One of the major functions of the Policy and Specialised Legal Division is legal advice to staff of the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP), the Crown Prosecutors and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and to external agencies including Victoria Police. This does not include advice on operational or investigative matters.
The Policy and Specialised Legal Division maintains and updates the OPP’s legal knowledge management database, Brucebase. This database collects and stores a variety of material relevant to the functions of the OPP and is available to all OPP staff. Policy and Advice also issues an information bulletin, which keeps staff abreast of recent and pending legal developments.
Under s 22(ce) of the Public Prosecutions Act 1994, the DPP is given the power to provide advice, in relation to an investigation or a prosecution, to an agency, body or person that has a power to investigate or prosecute criminal offences. As a result of this power, the OPP provides large volumes of formal, written, legal advice to various external agencies, principally Victoria Police. All incoming requests for advice are initially processed to assess whether they can be handled by Policy and Advice: if not, they are referred to one of the specialist sections within the OPP.