The Victoria Police officer in charge of ethical standards, Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin, has been caught out trolling former officers using a fake name on Facebook.
On a group for ex-police officers, run by former chief commissioner Kelvin Glare, Guerin posted under the nom-de-plume of Vernon Demerest, named after Dean Martin's character in the movie Airport.
According to Fairfax, in several Facebook posts – now deleted along with the account – Guerin made vulgar comments on the Facebook page of 2GB shock jock Chris Smith about former police commissioner Christine Nixon and former Police Association boss Paul Mullett after Mullett had lost a court case to Nixon.
"She [Nixon] bent the Mulletmeister [Mullett] over and slipped a rather large schlong up his date courtesy of the Supreme Court's decision this morning," he posted in August 2016.
"Master fisherwoman Chrissy just gutted him and stuffed a nice prawn up his filleted asshole," he said in another.
In January, a Facebook group admin revealed they believed Guerin to be the poster because he had accidentally posted one such comment under his personal account, only to delete the comment and then repost it under the fake name.
The group complained to the chief commissioner, who referred it to Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), but ultimately the complaint was not investigated, until today when Fairfax revealed that the comments were again referred to IBAC.
Then Guerin popped up on 3AW talkback radio on Thursday, where he admitted he was behind the post and said it was crude, coarse, and not the type of language he wanted his mother or daughters to read about.
The head of professional standards said it was "language I would imagine most people would not expect from someone like me, particularly in the role I have".
Guerin said he shouldn't have used a fake name, but said he did it because if he'd used his own name it would have been associated with Victoria Police. He said that he should be able to voice his own opinion.
"To a degree, I've got a right to public comment as a private citizen," he said.
He argued the comments were not trolling, however.
"I'm not sure expressing a view contrary to an author is trolling," he said. "The lesson I've learned out of this is sometimes you've just got to let stuff go."
He couldn't say whether he was making the posts from a Victoria Police computer, and did not say he would stand down while the investigation was ongoing.
"It's appropriate that IBAC investigates the allegations. That's a matter for the chief, and not me. I'll have a conversation with him and that's a matter between him and me," Guerin said.
He said an officer would be admonished for doing a similar thing but would likely not lose his job.