Assistant commissioner appointed to head of crime subject of bullying probe

Assistant commissioner appointed to head of crime subject of bullying probe

Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh

Assistant Commissioner Tess WalshCredit:Rob Gunstone

A Victoria Police assistant commissioner appointed to head of crime after disgraced former anti-corruption chief Brett Guerin resigned from the organisation has herself been the subject of a bullying investigation.

Mr Guerin, the former head of Victoria Police's ethical standards body, quit in Feburay after being linked to racist YouTube comments and making inappropriate remarks about former colleagues.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton announced on Monday that Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh, who has led the force’s western region for the past three years, has been selected as the new head of crime command.

While her rank of assistant commissioner remains the same, Ms Walsh's new role takes in high-profile police areas such as armed offenders squad, the anti-bikie Echo taskforce, homicide squad and the fraud and extortion investigative unit.


"This appointment is also a significant milestone for crime command which will, for the first time, be led by a female assistant commissioner," Victoria Police said in a statement.

Days after Mr Guerin resigned, however, it was revealed that Ms Walsh was involved in a serious internal feud between two senior members, which saw her the subject of an internal probe into allegations of bullying.

It's understood the complaints emerged from two of her colleagues including a female inspector and Superintendent Craig Gillard who took sick leave as a result of the dispute.

At the time, Victoria Police said it was "working hard" to resolve the workplace dispute.

In a statemet on Tuesday, Victoria Police said no findings of bullying were made during their investigation.

"Whilst it is correct that inquiries were made into complaints against Assistant Commissioner Walsh, no findings of bullying were made," the statement said.

"As the Chief Commissioner [Graham Ashton] has made clear, AC Walsh is highly qualified to lead our crime command and we are confident she will excel in her new role."

Ms Walsh strenuously denied the allegations levelled against her.

She has had a prestigious career in Victoria Police climbing the ranks from the homicide squad to being superintendent of the serious crime division and working with Kinglake after the Black Saturday bushfires.

Mr Ashton also announced that Commander Russell Barrett has been appointed the new assistant commissioner at the force’s professional standards command section.

Melissa Cunningham reports breaking news for The Age.

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