Herald Sun (VIC): Homicide detectives win pay dispute with Victoria Police

Detectives who worked overtime to solve some of Victoria’s most harrowing crimes have won their long-running fight for compensation.

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Homicide squad detectives have won a long-running fight to be paid for gruelling overtime shifts chasing some of Victoria’s worst killers.

A last-minute deal ahead of legal action means five homicide ­investigators will receive tens of thousands of dollars in overtime.

The settlement, which came as the Police Association was on the brink of launching a major publicity and legal campaign, is expected to open the floodgates to multimillion-dollar claims by other underpaid cops.

For more than two years, five homicide squad detectives who helped solve the murders of Aiia Massawarre, Eurydice Dixon, Sarah Gatt and baby boy Chayse Dearing had been fighting for unpaid wages.

Their claims related to ­almost 3000 hours in overtime spent tracking down killers and gathering critical evidence to lock down convictions.

One investigator told the Saturday Herald Sun: “The ­notion that you can pull the pin after eight hours fails to ­appreciate the importance of the work being done. The community would expect us to do what needs to be done at the critical stages of these jobs.

“The long days spent at crime scenes, combing through CCTV to pick up an image, speaking to witnesses and neighbours, is the difference between solving and not solving these crimes.”

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said he was pleased Victoria Police had ­finally resolved the matter ­before the association had to launch legal action.

“Following negotiations with Victoria Police over a significant period of time, we are happy to have today resolved the matter on behalf of our members,” he said.

“The settlement reached ­resolves the matter and ­importantly, also improves processes to ensure that members are able to accurately record excessive hours worked. “

However, Mr Gatt said the homicide investigators’ claims were the tip of the iceberg.

The association said it was aware of detectives based at crime command owed about $3m for worked hours.

This includes detectives from the armed crime squad, sexual crime squad, counter terrorism command and the special operations group.

Mr Gatt said the force had a “systemic underpayment problem” that must be addressed.

The Saturday Herald Sun was told the reason Victoria Police had initially not paid the detectives’ overtime because they had not sought prior ­approval for the hours.

MURDER CASES

Aiia Massawarre, aged 21

Murdered by rapper Codey Hermann in Bundoora while on her way home from a comedy gig in the early hours of January 16, 2019.

Hermann arrested over Ms Massawarre’s murder two days later.

BREAKTHROUGH: Homicide detectives located a grey T-shirt and a hat with a ‘1986’ logo at the crime scene and released images of the items to the public. A police officer recognised them as the clothing worn by Codey Hermann when she stopped him four days earlier.

Eurydice Dixon, aged 22

Murdered by Jaymes Todd in Princes Park while walking home from a comedy gig in the early hours of June 13, 2018.

Todd arrested over Ms Dixon’s murder later the same night.

BREAKTHROUGH: Homicide detectives swept through masses of CCTV footage to identify Jaymes Todd as he stalked Eurydice Dixon from the southern end of the city. The CCTV images were released by police, turning up pressure on Todd, who handed himself into police.

Sarah Gatt, aged 40

Murdered allegedly by ex-partner Andrew Baker in her Kensington home between April 19 – 23, 2017. Her decomposed body was discovered in the bath on January 3, 2018.

Baker arrested over her Ms Gatt’s murder in December 2019.

BREAKTHROUGH: Homicide detectives spent hours gathering evidence on Baker including that he had allegedly claimed Ms Gatt’s Centrelink welfare payments for the nine months after her death. He and three associates allegedly lived in the home as her body decomposed.

Chayse Dearing, aged six months old

Murdered by his mother’s boyfriend Dwayne Lindsay in their Glenroy unit on June 26, 2016.

Arrested on June 30, 2016 following a four-day police manhunt.

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