The association says large regional cities like Ballarat are some of the most challenging areas to police. Photo: Simon Schluter

"Although we are unable to comment on specifics, this is clearly an example of the challenges of modern policing that face individual police officers every day.

"Policing has never been tougher than it is today, and large regional centres like Ballarat are some of the most challenging areas to police.

"Serious assaults on police are increasing, as is the mental and emotional stress that results."