4th April 2020

After a stroll with the dog in the reserve that abuts my back yard, I came back to find my back gate ajar.

The dog, as is her habit, was quite a few paces ahead and as she trotted into the yard let out a couple of unusual barks. Not particularly savage or persistent, but something was not right.

As I came through the gate, as is my habit, I locked it and put in the security catch.

As I turned and started to walk towards the house, from between the bushes on the lawn, a male materialised, prompting the dog to bark again.

This man, in his mid thirty’s dressed in black with the regulation Adidas black tracksuit pants, (the crooks uniform) was far from relaxed at being confronted.

He claimed that he had thought this was access to the reserve. Given that a whole street terminates into the reserve 80 meters further south from my back gate, I knew, exactly what he was,—an opportunist thief, sprung.

It was pretty evident that he was drug-affected, displaying the characteristic twitches and avoiding eye contact. He reeked of cologne that he had bathed in probably to avoid washing, (there used to be a myth that Police dogs were put off by strong cologne – you wouldn’t need a dog to track this bloke most non-COVID suffers could do it). I knew from instinct (former plods never lose that) this encounter could end up a mess.

I warned him to watch the dog as he was in her backyard. This was no idle threat as he was in mortal danger from her licking him to death if he showed the slightest interest in her, a common trait of Labradoodles. But Bonnie stood her ground behaving differently to when she is typically confronted by a stranger.

For some reason, drug addicts do not like dogs and dogs return the emotion; it has to be the odour, and or the odd behaviours that make dogs warry which unnerves addicts and in this situation, she would have picked up on my demeanour.

I let him out the back gate without incident with him watching the dog intently as he skirted around me with my faithful dog now set at my side. He then made relatively fast tracks down the reserve path.

The purpose of this note is not really about the drug addict but me, I was now a Victim and standing in a Victim’s shoes. Although the event was minor on the Victim scale, the shoes nevertheless became uncomfortable.

I rang ‘OOO’, and the operator was fine and engaging, and to the choice as to whether I would like the Police to call in, I agreed. As a former plod, it is always good to chat with the current members, and apart from that, I had reported he entered the property from the front but had subsequently determined he most likely came through the back. It may have been useful additional intelligence.

So I waited and waited and waited, and quite a deal later having given up on a visit or follow up I saw the Div Van drive by, so at least I knew they had maybe a cursory look for the suspect. They would have my phone number so a call would have been easy on the drive back to the station.

My neighbour is a single mum, and strangely her dog, Friday, (weird name for a dog, but they have a cat called Barry so it sort of works), remained silent throughout the incident, and that was unusual, so I went to check on her.

Fortunately, she and her boys were fine, and Friday had been inside staring down Barry for the last hour or so, willing the cat to make a break for it so a chase would be on.

However, I discovered from my neighbour, who was told by another neighbour, that the person in black had been arrested by the Police and put in the van.

This convoluted story is probably repeated many times an hour right across the state. Still, the issue that gets me is the lack of Victim follow up (service delivery) and given the Police are always asking for public help; you would reason it would be a two-way street, but not so, apparently.

Although it is the members at the coalface that will cop the blame as being lazy and unprofessional, I know enough about Policing to put the blame where it should properly lay.

Clearly, and obviously, this is a management issue where the systems and accountabilities to develop good service delivery practises, either do not exist or are ineffective.

The excuse will no doubt be that they were busy, and it is all down to priorities, that euphemism that explains all Police failures to avoid accountability.

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) has heard many stories where the lack of service is evident. The CAA position is that the allocation of resources is a significant contributor to this and other problems with insufficient Police staffing at the Stations and General Duties patrols. This problem will continue to exacerbate while the current staffing allocations and philosophies persist.

It is not the number of Police in the force, but the numbers of Police Policing.

Chief Commissioner, it is about time you fixed this essential Policing function; you might find greater cooperation from the public if you do.