27 Feb 2018

Top police officer in Australia quits after 'crude' internet posts

6:34 pm on 27 February 2018

A top police officer in charge of professional standards in the Australian state of Victoria has quit after being linked to racist YouTube comments and making inappropriate remarks about former colleagues.

Victoria Police

Photo: AFP

Assistant commissioner and professional standards command boss Brett Guerin was last week stood down and referred to the state's anti-corruption commission for using the alias "Vernon Demerest" to make "crude and coarse" comments about people.

Mr Guerin resigned from the force last night after Fairfax Media reported the racist YouTube comments made under the same name, based on a character from the 1970 film Airport.

Fairfax also reported Demerest made sexually graphic comments about AFL, rugby league and cricket games and separately claimed women should not be allowed to sing the national anthem.

"The National Anthem must never be improvised. It must always be sung by a male. A baritone. And accompanied by a band. No argument. No opinion. Just fact," Demerest wrote.

Brett Guerin has quit for using the alias "Vernon Demerest" to make "crude and coarse" comments about people.

Brett Guerin has quit for using the alias "Vernon Demerest" to make "crude and coarse" comments about people. Photo: LinkedIn

Mr Guerin last week publicly apologised for making sexually inappropriate remarks about former police commissioner Christine Nixon and ex-police union boss Paul Mullett on a website.

"It's crude and coarse language and, you know, what I'm most ashamed about is my mother and my daughters have read it now," he told 3AW on Thursday.

"The language I used ...was completely inappropriate, embarrassing and I can understand people saying 'what the hell is this bloke doing?'"

He said he used the alias Demerest because "if I had gone in under my own name, it would have been associated with police".

In a statement last night, Victoria Police said Mr Guerin's resignation was linked to an ongoing Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation.

Behaviour out of character

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton described Mr Guerin's behaviour as "really baffling".

"These views that have been expressed are out of character for Brett, the Brett that we know and work with," Commissioner Ashton told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"People that know him really well are really shocked by what's there.

"I know that the people that I've spoken to around the force at the senior level are similarly shocked and they [the comments] in no way reflect the views held by anyone else in the senior command, I can assure you.

"We'll be making sure we're talking to the broader multicultural community today and making sure they know that those views in no way represent what Victoria Police is about."

Mr Mullett told ABC Radio Melbourne the latest posts Mr Guerin had been linked to were "nothing short of vile and disgraceful".

He said the Community Advocacy Alliance, a group chaired by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Kel Glare, had complained to police command about Mr Guerin, but the complaint had only been acted on after Mr Guerin's posts were reported in the media.