Australia's Victoria Police chief quits

State Premier Ted Baillieu made the announcement at a press conference today. Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay will serve as acting Chief Commissioner. Overland's resignation comes hours after the release of a Victorian ombudsman's report which found he was solely responsible for releasing misleading and inconsistent crime statistics before the last state election, Australian media reported. Overland said the decision to release the statistics early was "his alone".

"Relying on unsettled data without appropriate qualification was a mistake, but there is no basis to suggest it was conscious manipulation," he told the ombudsman. Overland told investigators he released the statistics early because the normal timeframe would have seen the data released during the week of the state election.

"I feared that this was a much greater risk of politicalisation than an early release," he said. The report, tabled in parliament today, found that the crime statistics released - which showed a 27.5 per cent reduction in assaults between July and September 2010 compared with the same period in 2009 - were based on information that was yet to be validated.

Overland said he was not "politically motivated or influenced" in deciding to release the statistics, but wanted to provide a wider and more informative range of data to the public.

"Relying on unsettled data without appropriate qualification was a mistake, but there is no basis to suggest it was conscious manipulation," he said. With hindsight, he would do it differently, he said.

"While I acknowledge that the timing of the September quarter release meant there was less time for the data to 'settle' (and that was undesirable) the data was accurate at the date of its release. I accept however, it should have been accompanied by a qualification that it had not had sufficient time to settle," he said.

In 2010, Overland had advised to international students to "look as poor as you can" as a strategy to avoid being assaulted. The advice came after the series of violent attacks were witnessed against Indian student.

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