Break The Needle 3-Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

Break The Needle 3-Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

Break The Needle 3

Another insightful article from ‘Break the Needle’.  The Canadian experiences with Illicit drugs seem to precede the experiences here in Victoria as the government has guided us towards the first step in a broader application of the ‘Safe Suppy’ slide with the introduction of Pill testing. With similar advocates in Victoria promoting drug proliferation, having access to the Canadian experiences gives Victoria a head start to alter course and impact the toll that drugs are taking on our predominantly younger generation.

Drug facilitation by governments all have one thing in common: they increase the use of illegal narcotics, and there is never any evidence that the addiction diminishes, but rather younger people enter the drug dependence regime convinced that because it is government-sanctioned, it must be safe.

This article highlights how drug apologists inject emotive words into their rhetoric, like the use of ‘fake news’, ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ to further promote the use of illicit drugs. – CAA

 

Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics have said all along: safer supply diversion is happening at alarming levels

Break The Needle

and

Sabrina Maddeaux

Jul 23, 2024

 

By Sabrina Maddeaux

Last spring, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions claimed critics’ concerns about “safer supply” diversion — the illegal selling and trading of taxpayer-funded addictive drugs — were based on lies.

“For Pierre Poilievre to state untrue information about safer supply, and try to create barriers to accessing harm reduction services that are saving lives amid this ongoing crisis, is incredibly irresponsible and dehumanizing to people who use drugs,” read a statement by then-minister Carolyn Bennett’s office.

Fast forward a year, and it’s clear which side was telling the truth.

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics said all along: diversion of pharmaceutically supplied opioids to the streets is happening at alarming levels. London is home to Canada’s longest-running safer supply program, which dates back to 2016 and was significantly expanded in 2020.

The London Police Service released data that shows a staggering 3,000 per cent increase in the seizure of hydromorphone tablets — the opioid predominantly given out by safer supply programs — over the last five years. In 2019, London police seized just under 1,000 tablets. By 2020, that number had tripled. In 2023, they seized 30,000 hydromorphone tablets.

For context, hydromorphone is as potent as heroin and just two or three of these pills, if snorted, can cause an overdose in an inexperienced opioid user.

Earlier this month, the city’s deputy police chief, Paul Bastien, told CBC’s London Morning, “We recognize the value that safe supply plays as part of that harm reduction piece, but diversion is an important issue that is affecting community safety. I won’t say that everyone’s doing it, but some of the tablets from safe supply are being diverted for that purpose.”

“Criminal groups are fairly adept at exploiting policy changes that are well intended. But unforeseen consequences sometimes arise and this appears to be, at least in part, one of them,” he continued.

A reasonable person may assume that, given this alarming new evidence, proponents of safer supply would change their tune about widespread diversion being “fake news.” Unfortunately, they haven’t.

Some activists are now claiming on social media that London’s spike in hydromorphone seizures was not caused by safer supply, but rather by a high-profile theft of 245,000 hydromorphone tablets from an Ontario pharmacy. Yet the spike in seizures began years before this theft and, according to multiple addiction physicians, the street price of hydromorphone collapsed in the city well before 2023, suggesting an earlier influx of diverted supply.

However, these mental contortions aren’t surprising. As more and more evidence of widespread diversion emerged over the past year, accusations of disinformation and misinformation haven’t stopped –– they have simply evolved. The narrative changed from “Diversion doesn’t exist” to “Fine, it exists, but only on a small scale” to, now, “Fine, diversion exists at scale, but imagine the alternative?”

This is the angle already emerging in British Columbia, where the province’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, authored a damning report that acknowledges the regularity and harms of safer supply diversion, yet still concludes safer supply is “ethically defensible” and advocates for its expansion.

Like many safer supply activists, Henry often argues diversion isn’t a significant concern because most opioid deaths are caused by fentanyl.

While it’s true that most opioid deaths are attributable to fentanyl, hydromorphone is still incredibly dangerous. When diverted into the black market, it creates new addictions, often among young people, which culminate in fentanyl use.

Moreover, data indicate hydromorphone is implicated in an increasing share of drug-related deaths in young people in B.C. In 2019, there were no reported deaths involving hydromorphone. By 2022, that number jumped to 22 per cent. Similarly, a recent report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario found the number of youth in the province who self-reported using prescription opioids for “non-medical” reasons jumped 71 per cent between 2021 and 2023.

Still, safer supply activists continue to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that widespread diversion isn’t happening.

In 2017, Collins Dictionary declared “fake news” the word of the year. Since then, the term –– along with sister terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” –– have taken on a disturbing new life.

While fake news, misinformation and disinformation are very real democratic threats, some politicians and activists realized they could delegitimize opponents’ arguments and unflattering media stories by simply proclaiming them fake. Now, we’re in the dizzyingly ironic position of real news, and real facts, being dismissed as misinfo and disinfo by self-declared guardians of the truth.

This is the exact problem journalists and concerned medical professionals continue to face when raising the alarm on so-called “safer supply.” Despite the abundance of solid reporting, emerging data, whistleblower warnings and first-hand accounts of widespread diversion, harm reduction activists and their allies in government don’t just recklessly dismiss the problem, they weaponize the language of fake news to discredit a reality they don’t like.

Communities across Canada, and addicts themselves, deserve better.

MORE WEASEL WORDS ON YOUTH CRIME.

MORE WEASEL WORDS ON YOUTH CRIME.

Pic. Courtesy Herald Sun

The community is tired of this continual waffle about getting tough on Youth crime. They want action, not words.

As victims accumulate at an alarming rate and the youth cohort becomes more violent and brash, the government’s rhetoric becomes more hollow and meaningless.

How many times do we hear that there is no problem, it is just a small cohort, or we have the lowest youth crime figures in Australia only to be told the next day that the independent Crime Statistics Agency has debunked the government claims?

Yet again, this headline – appeared in the Herald Sun on July 21, 2024

ALLAN GOVT SET TO STRENGTHEN VICTORIA’S YOUTH BAIL LAWS IN A CRACKDOWN ON CRIME

Suggesting that the government is dithering would perhaps be an understatement because the changes they are considering will be to the  Youth Justice Bill before Parliament.

If passed, this Bill, some 900 pages long, will make the current situation look benign. Yong people will have no barriers or accountability to control their criminal behaviour.

Astoundingly, the drafting of this Bill took five years: five years to rewrite the laws regarding youth offenders and five years to mess it up completely.

The CAA has examined the Bill and were shocked at its ineptitude, particularly,

  • not one reference in the 900 pages to any effort or strategy to avoid children becoming involved in crime in the first place,
  • a focus solely on diverting children from the legal system no matter what they do,
  • victims only received very scant references and no consideration,
  • children are treated like disposable commodities as there is no mention of protecting a child for themselves, a concept too difficult for the architects of the Bill to contemplate,
  • the real kicker was the complete avoidance of any reference to accountability by young offenders.

This Bill is so bad that our critique ran to ten pages,

The bill also lifts the age of criminal responsibility, initially to twelve and later fourteen, currently ten years. This alone makes the bill a joke as while the ideological dreamers may hold sway over the government, the Crime Statistics Agency has children aged 10 or 11 years old recording a 52.6 per cent spike in the number of offences committed, and they want to make those offences go away by classifying those perpetrators as exempt from prosecution.

The age changes may help the shocking statistics but won’t help the children or the victims, but neither of them matters much when statistics are under pressure. One result that can be guaranteed is that the number of victims will increase exponentially.

Try and explain this drivel to a victim of weapon-wielding children in this age bracket or explain why there was no intervention of the younger children to steer them away from further crime. By age thirteen, their behaviour will be entrenched and nearly impossible to divert.

To aggravate the incompetence, the government proposes legislating the Police Cautioning Program, which has successfully diverted thousands of children from its inception many decades ago.

This program is arguably the most effective mechanism developed to divert young people from crime, but being good makes it a target.

The proven adage of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ should apply.

GOVERNMENT FAILS 20,000 VEHICLE OWNERS

GOVERNMENT FAILS 20,000 VEHICLE OWNERS

Police arrest the thieves, and courts release them. There has to be a better way.

That way is what the CAA calls the G-Tag (Electronic Vehicle tracking).

If the Government won’t bring the Courts into line to do their job, then the community will have to take action.

Every day, we are told of yet another shocking crime or string of crimes to which a Motor car is central, but the government sits on its hands and takes no action apart from the odd manipulation of statistics to deflect criticism.

First and foremost, the judiciary has failed, and its role now must be evaluated based on the ineffectiveness of its penalties by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The Key indicator is the primary function of a sentence: general deterrence. However, this has been lost in the mire of so-called diversions, few of which divert the offenders from more crime.

If a judicial officer’s adjudication is below a benchmark performance (KPI), and particularly if the sentencing fails to achieve the primary objective of deterring others, then they need to explain their failure, and where that failure is consistent, they should be removed from the bench.

The reality is that if the circa 20,000 cars and other vehicles that are stolen annually and used by criminals were made unusable for their criminal activities, the theft of cars would drop dramatically, and with it, the crime the vehicles facilitate.

There would not only be a massive crime drop but also a massive impact on car owners’ safety and reduced cost, as the dramatic drop in Victorian fleet thefts would force insurers to lower premiums as the risk factors diminish.

The Courts have failed to reign in crime and blame the government, which, in turn, accuses the Courts.

Additionally, the Government has been made aware of an alternate plan since 2016 but considers the plan not even worthy of discussing with the CAA.

The problem with the plan we agree, challenges the status quo, but the status quo doesn’t help the thousands of victims; the G-Tag will.

See,

https://caainc.org.au/g-tag-a-new-paradigm-in-community-safety

https://caainc.org.au/?s=G-Tag

There is, however, an alternate option: bypassing the government.

The alternative is providing the private sector with the opportunity to implement the G-Tag.

A subscription service to protect vehicles would be cost-effective for owners who could offset some of the cost with reduced premiums from insurers and provide a disabling capacity for vehicles if they are stolen, which could be a viable alternative to waiting for the government.

The money this would save the State purse by reducing crime and processing criminals would justify some relief for those who subscribe to the G-Tag service.

The security industry already operates control rooms that monitor security equipment, and some companies monitor the movement of ankle bracelets, so providing a G-Tag service would not be a significant technological step.

Although technology is unlikely to stop a vehicle from being stolen as soon as the owner is aware, the car can be disabled, making it useless for the crooks.

Most high-end vehicles already have the technology built-in, and other vehicles are relatively cheap to equip.

The disruption to the crook’s plans would deter them from stealing any vehicle with a G-Tag sticker on the window.

The G-Tag can put a vehicle into ‘limp home mode’, reducing its maximum speed to 80 KPH, and then disable the engine when it is safe.

The police can be notified of the incident and organise an interception coordinated with the use of the vehicle’s disabling capacity.

One distinct advantage is that thieves are unlikely to have the opportunity to torch the vehicle, destroying evidence.

A negotiation with the E-Tag operators could make this concept more viable.

It is a big challenge; however, if we wait for the government, it will never happen, and the crooks will continue to operate with gay abandon, and victims will continue to be put at risk because of government inaction.

Whether you are an Uber Driver or a Mum on the school run, we must lift their protection.

The CAA calls on entrepreneurial businesses who might be interested in exploring this concept to contact us at info@caainc.org.au

‘WACK- A- MOLE’ Government Strategy on Youth.

‘WACK- A- MOLE’ Government Strategy on Youth.

(‘Whack-a-Mole’ is a 1970s arcade-style game that lives up to its name. It consists of Moles popping up out of their burrows randomly and the players trying to wack them with a mallet.)

At a time when the youth crisis is in an out-of-control spiral, irrespective of how the government tries to spin the problem, the Government is using the police force in a futile effort to resolve the issue by forcing them to play ‘Wack-A-Mole

Additionally, the government trumpets action, which turns out to be inaction, that the community is supposed to accept, but it is all smoke and mirrors with no clear strategy.

The problem that we face with young people and crime, in general, is that nobody is doing anything about reducing crime before it occurs. They would rather play ‘Wack-a-Mol’,

As reported in the Herald Sun,

  • Vehicle thefts have jumped by 25% to 40000.
  • 59,000 motorists had valuables stolen from their vehicles.

And the advice for drivers was to lock their cars and hide valuables – the victim’s fault.

These statistics become more concerning yearly – more offences, more victims.

This crime is shared between opportunistic drug addicts to fund their addiction and juveniles out for ‘the thrill’. The crime surge is the fault of weak legislation and poor strategies to combat crime. Blaming the victim is unforgivable.

But never fear. The government has spent five years drafting a new Youth Justice Bill to address the current anomalies in the Judicial system.

The Bill, if enacted in its present form, will add to the crime problem, not diminish it, as its sole focus is diverting young people from the Justice system after they offend, and its 900 pages do not mention once, what can be done with younger children, to divert them from crime. However, it expends a lot of words to remove concepts of accountability and consequences from all young offenders.

It also lifts the age of criminal responsibility to 13 years from 10 years, an ideological whim not only contradicts the empirical evidence published by government agencies but expends no energy on how these children in that underage cohort who commit crimes will be dealt with.

‘Alarming statistics released in June found crimes involving children as young as ten had soared to their highest level since 2010, with a 52.6 per cent spike in offences committed by ten and 11-year-olds.

Children aged 10 to 13 years old were responsible for 84 aggravated burglaries, while those aged 14 to 17 were considered to be “over-represented” in burglaries, assaults, robberies and car thefts – HS 10.7.2024

A cynic may suggest that the statistics don’t show children younger than 10 committing crimes because they are below the legislated age of criminal intent. That cohort will show a 100% decline in children aged 10 and 11 committing crimes when the age is lifted.

Will the government exploit this statistical foible to pretend they’re solving the problem? Doubtless, they will.

With contributions like ‘dob in a mate’ the latest government offering, all we can say is, ‘good luck with that’. However, it points to the disconnect between the government and its advisers and the real world.

The reality is that Police and the community will just have to wait until a perpetrator turns 13 before their criminal endeavours can perhaps be curtailed. On occasions, police in the past have had to wait until a child turns ten before they can be presented to the judicial system to curb their criminal behaviour.

These arbitrary age limits do not necessarily coincide with the child’s acuity development or when a child is acting in concert with others who may be older in the commission of crimes.

They must be scrapped.

Of course, being charged is only part of the problem. The main issues are,

  • Ineffective bail laws.

The failure of the Bail Laws, which the Courts say is not their fault but the legislators, is the lamest excuse ever hidden behind, a weak excuse and entirely accurate.

  • Failure to hold children to account for their actions.

If criminal behaviour does not have consequences, what motivation exists to change children’s behaviour – talk fests and meetings don’t cut it.

  • Failure to apply sanctions for criminality.

The law is based, in part, on a fear (Deterrent factor) that certain unacceptable behaviours attract sanctions imposed by a Court, but illogically, this concept is removed from children, which is a significant part of the problem as they seldom suffer any accurate or effective sanctions.

The future for the children is not looking good; by the time their unlawful behaviour is checked, crime is entrenched in their psyche or soul, and the chances of rehabilitation are problematic.

Easy bail is only one of the many illogical approaches the government has persisted with, as, for example, the most recent absconding of a juvenile bailed on charges of culpable driving causing death after a stolen car he was allegedly driving ploughed into another vehicle, killing the occupant.

The perpetrator absconded within hours of being bailed, and the real fear is that he was behind the wheel of another stolen car. Now in custody, what he did for the three days on the run will no doubt be exposed in due course.

In this matter, the government and the courts have blood on their hands, but will that be enough to have them wake up and do their job in the community’s best interests?

The CAA calls on the government to act before more innocent lives are lost.

  • Immediately amend the Bail Act to unshackle the Courts (who will then have no excuse) and follow the New South Wales model of liberalising the ability of the courts to reject applications for the privilege of Bail in appropriate cases.
  • Immediately reinstate the offence of breach of bail conditions.
  • Immediately abandon the notion of lifting the age for criminal intent. All children develop at different stages; therefore, the age is somewhat irrelevant anyway, and all ages should be removed instead, relying on the common law principle of doli incapaxa, a Latin phrase meaning “incapable of evil”, a defence available to all children.  children under 14 years.
  • Immediately develop proactive initiatives that divert young people from crime before offending rather than relying on diversion programs after offending.
  • Immediately abandon the flawed Youth Justice Bill, which, if enacted, will increase the crime rate.

The ball is now squarely in the Government’s court, and a failure to act as outlined will condemn this government forever.

Break the Needle 2

Break the Needle 2

Yet another insightful article from Break the Needle.

We are thankfully not at this stage yet, but the efforts of our politicians and the trajectory they have put in place lead to some inevitability that we will as they push the failed ‘Harm Minimisation’ approach they have embraced – ‘Safer Supply’ will be the inevitable next step after safe injecting facilities and pill testing interventions that promote drug use.

 The Canadian experience highlights the failure to recognise or accept that early

intervention is the only process that can reverse this trend from ruining lives.

…CAA comment.

………………………………….

 

Leading addiction doctor warns of Canada’s ‘safer supply’ disaster

 

Addiction physician Dr. Sharon Koivu has seen the effects of safer supply programs in her clinical practice and personal life — and is sounding the alarm

Having worked on the front lines of Ontario’s opioid crisis, she views these programs as a catastrophic failure.

In an extended interview, Koivu explained the unintended consequences of these programs, which offer free tablets of hydromorphone — an opioid about as strong as heroin – to vulnerable patients with a history of addiction. While advocates of safer supply claim it mitigates the use of more dangerous illicit substances, there is evidence that most users divert — that is, sell or trade — their hydromorphone to acquire stronger substances.

Safer supply was first piloted in London, Ont., in 2016, before being widely expanded across Canada in 2020 with the help of generous federal grants. While the program looked good on paper, Koivu, who provides comprehensive addiction consultation services at a London-based hospital, saw a different reality: her patients were destabilising, relapsing and fatally overdosing because of safer supply.

Koivu says that “one hundred percent” of her colleagues working in addiction medicine have noticed safer supply diversion. Some patients have told her they have been threatened with violence if they do not procure and divert these drugs. She estimates that, because of safer supply, tens of thousands of diverted hydromorphone pills — also known as “Dilaudid,” “dillies” or “D8s” — are flooding into Canadian streets every day.

For context, just two or three of these pills, if snorted, are enough to induce an overdose in a new user.

This influx has caused the drug’s street price to crash by as much as 95 per cent. While 8-milligram hydromorphone pills used to sell for $20 each several years ago, they can now be bought for as little as a dollar or two. These rock-bottom prices have ignited a new wave of addictions and relapses, and lured opioid-naive individuals into experimenting with what is essentially pharmaceutical heroin.

Koivu estimates that 80 per cent of her opioid-using patients now take diverted hydromorphone.

“The biggest harm is that we’ve turned on the tap and we’ve made everything cheap, which is leading to a large increase in the number of people becoming addicted and suffering,” she said.

“It is the most serious issue that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Safer supply programs seem to regularly overprescribe opioids without considering patients’ actual needs, Koivu says. Patients have come into her hospital with prescriptions that provide 40 eight-milligram hydromorphone pills a day, even though they can only tolerate 10 pills.

‘That attraction is horrific’

Throughout the first few decades of Koivu’s career, almost “everyone” in her patient pool developed addictions due to childhood traumas or from mishandling opioids prescribed for chronic pain.

Since the advent of safer supply, the origins of new opioid addictions have shifted toward social or recreational exposure. Concerningly, this exposure often occurs in patients’ adolescent years.

“I’m seeing an increase in youth becoming addicted,” said Koivu, who has had patients as young as 15 tell her their addictions began through diverted hydromorphone.

“Almost everyone I see who’s started since 2018 started recreationally. It started as something that was at a party. It’s now a recreational drug at the youth level.”

Parents often seem completely unaware of the problem. Some have told Koivu they overheard their children discussing the availability of “D8s” at their high schools, only to later realise — when it was too late — they were referring to opioids.

“You can’t walk into your house with a six-pack of beer. If you’re smoking weed, people can smell it. But you can walk into your house with a lot of [tablets] in your pocket. So, it’s cheap, really easy to hide, and is even called ‘safe’ by the government. I think that attraction is horrific.”

“Our youth are dying at a higher rate … and we have a lot more hydromorphone found in [their bodies] at the time of death.”

While safer supply programs claim to make communities safer, Koivu’s lived experiences suggest the opposite. She used to reside in London’s Old East Village, where the city’s first safer supply program opened in 2016, but moved away after watching her neighbourhood deteriorate from widespread crime, overdoses and drug trafficking.

“I moved there to support a supervised injection site,” said Koivu. “Then I watched that community drastically change when safer supply was implemented. … I would go for walks and directly see diversion taking place. Homelessness is very complicated, but this has absolutely fuelled it in ways that are unconscionable.”

Koivu characterises the evidentiary standards used by advocates of safer supply as “deeply problematic.” She says many of the studies supporting safer supply are qualitative — meaning they rely on interviews — and use anecdotal data from patients who have a vested interest in perpetuating the program.

While Koivu has been blowing the whistle on safer supply programs for years, her concerns largely went unnoticed until recently. She has faced years of harassment and denigration for her views.

“When I came to say I’m concerned about what I’m seeing: the infections, the suffering, the encampments … I was literally told that I was lying,” she said.

Last month, the London Police Service provided the National Post with data showing that annual hydromorphone seizures increased by 3,000 per cent after access to safer supply was significantly expanded in 2020. The newspaper has since raised questions about why this data was not released earlier and whether the police stonewalled attempts to investigate the issue.

Koivu considers herself a lifelong progressive and has historically supported the New Democratic Party. But she is concerned many left-leaning politicians have ignored criticism of safer supply. Many seemingly believe that opposition to it is inherently conservative.

“I went to a hearing in Ottawa of a standing committee to talk about addiction,” she said. “We had five minutes to give a talk and then two hours to answer questions, [but] I didn’t receive any questions from the NDP or the Liberals.”

Although Koivu believes safe supply can play a role in the continuum of care for opioid addiction, she says it must be executed in a meticulous manner that prevents diversion and emphasises pathways to recovery.

“It needs to be part of a comprehensive strategy to help people get their lives back. And right now, it’s not.”

Above all, it is Koivu’s experience as a mother that drives her to criticize safer supply. One of her sons struggled with opioid addiction as a young adult. Although he eventually recovered, the experience could have killed him.

“Had this program been around … my family could have been another statistic from an opioid death. That drives me. Because it’s very real, and it’s very personal.”

Break The Needle

Break The Needle

 This article gives an insight into the direction and traps in managing drug addiction.

 Canada has been the window to the future of the drug addiction problem in Australia. It has shown the world the contrasting outcome of pragmatic management as opposed to the id

We will bring you further articles authorised to be published by Break the Needle, giving a window into where the drug epidemic is headed and what works and what doesn’t. We would do well to note the Canadian experience.

We have our own conflicted approach, with one arm of the government expending vast resources trying to control the illicit drug trade and use, the Legal system and the Health system dealing with the consequences of use, while all the while the government is promoting and facilitating drug use, with the Drug Injecting Room and further promotion of safe drugs, the Pill Testing service.

Captured by the failed ‘Harm Minimisation’ fallacy, we can expect the next big thing will be an emphasis on ‘Safer Supply’. The toe is already in the door with Pill Testing.

 

Opioid seizures exploded by 3,000% in Ontario City after a “safer supply” experiment.

Doctors and journalists wondering why local police failed to disclose concerning statistics to the public sooner.

JUL 07, 2024

A London (Canada) police drug seizure in April included 9,298 Dilaudid eight-milligram tablets.

By Matthew Hannick

Nigel Stuckey saved more lives during the last five years of his policing career than the previous three decades combined. “Every time you go back to the street, it has a different flavour,” said Stuckey, a former sergeant with the London Police Service (LPS) who retired in 2022. “As a frontline police officer, you are constantly going to overdoses in the city. I’ve administered Narcan to multiple people, and this is just something that never existed before.”

Stuckey first noticed a dramatic increase in overdoses and drug-related crimes occurring throughout his city – London, Ontario – in 2019. While the reasons behind this increase were initially unclear, recent data released by the LPS suggest that “safer supply” programs may be contributing to the problem.

Safer supply programs aim to save lives by providing drug users with pharmaceutical-grade alternatives to the untested street supply. That typically means distributing hydromorphone, a heroin-strength opioid, as an alternative to illicit fentanyl. However, addiction experts say the program is having the opposite effect, as many people who are enrolled in safer supply programs are illegally selling or trading their prescribed hydromorphone on the black market, a practice known as “diversion.”

Harm reduction advocates claim that safer supply diversion is not a significant issue, but according to an investigation into London Police Services (LPS) seizure data by journalist Adam Zivo, the number of hydromorphone tablets seized in London increased by 3,000 per cent after access to safer supply was greatly expanded in 2020.

In 2019, the LPS seized fewer than 1,000 hydromorphone tablets. This number jumped significantly in 2020 and continued to rise afterwards, reaching 30,000 tablet seizures last year – an unprecedented amount. The London police estimate that last year’s record will be met or exceeded by the end of 2024.

Doctors have said that this is only representative of a small fraction of what is actually out there, and that just 3-4 of these pills, if snorted, are enough to induce an overdose in a new user.

Some people are wondering why this data wasn’t released months, if not years, earlier.

Dr. Sharon Koivu, a London-based addiction physician, was among the first to recognize the harms of safer supply and has been warning the public about widespread diversion for years. Based on her clinical experiences, she believes that diverted safer supply hydromorphone is causing new addictions and falling into the hands of youth.

When Koivu tried to speak out against safer supply and call attention to diversion and an overall lack of program transparency, she was bullied and told that the suffering she was witnessing didn’t exist. This harassment was so severe that her mental health deteriorated and she worried about whether her career had been irreversibly damaged – yet the London police had quietly possessed data showing that she was right all along.

“It’s become an ideological thing,” she said. “People seem to have doubled down on the information they have. They don’t want to hear from someone who has information and concerns that don’t align with their, I’m going to say, ideology – because it’s not science.”

News of skyrocketing hydromorphone seizures might have remained hidden from the public had it not been for a major bust earlier this year.

On April 12, the London police announced a drug seizure which included 9,298 hydromorphone eight-milligram tablets. When Zivo inquired into this seizure, he received no answers to his questions for almost two months. He says that he was “stonewalled” and that the police seemed unwilling to release key data until it became impossible for them not to.

Zivo found it particularly concerning that the 2019-2023 hydromorphone seizure data was not released earlier. “Journalists and addiction physicians have been trying to raise the alarm about this issue for years,” he said, “but have been called liars, grifters and fearmongers, despite the fact that data validating their concerns existed and was held by the London Police Service.”

Stuckey, who now works as a documentary filmmaker covering London’s homelessness, addiction and mental health crisis, had a similar experience when he queried the LPS about the 9,290 hydromorphone pills seized this April.

Despite multiple requests for information about a possible connection to safer supply, the police service did not get back to him. He expressed frustration at the police’s unresponsiveness and worried that a lack of government transparency is endangering both the general public and law enforcement officers.

“Members of the London Police Service are being put in harm’s way dealing with organized crime and firearms to take drugs off the street, which were provided by the federal government. It’s absolute lunacy that we are paying one branch of government to rid a problem that was created by another branch of government,” said Stuckey.

It would be deeply concerning if the LPS knowingly withheld data pertaining to safer supply diversion. Not only has the failure to publish such data hindered informed public debate and policy development, it has also compromised the safety of the very communities which police are tasked with protecting.

According to Zivo, safer supply programs have benefitted from the silence of powerful institutions like the LPS. He said that, as there seems to be significant institutional resistance to acknowledging the community harms of safer supply, then more attention and trust should be given to local grassroots-level addiction medicine practitioners “who are bravely testifying to what they are seeing in their clinics.”

However, Dr. Koivu thinks that “the tide is turning” and that more people are beginning to understand the harms of safer supply

“I think it’s unfortunate that this data wasn’t made available sooner, when it was relevant to the funding of these programs and the changes we’re seeing in the city. The police need to be accountable for that. I really don’t understand their rationale for not addressing this” she said. “They hung me out to dry while knowing that what I was saying was accurate. If the police are afraid to come forward, no wonder physicians are afraid to come forward, too.”

NEW YOUTH BILL TO WEAKEN YOUTH LAWS.

NEW YOUTH BILL TO WEAKEN YOUTH LAWS.

To say the CAA has deep concerns about this Bill and the adverse impact it will have on raising youth crime in this state is a gross understatement.

What is generally not well understood is that this Bill is ‘the foot in the door’ for further introducing the concept of ‘Restorative Justice’, a monumental change in how Justice is dispensed in this State.

A plan that promotes ideology over pragmatism.

Significant changes included in this Bill include the plethora of conferences and committees required to manage each offender instead of the concept of punishment and accountability, which has been whitewashed out of this Bill.

Preventing young people from committing crimes in the first place is not even mentioned.

Effectively, a child can take a position where they will not comply with any processes available to the Courts or any other authorities under this Bill, and nothing can be done about it. No punishment can be applied, regardless of the child’s actions.

We suspect that the majority of the community and many politicians do not understand the consequences of this Bill, and none of them are good.

Why wasn’t the community advised of this change? We are unaware of where the Government of the day achieved a mandate for such a severe and monumental change to the principles of Justice.

It took five years to draft, underscoring the difficulty and, given the outcome, incompetence displayed in the principles that have evolved to form this Bill.

This Bill will continue to stoke crime, not diminish it.

‘A committee was formed to design a Horse ( the Bill to Reform Youth Justice), but they came up with a camel ( no ordinary Camel but a two-humped  Bactrian Camel with three legs).’

 With all the effort of five years, the Bill as presented does not address the issue the community now faces and is riddled with extreme socialist ideology and drafted by a committee that has no understanding of the people they are supposed to be protecting. It will feed the crime wave.

The Bill misses the mark by a long way.

Central to the flaw in this Bill is the assumption that children under thirteen (13) cannot form criminal intent.

This assumption isn’t based on any empirical data and flies in the face of the reality of the evolution of human development.

Over the last two decades, the development of young people has accelerated faster than any other preceding era.

The speed at which this has occurred is most evident in the last ten years when evolution achieved warp speed, driven by two significant factors: Nutrition and Technology.

The ‘canary in the coal mine’, the juvenile crime surge, generally ignored, has seen the accelerated crime rate by Juveniles and the failure to recognise the changes that were occurring in front of us all.

 Nutrition

The impact of a higher level of nutrition in recent times must be seen as positive as young people will probably grow up healthier than their predecessors, but with that nutrition comes increased physical development. It’s not an issue until you realise that young people, on average, are taller and better developed physically than their predecessors. A phenomenon that immature minds can and do exploit.

 Technology

Technology continues to accelerate at warp speed, and young people born in this era are the ones who maximise its use. They are more connected and have access to more data than previous generations ever dreamed of. This massive influx of good and bad information has developed young people’s mental acuity well beyond the perceived norm. This has happened without comparative life skills development.

They, therefore, lack the ability and maturity to process and analyse this physical development effectively, leading them to emulate others without understanding the consequences or ignoring the consequences because there are none.

Impact

Today, a 10 – 12-year-old is the equivalent of a 13–15-year-old ten years ago.

The Bill is headed in the wrong direction and should instead be lowering the age of criminal responsibility, not lifting it, particularly when the child understands what they did was criminal.

 Lifting the age of criminal intent to 12 years before children can be charged with a crime, irrespective of their development, is a recipe for increased crime. Waiting until they are older before any legal intervention can occur entrenches the child further into crime, making efforts to rehabilitate them from crime much more difficult.

Early intervention will reduce crime and improve the chances of young people developing without the stigma of exposure to Legal processes.

 Why do we have to wait until a young person is climbing the hierarchy of crime before any action is taken?

 

HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE?

HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE?

Remnants of the stolen car after Burwood fatality. Picture: Nine News/Today

 

It was a needless and shocking fatality, avoidable on a number of levels, and probably would have had more significant consequences had the thieves not taken a top-end car with all its advanced safety features to protect them, but not the innocent and hapless victim.

This needless loss of life is the direct consequence of a government ignoring advice, and unfortunately, the trajectory the government is on will only increase the risks, not mitigate them.

The government response was reported as:

A state government spokeswoman said what happened at Burwood was an unthinkable tragedy.

“Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the man who lost his life,” the spokeswoman said.

Details about the incident are still being investigated and we are in close contact with Victoria Police. We are confident police will apprehend those who are still on the run as quickly as possible.”

She said Victoria had more police on the beat than any other state of territory and that the force targeted the worst young offenders, making 2700 arrests in the past year.

This statement attributed to a spokesperson is heartless and disrespectful to the victim and insulting to his family. We are not sure how the thoughts of the government can be with the Victim’s loved ones when they don’t even have the courtesy to use Ash Gordon’s name. However, the revelation in this statement should worry every Victorian when the spokesperson bragged of the 2700 arrests in the past year.

Again and again, this government ignores the simple concept of prevention, which is the only tried and proven way to stop this growing crime tsunami.

Arresting offenders is essential, but it will not reduce crime as the perpetrators are as inane as their actions. Still, they believe they won’t get caught, so the whole concept of deterrence is lost, exacerbated by the current judicial practices that obviously fail miserably to address the real issues.

The CAA has long argued that there are mechanisms that have been tried and worked in the past that could be reintroduced. A serious investment of money and resources into provocative policing is required to stem the tide.

The problem is set to become much worse as the government processes its latest effort, the Youth Justice Bill.

This 1100-page Bill that took five years to write doesn’t herald any innovation but is an extension of all the bad aspects of the current system. All the current flaws are further entrenched.

So, more of the same, only worse. More people will die, and more lives will be ruined, including devastating our young, because the government is focused on an unproven experimental concept, Restorative Justice, which nobody can indicate where this process has worked.

The government’s current and future strategies do not deal with diverting young people from crime.

Unbelievably, their new Youth Justice Bill regularly mentions diversion as one of its central planks. However, that is not a diversion from crime but from the legal system.

The two concepts are not mutually inclusive; they are different and seek different outcomes, which, in our view, are counterproductive objectives. Under the government’s new Bill, when a child commits multiple offences or a series of offences, there is no intervention or effort to have the child accept accountability or be subject to consequences. The Bill aims to put the child through a series of meetings and conferences, assuming that will solve the problem.

The recommendations of the CAA would have gone a long way to avoiding this tragic situation. See:

https://caainc.org.au/youth-crisis-a-solution/

https://caainc.org.au/crackdown-on-crime-the-wet-lettuce-leaf-approach/

https://caainc.org.au/you-cant-be-serious-premier/

A necessary and effective process of reducing the crime associated with cars is to ensure the vehicle, when stolen, can’t be used for the crook’s intended purpose. Take away their tools of trade; in this case, the stolen car, and the crime of Aggravated Burglary and car theft will plummet. Moreover, there are a raft of other serious crimes that stolen vehicles are currently used in commissioning; this initiative will curtail overall criminal activity. Crooks may have to resort to public transport or Uber.

An upgraded and relocated (within the vehicle) G-Tag could replace the E-Tag and perform that function to enable authorities to turn off the car, thwarting the crook’s ability to use the vehicle for criminal activity, including driving recklessly.

There will also be a perfect chance the car can be recovered intact, a blessing for those of the lower socio-economic strata, and the reduced losses of vehicles should reduce insurance premiums to benefit us all.

A number of cars already come with this capacity, and the owner can activate the disabling function; however, this assumes that the crooks didn’t take the victim’s phone and the victim is in a state to make sound decisions. Totally temporarily disabling the car at the wrong time could cause more significant risks to the community.
Imagine if a car was disabled at speed on a freeway without warning; this would cause carnage. With control of this resource by authorities, the vehicle could be monitored and disabled safely. With the owner having control, the consequences for their partner driving the car during a domestic dispute could have disastrous consequences. See:

https://caainc.org.au/?s=G-Tag

https://caainc.org.au/?s=The+G-tag

One problem the government has is being briefed by people who are not in touch with reality. The government was recently given a confidential briefing on youth-related matters only to have the staff from the Justice Department responsible for writing strategy for the government complain that the presentation was too graphic and stressful.

It is interesting how the victims of this crime may view this sensitivity, and it goes a long way to show that those drafting government policy are out of touch with the reality of the issues, perhaps living in a bubble of fantasy. Given some of their recent contributions, fantasy appropriately categorises their efforts. Unfortunately, the tragic death on Tuesday involving a stolen car is a portend of more to come. Lives are wasted by inaction. See:

https://caainc.org.au/woke-joke-meets-reality-shock/

It is fast heading in the direction that the only option for Victorians is to demonstrate against the Government’s direction as it is not only ruining people’s lives now living in fear but also ruining the lives of young Victorians coerced into crime.

The first action is to sign our petition at: https://caainc.org.au/petitions/

Then contact your local member of Parliament and make your views heard.

NEW CRIME DATA REVEALS SHOCKING EXTENT OF VICTORIA’S YOUTH CRIME WAVE

NEW CRIME DATA REVEALS SHOCKING EXTENT OF VICTORIA’S YOUTH CRIME WAVE

An article appeared in the Herald Sun on the 20th of June under the above heading and exposed the real and present dangers that Victorians face.

Crimes involving children as young as 10 years old have soared to their highest level since 2010 as alarming new figures reveal the state’s growing youth crime wave.

Children aged 14 to 17 years old were “over-represented” in burglaries, assaults, robberies and car thefts while almost 400 youth gang members were arrested within the past 12 months.

Baby-faced offenders aged 10 or 11 years old also recorded a 52.6 per cent spike in the number of offences committed.

More than a third of young criminals aged between 10 and 17 years old are repeat offenders, with the number of recidivist offenders rising by 10.4 per cent.

Children aged 10 to 13 years old were responsible for 84 aggravated burglaries across the state.

Five years ago, they had only been involved in 18.

These alarming figures are from the Crimes Statistics Agency Victoria, and apart from the danger these figures indicate, we are exposed to the more problematic fact that the Government is working hard to fan the flames of the issue, not resolve it.

More importantly, the government holds overall responsibility and is protecting ineptitude in the various arms of governments responsible for managing youth crime.

These must be held to account as much as the government.

The Courts

Daily, yet another juvenile responsible for atrocious crimes is being granted bail.

And given the Bail Act, it makes us wonder just what the judiciary is at.

The recent Bail Amendment Act 2023 (the Act), which commenced on 25 March 2024, made further changes to the Bail Act 1977, seeking to ensure bail laws protect the whole community and better target the use of remand for cases where it is necessary to prevent an unacceptable risk to community safety.- https://www.criminalsolicitorsmelbourne.com.au/blog/victorian-bail-law-reform

The Act is clear and applies standard English interpretations to the understanding of the Act’s purpose as amended; how do the courts circumnavigate this legislation, not occasionally but regularly, without apparent intervention by the government?

If the Attorney General does not provide leadership, the Director of Public Prosecutions must appeal some of these Court decisions.

What’s the good of having a government that produces a law that the courts ignore, suggesting they are not interested in subservience to the legislation?

It is our opinion that we are reaping the folly of the Restorative Justice fantasy forced on us as a solution to crime, but it has been an abject failure – just look at the crime statistics.

Why would any sane, reasonable person countenance any principles of that failed social experiment defies logic? And it is even more astounding that the judiciary could be seduced by this rubbish.

The Police

The Police do not help the whole issue.

The first point is that they need to stop making excuses that support the mindset that they can arrest their way out of the problem.

It took two decades to convert the Victoria Police Force under two visionary Chief Commissioners, Miller and Glare, from one predominantly reactive (as they are today) to a predominantly proactive force, particularly with youth.

The results were that crime by juveniles was not the epidemic it now is, and overall, crime declined as fewer juvenile offenders grew into adult offenders rather than managing and encouraging the juveniles into crime.

It took only one Chief Commissioner to destroy the effective direction of the force and three consecutive Chiefs, predominantly with a background of exclusive reactive federal police experience, to ensure the proactive approach was kept from developing, even though many operational police know the value of the proactive approach but gained no support as the police priority remains reactive.

The current Chief Commissioner has attempted to push back against the trend with limited success, as the crime statistics illustrate.

There is a major problem when you have an Acting Deputy Commissioner of Regional Operations, Brett Curran, quoted as saying, “A small group of hardened” young criminals were now committing severe and violent crimes more often.” (spin)

The following line says, ‘nearly 400 youth gang members have been arrested in the past 12 months.’ (fact)

 Mr Curran also said, “Police arrested seven youth gang members, child thieves and car thieves every day during the past year.” (Spin)

That claim by Mr Curran equates to 2,555 youth gang member arrests, not nearly 400.

Indeed, some are arrested time and time again.  Why? Because the courts are failing in their duty to the citizens of this state.

So much for the claim of a small number.

Victims would undoubtedly be impressed by the Deputies’ analysis (and maths) as they try to put their lives back together after an experience with the “small group”.

We wonder whether the Deputy who spent a considerable time out of policing as Daniel Andrew’s Chief of Staff has lost perspective.

As a Police executive, he has to learn not to use political spin he knew in his last job. The community sees straight through it and expects better from their Police leadership.

 

Department of Justice Youth Workers

Very little is said about their role or lack of success in the youth space, so we generally can only rely on the data, and by that measure, they have failed demonstrably.

They are referred to often in legislative discussions and are provided with powers to do their job. Still, there is something obviously and categorically wrong with the function of that government component.

These Youth workers aim to empower –  young people in custody to steer their lives in a more positive direction when they return to the community”.

.- https://www.justice.vic.gov.au/youthjusticecareers

What a nonsensical function because the courts have demonstrated they are determined to have no juveniles of any age in custody. This supports the view that the courts wear this as a badge of honour and a demonstration that they are not subservient to the legislation. It is very dangerous and challenging to our democracy.

So, theoretically, those youth workers at the Department of Justice have little to do, as no juveniles are returning to the community; they never left.

 

Lifting the age of criminal responsibility

If a government were ever grossly tone-deaf, this issue is a classic. The age of criminal responsibility is planned to move from 10 to 14 years during a youth crime tsunami that the CAA warned was coming nine years ago. This has got to be the stupidest act any government has embarked upon in the crime space.

All this is based on is a feared notion that all children will end up in jail – which they don’t. Ideological nonsense is based on no empirical evidence.

This rubbish sways a government that wants to be taken seriously and is in denial of reality, a dangerous place for any government.

Moreover, children in this age bracket only ever get charged as distinct from being put in jail if they are not Doli Incapax, meaning incapable of forming criminal intent.

The question, therefore, is what to do with these miscreants, and that is a million-dollar question that all the “experts” advising the government on the bill have failed to resolve because no solution is offered.

The non-solution

The non-solution was reported as,

‘Police would still retain the power to intervene with younger offenders, including having the power to transport ten and 11-year-olds that find themselves in trouble with the law.’

The solution

The solution remains as elusive as it always has, and this legislation will not help, as it lacks a fundamental guiding principle for children and young people: accountability.

If children, or anybody, knows there are no consequences for criminal behaviour, then that’s what they will do, and they won’t change. Why would they if they enjoy it?

The problem is a lack of foresight and understanding of children and juveniles.

Children and Juveniles who play sports are less likely to commit offences, and the key is that sport has rules, and if the rules are disobeyed, there are consequences. That applies whether they are spectators or participants. Those youths who regularly attend school are also less likely to offend than those who don’t; again, rules with consequences.

Most people of all ages live within society’s rules; if they digress, there are consequences.

A significant contributor by a long measure to our present youth crisis is that for criminal behaviour, there are no consequences if you break the rules.

The issue of incarceration of children has been the primary driver for this reform, based on the emotive argument ‘you can’t put children in jail’, but the problem is being viewed from the wrong perspective.

The reform must encompass the principle of consequences, as all the other approaches are ineffective.

Rather than demonise the broad ‘jail’ concept, we should look at how it can positively affect young people.

We have long advocated that the justice system is too afraid to deal with the crisis of putting a child in jail, and often, that is not serving the interest of the juvenile or child.

One of the current flaws is that the judiciary views young offenders when considering penalties from an adult perspective.

Young people have a different perspective of time than adults, and a week or so in detention, where they gain privileges by compliance, will have a marked positive impact on them.

Young people respond exceptionally well to rules as they offer some solace and security; however, if they have never been taught discipline and breaking rules has consequences, it doesn’t work.

We are not talking about traditional views of jail but of securing the young person without privileges for weeks, not years. Their behaviour dictates the time they are in secure accommodation, not the judiciary. As much as the judiciary thinks they know how a child will respond, they don’t because they are not there with the child 24/7.

There are significant omissions in the proposed Youth Justice Bill currently before Parliament.

The most significant omission in the Bill

As much as the parents of these miscreants (if they have any) are criticised for lack of action, the Bill does nothing to elevate the role of the parents or guardians.

Yes, there are hopeless parents responsible for troubled children, but the vast majority try; many try but are judged poorly, and there is no provision to help upskill parents, and they have all but been omitted from this Bill. They have an essential role to play in reinforcing other initiatives.

Home detention

Supported by electronic monitoring, home detention should be the first option for any child convicted of an offence. Children do not understand ‘Orders’, and the other plethora of titles bandied about in the Courtroom.

Many need to understand that if they walk out after a court hearing unpenalized after a hearing, they haven’t necessarily beaten the charges, and their bragging rights within their cohort are worthless.

The new sophisticated Electronic Monitoring (EM) devices can fix a virtual perimeter for the child to live within, while providing for their education, sports and other essential family functions.

The EM device can alert a parent their child is leaving the house, breaching physical or social media curfew rather than finding they are gone the following day. Home detention means they cannot exercise their free will outside boundaries, and the EM gives the parents the tools they need to enforce it.

Use of their social media devices also needs to be controlled, and privileges gained by good behaviour and compliance to the rules, allowing more access.

The length of time that the child is in home detention should be based on the child’s or youth’s behavioural improvement.

Home detention is a very cost-effective way to manage miscreant children and divert them out of their criminal behavioural cycle.

Although we won’t hold our breath, maybe the enlightened members of parliament will see this legislation for what it is: a half-baked hotchpotch of ideological one-liners masquerading as legislation for the betterment of the State and its children.

There indeed are flaws in the current system, and they should be fixed rather than embarking on an untried excursion. Fix it; don’t replace it with thousands of pages of convoluted rubbish that will only hurt our most vulnerable children.

Inevitably, this legislation will leave vulnerable children at further risk, will do nothing to prevent more victims from being traumatised and will further impede effective policing.

An urgent community-based examination of a better way forward might lead to a real improvement in our juvenile justice system.

Simply raising the age of criminal culpability will have the effect of increasing crime as there are no barriers to young people offending.

AVOIDABLE DEATHS AND COUNTLESS INJURIES FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

AVOIDABLE DEATHS AND COUNTLESS INJURIES FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

As reported in the Age on the 18th of June ’24, New South Wales is leading Australia in meaningful action to reduce the burgeoning rate of death and assaults from Domestic Violence.

Premier Chris Minns, on the 14th of May, announced that Electronic Monitoring (EM), or ankle bracelets, will be introduced to perpetrators bailed.

Today, the 19th of June, West Australian Premier Roger Cook announced measures similar to those in NSW but much more comprehensive.

In the West, about 550 family and domestic violence perpetrators will be forced to wear ankle bracelets with the introduction of new laws to track and monitor high-risk perpetrators in the community.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/western-australia/one-aussie-state-will-force-dv-thugs-to-wear-ankle-bracelets-so-highrisk-offenders-can-be-monitored-in-the-community/news-story/d97915951872826bf60ef09e1a61d671

The Apple Isle Tasmania has been using these devices since 2018 to manage Domestic Violence perpetrators with a high degree of success.

And while Victoria drags its feet on yet another initiative that will save lives, Domestic Violence victims are needlessly dying, being injured or living in self-imposed purgatory to try to keep safe.

This paper shows how victims and their families can achieve dignity and self-worth free from danger.

Based on the current research, nearly 70% of perpetrators who kill their partners have one thing in common – they all had interaction with the legal system before they committed the murder.

That means the courts are a major contributor to the system’s failure.

Premier Minns has taken the first steps with mandatory EM Monitoring as a condition of Bail. Still, the court hearing may be months or years away, so the EM intervention must be immediately after the incident or when the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is served.

In one case, we are aware that the perpetrator has avoided court for five years by seeking adjournments, so in NSW, he would avoid EM, and the victim continues to live in fear for the life of her family and self.

More than three out of five of the killers (68 per cent) had a prior engagement with police, 65 per cent had “prior engagement in a legal setting”, and 65 per cent had previous convictions for a criminal offence. Thirty-four per cent had prior convictions for family violence.

Police must be given the power to apply EM.

Given the statistical data, police are unlikely to get the use of EM wrong, but if they do, the issue can be resolved at the perpetrator’s first bail/adjournment hearing.

Modern technology solutions have been available for some time. However, timid politicians are more concerned about offending their perceived electoral sensitivities rather than protecting victims; perhaps they see them as unavoidable collateral damage.

A proper dispassionate interpretation of what the research tells us is that the likelihood of death or serious injury to domestic victims can be dramatically cut by using EM.

The EM must also be part of the Police Family Violence Safety Notice (FVSN).

If the Police have the power and see the need to issue an FVSN, then they should be able to implement the use of EM as part of that notice to ensure compliance and protect the victim during the period of heightened risk.

It is noteworthy that the data available to courts is the same as that available to the Police at the scene, with police having the advantage of seeing the demeanour of the parties at a time of stress, making their judgement far more informed than when the parties appear in the emotionally neutral court.

Police using this power can have their decisions overturned by a court, as an FVSN is also, in effect, a summons, and that is the proper place to test the evidence of the need for the ongoing EM compliance device.

The advantage is that the courts will no longer need to make orders for EM; they will need only to evaluate the extension. There would need to be compelling evidence for a court to order the device removed, and the court would need to be well satisfied that the judgement of the police who attended the scene was grossly misguided.

To get an accurate snapshot of just how significant the problem of Domestic Incidents is, the Crime Statistics Agency has produced some potent figures at,

https://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au/crime-statistics/latest-victorian-crime-data/family-incidents-2

More victims will die, and many more will be traumatised and living in constant fear as the government fails and meekly continues to accumulate blood on its hands instead of taking decisive action.

The government must get its act together and implement EM for persons issued with an FVSN by the Police as a matter of urgency.

The infrastructure, resources and technical knowledge are already well-established in the private sector and would be able to respond in short order; police training in their role in the process is minimal as the service provider looks after all technical aspects, including responses to fitting, servicing or adjusting the devices in the field as well as monitoring the devices 24/7 advising police (according to a Police protocol), of any breaches to the conditions imposed on that device.

There are no excuses for not establishing this initiative and using the private sector as a government response to establish or expand the ability to deal with this. In the best, most optimistic scenario, it will take 4-5 years.

Time the victims don’t have.

CRACKDOWN ON CRIME – THE WET LETTUCE LEAF APPROACH

CRACKDOWN ON CRIME – THE WET LETTUCE LEAF APPROACH

The CAA at least supports and acknowledges that the Government is trying to address the Youth Crime issue, but their approach has intrigued us.

It is obvious that those advising the government are so far off the mark that they make these new government approaches to juvenile crime almost laughable.

Unbelievably, this legislation has taken five years to develop, and it ends up something as inane as this.

The proposed changes to the relevant laws will not have any meaningful impact because they are designed to appease, not provide a solution.

The major flaw is how the juveniles who are the perpetrators react because that is critical to the success or otherwise.

In general, there will be no reaction because they will ignore any changes even if they hear about them, and that is highly problematic. They will not alter their behaviour if they even hear about it, and much less understand what these changes mean. As unrealistic as it may seem, youths commit crimes believing they won’t get caught, so sabre rattling at Spring Street is about as useless as hip pockets in underwear.

Let’s take a realistic look at the proposed changes,

  • Recruiting children for crime.

Once a child has entered into crime, their mentors are to them demi-gods, and the last thing they would do is cooperate in bringing them down. The drug scene is renowned for the loyalty users have to their dealers, and users rarely dob them in. The closest authorities get is that the perpetrator’s best mate is probably their dealer, but proving it is nigh on impossible.

The 10-year penalty only applies if recruiters are caught; given the understanding of most offenders, this will have no deterrent effect.
Contrary to popular belief, the recruiters are not some giant ogre, but most probably, they are the same or similar age to the juvenile being recruited. The age disparity of the young means that twelve months could have a substantial impact on the aspirations of the younger juvenile.

  • Using intensive supervision orders.

Empowering the Courts to apply intensive supervision orders is also next to useless because the perpetrators will not modify their ways, as being issued with that order has several flaws.

The child will generally have no idea what it means, and in their minds, they have beaten the charges (bragging rights). That occurs every time a child appears before a Court for a crime and walks out the door afterwards; irrespective of the outcome of their hearing, they have beaten it, they are free.

If Youth justice workers were effective, we would not be in the crisis we now face, so having them play a part in this space will only exacerbate the issue, and the problem will continue to escalate. History shows that there are never enough youth workers to effectively monitor young offenders.

Consider how often juvenile offenders now breach bail – another court order.

  • Youth Justice workers gaining judicial powers.

According to the media report, the legislation allows youth justice workers to exercise judicial power by deciding if and when a child might need to be electronically monitored (an ankle bracelet).

There are several critical failures in this approach.

Allowing youth justice workers to exercise judicial discretion in this manner will guarantee that the EM will never be used, as it is contrary to the ethos of youth workers.

Most significantly, it allows unqualified (in the area of Law) persons to make decisions that alter the conditions of a court-imposed Bail, effectively overruling a court’s decision.

This undermines the Justice system, and the power must never be granted.

Inevitably, this power will be sought by all Youth workers simply by adding Justice to their title, as is already the case.

A cursory search reveals no less than six occasions where the term Justice is used in their title or job description, but they are not part of the Justice Department. The courts are the rightful place to adjudicate matters such as bail conditions, and the Courts must not be undermined.

This must be non-negotiable.

No matter how well they may be intentioned, it is simply not a Youth workers role.

  • EM Monitoring

It is highly probable that the Youth Justice workers would not be capable of effectively applying the necessary restrictions to enable the child to have reasonable freedom but sufficient to achieve compliance with their bail conditions.

It is not simply putting on an EM and monitoring it; many technical aspects of its operation are necessary to be effective, and that involves determining the conditions/locations that the child will observe. We note that their parents are not even worth mentioning, and irrespective of their parenting skills, this is very sad.

The system must have integrity and accountability for the opportunity for Natural Justice to be applied to any change in bail conditions imposed by a Court. The victims and the perpetrator (and, critically, the perpetrator’s parents) must be able to input into the monitoring parameters. The courts are the final arbitrators to determine the parameters and conditions of the use of EM, the opportunity to exist for decisions to be tested, and the final application to be capable of review.

It should not be up to the worker or, for example, the police as they are intimately involved, but in the child’s best interest, the decisions have to be made on the evidence by a dispassionate court.

The approach proposed is not in the best interest of the child.

  • Intensive supervision orders

The name implies something so open-ended that it can prove useless to influencing the average 10 to18-year-old hell-bent on the thrill of their criminal endeavours.

If they ignore the bail conditions they already have, then the ‘Intense’ order will also be ignored; to children, it is just a word.

Youth workers and police will spend all their time tracking down the miscreants and taking them before the court to be re-released. The impact of reducing crime will be nil.

If a child misbehaves and requires upgraded supervision, they must be controlled by electronic monitoring.

  • Transferring prisoners 18-21 to adult prisons.

This significant announcement is totally unnecessary and no more than political spin.

The adult Parole Board has, for a long time, had those powers.  https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/parole-process/youth-justice-transfers.

There may be a need for minor amendments to the CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES ACT 2005

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/cyafa2005252/

But the power already exists and properly is a matter for the Courts, not some bureaucratic whim.

  • Raising the age of criminal responsibility.

We have previously raised the stupidity of this move on many occasions as it will lead to more younger children being involved in crime, recruited at a younger and more impressionable age.

The idiots who proffer this notion that young children end up in jail have no contact with reality.

How often are juveniles jailed? Practically never.

We do not argue that children should be jailed; however, where the circumstances are required, a short term (weeks, not months) would be appropriate not only to protect the community but also to protect the children from themselves and achieve Court compliance.

Threats of jail are of no value unless the threats are followed through.

It was very recently that a child in this age category committed murder but was not prosecuted, as many children who commit serious crimes are not because the threshold of the child’s understanding to meet the level of intent required before a prosecution can proceed. The system generally was working fine, so why the need to fiddle with it, mainly as it will not reduce crime but exacerbate it.

The energy of those pushing this agenda should be redirected to something useful, like developing effective strategies to avoid children committing crimes in the first place. A novel idea.

  • Police Powers

Police would still retain the power, including having the power to transport 10 to and 11-year-olds who find themselves in trouble with the law.

The picture being painted is that this age group are too young to be prosecuted, so what do the police do with them when they are transported?

Take them out for a Maccas to reward their behaviour.

Somebody is telling porkies about juvenile crime rates, but the true picture is available at  https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/fresh-spike-in-youth-crime-latest-police-statistics-show/

“This would ensure the state’s youngest offenders aren’t given free rein to offend.” A statement attributed to a senior government source.

They can’t be serious or that naive, but they are. Heaven help us.

These changes took five years to develop, reflecting poorly on the government and its capabilities. In five years, and this is the best they can come up with? Heads must roll.

It will be up to the public in two years to decide the value of this strategy, and in our view, there will be no tangible improvement in the situation from this scheme, which might be reflected in the ballot box.

We are just going to have to grow many more lettuces.

THE ALARMING DECLINE IN PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN POLICE DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.

THE ALARMING DECLINE IN PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN POLICE DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.

“Just 58 per cent of those surveyed said they were ‘satisfied with policing services’, a massive fall from 73.1 per cent from the year before.”   – HS 6th June ’24.

As indicated by our chairman, former Chief Commissioner Kel Glare, the issues stem from the inconsistency and, in our view, a poor police response to COVID-19. Still, some solutions can be implemented if the organisation is serious about lifting the community’s confidence, which should be a given.

The Victoria Police response was,

“the drop in public confidence is due to the survey being carried out online.”

The community is not looking for excuses; they are looking for action.

Puerile, ‘the dog ate my homework’ type excuses exacerbate, not diminish, community feelings.  It’s time to step up and address the issues at hand.

Perhaps VicPol would be better off looking outside their management bubble to determine and implement solutions that may give the public confidence in their Force.

Here are a few suggestions,

  • Review the CAA 100.3 https://caainc.org.au/?s=Plan+100.3&doing_wp_cron=1717636142.282346010
  • Make policing at the community level the force priority over everything else,
  • Re-prioritise Proactive policing as the force’s main activity.
  • Undertake an extensive review of upgrading and modernising policies to be fit for purpose.
  • Review urgently upgrading policies. A senior officer sneezes, and the repercussions are felt at the coal face as the upgrading practices push up members to fill the gap. Creating specialist relieving positions at all levels is cheaper and more efficient.
  • Create a Force Reserve following the Military model. Releasing hundreds of members for general operational duties.
  • Introduce KPIs for all ranks above Constable, which are reviewed monthly and compared against actual performance. Failure to adjust should instigate sanctions. Hard-working Police should not have to carry poor performers.
  • Review all apparent Service Delivery initiatives to identify those that are Service Efficiency, not Service Delivery, and when the two collide, Service Delivery must prevail.
  • Review the number of Executive positions as cost savings in that area can be reallocated to the frontline. Many have been created without a business case to justify the position.
  • Reintroduce the intermediate officer ranks to provide more significant operational support, freeing up inspectors to actively provide leadership in the field. This can be done at little to no cost by not increasing the Officer ranks numerically but by realigning existing Officers.
  • Review recruiting processes to avoid applicants waiting excessively for results and call-ups. At a time when numbers are down, creative measures are required to train more recruits, and if that means introducing shift work during training, so be it; trainees need to adjust to shift work immediately after they graduate anyway.
  • Take a Force stance on the introduction of Electronic Monitoring of perpetrators to reduce police demand and achieve greater compliance, particularly in the area of Domestic Violence and Juvenile recidivist management.
  • Ensure that the 50,000-eye road watch is implemented as an urgent initiative to reduce road tolls. https://caainc.org.au/50,000-eyes-road-watch/.
  • Ring fence the Highway patrol so they can concentrate on the Road toll and not be purloined for other extraneous police duties.
  • Take a leadership role in public issues like drugs and other community issues. This is not to encourage the Force bleating on these issues from one political side or the other of any public discourse but rather purely on the facts and the practicalities police face.
  • Police should take a strong victim-centric stand and support the implementation of reparation as a Force policy.
  • Additionally, the Force should also adopt a policy of not supporting plea bargains in all prosecutions undertaken by the Force. A criminal charged with an offence should not be something that can be traded away for convenience. The guilt or innocence of that particular matter can only be determined by the Court.
  • Ensure the Force responds to all groups potentially intent on disrupting public order in an even-handed way. https://caainc.org.au/police-pride-march-a-valuable-lesson/
  • Urgently review the uniform dress code, ensuring members wearing mufti hybrid with police paraphernalia revert to the uniform. If the uniform is not fit for purpose, modify the uniform. Emulating American Special Forces is churlish and dangerous. If there are legitimate reasons for plain clothes, all weapons, etc, must not be visible to the general public. permission should only be given on a case-by-case basis. When Special duties and the like, move around in uniform rather than mufti, they increase the visible Police presence an imperative to build community confidence.

Victoria Police is an independent entity and must be free from the ideological pressure of the politicians of the day. It can and should provide leadership on social issues based on the facts.

Moving the Force priority to the frontline uniformed specialist general Police locally, impacteing their resourcesas an absolute last resort will go a long way to improving public confidence in Police. If additional police are required for specific events, the resources must be drawn from non-operational areas.

That a swathe of non-operational Police are taken from their tasks for a day will have little long-term impact, but removing operational vehicles from their patrols can devastate service delivery to the community, which should be the priority.

The Chief Commissioner once said words to the effect that recruits break their neck to get into uniform and, after four years, apply the same rigour to get out of it.

Our response is that force management has to apply itself to creating creative initiatives to stop this phenomenon, as these factors bleed the frontline from experience and expertise where they are most needed. These members are the Force’s leading and most important resource.

Above all else, the community wants you to be there, even when they don’t need you, as the reassurance is invaluable and coincidentally helps prevent crime and disorder.

Deal with the issues before they manifest rather than picking up the pieces later.

YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS PREMIER

YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS PREMIER

In a much-heralded announcement of a swath of new hardline measures to combat domestic violence, the Premier ruled out absolutely the one initiative that can and will make a real difference today, not tomorrow or perhaps next year, but now when the ever-present danger exists for many victims of Domestic Violence.

It seems like the government is tone-deaf to the plight of these victims and is agnostic to their peril.

It is also clear that a very extensive evaluation of Project Vigilance (PV) conducted in Tasmania would seem not to have been considered or understood.

https://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1551782/Evaluation-of-Project-Vigilance-Electronic-Monitoring-of-Family-Violence-Offenders-Final-Report-July-2021.pdf.

Premier, domestic violence victims are dying while you dither.

You may like to revisit what you said at the launch,

“When women are still dying at the hands of men — we must do more”.

And you have done more. If taking the wet lettuce leaf approach is more, then you have definitely done that.

However, given the reports in the media, you are not being helped by your Attorney General.

Jaclyn Symes has ruled out ankle bracelets or electronic monitoring as even a consideration to stop the carnage, and from her contribution, it was clear that she has been poorly advised, is reported as saying,

“The government had considered doing so but received advice not to proceed because the “disadvantages outweigh the advantages”.

A statement made without detailing what the advantages/disadvantages were, and then another gem the AG provided was,

 “Ankle brackets can often provide a false sense of security for victims”.

“We do not want women relying on a piece of technology that has been demonstrated is not fit for purpose for these situations,”

If relying on technology avoids one more death, then it gets our vote. The research conducted in Tasmania debunks this ill-informed notion with evidence from victims. See the full report and access above.

Even if the Government does not share our view, the vast majority of the community will when they are informed of what this technology can do. And notably the cost savings made to the disbursement of their taxes.

There is also no reason the user pays principle cannot be applied subject to means testing to defray some of the costs in hardship circumstances.

Currently, in NSW, criminals seeking bail can pay a private contractor to provide an electronic monitoring option instead of being remanded in custody as another bail option.

The private contractor approved by the court operates a control room to monitor the criminal’s movements, taking into account restrictions put in place by the court, and any deviation is reported immediately to the Police.

Over 300 perpetrators have taken advantage of this alternative, and no problems have been reported.

There would be no apparent reason not to use this same system for Domestic Violence or, for that matter, recidivist juvenile offenders.

For Domestic Violence supervision, Electronic Management (EM) is a very effective and cost-effective way to save lives.

Anybody who has been served with a Family Violence Intervention Order (AVO) and chooses to breach that order in any manner must be required to be EM monitored.

In those circumstances, there are two EM devices.

The perpetrator wears a non-removable ankle monitor, which can be pre-programmed with exclusion zones such as the victim’s home address, work or even children’s school. Any attempt at entering these zones (which can be set to any radius) will trigger an automatic violation, and police will be notified.

The second device is for the victim and is as unintrusive as a small mobile phone or fob device.

The device becomes a protective geo-zone around the victim as they move around freely. The monitoring system monitors both the victim’s and perpetrator’s devices to ensure they do not come into close contact, allowing the victim complete freedom while retaining security.

The bonus is the peace of mind that the Victim is not continually looking over their shoulder once they step outside their home due to the virtual electronic fence protecting them.

If the perpetrator does appear to be breaching the exclusion zones and confronting the victim, the electronic monitoring devices provide crucial intervention time. The monitoring centre can call the victim and advise them to immediately enact their safe plan (whether going to the local police station or finding safety in a shop) whilst police are dispatched and apprehend the perpetrator.

Through the two-way communication device, the victim would be alerted should they venture into an area where the perpetrator lawfully is, avoiding unintended contact. An obvious example would be where the Perpetrator may be lawfully in a large shopping complex that the victim has also intended to visit.

When the victim arrives, they can be warned that the perpetrator is in the centre or has arrived, and the victim can take the necessary steps to avoid confrontation.

Looking more broadly, these devices, generally restricted to the parole period of a perpetrator’s sentence, could be applied to the other end, ensuring the suspects charged appear in Court, or, more importantly, cease criminal activities during the bail period. Moreover, more technically advanced EM devices can record and monitor conversations, a terrific disincentive for those wearing one to commit further offences.

Albeit highly effective and financially desirable, the EM devices could be used as part of a sentencing regime at a fraction of the cost of the current options, countering the undesirable side effects of incarceration.

The evaluation by ‘Project Vigilance’ also addressed the costs and found the electronic alternative very cost-efficient.

For example, monitoring offenders electronically equates to roughly $47 per day, whereas incarceration costs were calculated by Morgan (2018) as nine times the cost of community corrections at circa $427.  That or a similar equation applies to a domestic violence perpetrator who breaches an AVO.

This cost disparity is even more significant when the savings made by policing and other agencies, including the Courts, are factored in.

This can be further mitigated when a user-pays interface is imposed, subject to a financial hardship assessment of their ability to pay.

A system where the most anybody can pay is 15% of their gross income every week.

Although there may be a need to change legislation, the physical implementation of the system is a matter of weeks, not years, as the private sector has already established protocols and the backend infrastructure and processes, including 24/7 control rooms and mobile service resources to maintain the equipment.

For the Government to start from scratch and build a network facility, apart from the physical accommodation infrastructure, technical expertise does not exist within current Government resources.

The action by Government is very urgent, everyday lost is potentially another life lost and the last thing that the community and the potential victims want is another inquiry or pilot or some other such construct to delay, all that work has been done.

There is a huge risk by ignoring what the work that has been done or trawling over the same ground, the committee or whatever title they have will end up designing a camel when they were supposed to design a horse. And while they are doing that more victims will die.

It is improbable that the necessary electronics expertise exists within the government, and considering a hybrid option is fraught with difficulty and likely to ensure the system doesn’t work or falls well short of optimum effectiveness.

It is, therefore, essential that the Government must look to the private sector.

The Government must act now.

NEW CRIME DATA REVEALS SHOCKING EXTENT OF VICTORIA’S YOUTH CRIME WAVE

WOKE JOKE MEETS REALITY SHOCK

Pic. courtesy Herald Sun

Victoria Police have been roundly and grossly unfairly criticised, as reported by ABC today, after a confidential briefing on Youth Gangs to the Justice Department policymakers in May of 2023, which the woke attendees attacked.

But this report based on FIO submissions says more about the ineptitude and professional incompetence of the woke complainers than an error of judgment by the Police.

Their primary beef was it was too graphic, showing real situations. Although all attendees were pre-warned that the content was graphic, many of the attendees did not like information that was not sugar-coated for their sensitivities.

See –

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-27/victoria-police-youth-crime-presentation-labelled-racist/103877374

The story relates to an attempt by VicPol to give ‘alleged’ professionals involved in the youth space a better understanding and insight into the problem they are dealing with. Decisions made in ignorance are never good.

This seminar was organised at the behest of Justice Department Juvenile Division members. It was attended by ‘dozens of staff’ from the Department and some from the Premier’s Department. Other stakeholders were also invited.

The conference lasted two and a half hours and featured actual CCTV footage of incidents involving youth gangs.

All invitees were informed by email the day before that the presentation would contain very graphic material that may be unpleasant to some. The email unambiguously read,

“graphic footage that some attendees may find confronting, and people might want to “excuse themselves” if they found it distressing.”.

The numerous complaints had one theme: denouncing their exposure to reality.

Among the complaints published by the ABC were,

  • Multiple staff said the warning was insufficient for what was shown,
  • One staff member said to put it “bluntly”, police “should have said ‘we are about to show you someone getting stabbed to death’.”
  • “Very graphic and violent footage” from a “range of serious violent incidents including stabbings and still images involving young people and adults allegedly involved both as victims and perpetrators”.
  • “Unclear purpose of showing [this] video is.”
  • While several people acknowledged the “traumatic experiences” officers faced and the need for policymakers to “understand the practical and operational realities” of frontline police work, they didn’t think the presentation helped achieve this. (Policy makers preferring to stay in ignorant bliss)
  • One person commented they were “disturbed” by “the casual way the violent imagery was discussed”, and another said the commentary was “upsetting … flippant, and racist in several points.”
  • “I question why the image of this person’s face was kept in the presentation.”
  • One staff member’s notes of the presentation said, “‘n-word’… completely gratuitous”, and the photos were “all POC [people of colour], no blurred faces”, including one of a “bloody wound to face” and one of someone “in a pool of blood.

Fancy the very people responsible for Youth Justice are grumpy because they have to confront what they are supposed to be doing as their day job: rein in Youth crime.

The next step is to arrange for these same people to be confronted by the victims of their failures. They can then explain to them why the offences happened.

This response from the people responsible for much of the failure of Youth Crime strategies demonstrates that most of them were at the conference to evaluate its wokeness rather than address the issues they were confronted with and employed to address. And their complaints to dehumanise the perpetrators by blocking their faces is puerile.

An advantage of taking the feigned or otherwise shock and horror and, heaven forbid, having to listen to emails read out sent by Gang members that contained the n-word, most probably by a coloured Gang member, is that they can absolve themselves from responsibility and remain in ignorant denial of reality.

This strategy of using the ‘woke outrage’ more and more to deflect the issue is to avoid having to respond or justify their performance. Create the diversion from their responsibility and prove how good they are by highlighting woke breaches.

This exposé has uncovered how out of touch the people responsible for youth policy are and why many of them must now reconsider their career options because it is evident by their admission that they are not competent to be employed in the field of Youth policy.

If they don’t voluntarily move, the administration must remove them for their own good. If action of that sort is not taken, it exposes the State to litigation from attendees who develop some disorder.

One of the most egregious alleged failings of VicPol was to refer to a 13-year-old as an offender for life. That outrage exposes the depth of incompetence these bureaucrats have.

A 13-year-old criminal is inevitably an offender for life unless held to account for their actions. That will be the inevitable outcome caused by the policy to lift the age of criminal responsibility, where there will be no sanctions or other intervention, albeit they knew full well their actions were criminal.

This outrage is more about the attendees being challenged about bad policy to lift the age of criminal responsibility.

We are outraged that while the policymakers want to lift the age of criminal responsibility, they have put forward no strategies or policy on what to do with violent underage perpetrators, a danger to the community and themselves.

Just letting them free to run amok again, as this policy dictates, is a disastrous outcome for the community and the child.

It would be interesting to see if these policymakers will ever be held to account for their failed policy; probably not, which is why they devise outrageous policies.

Instead of the policymakers trying to out ‘woke’ each other, how about they focus on the job at hand and find out more about what happens on the front line of Policing?

When they have done that, their policy machinations may be considered authentic.

It would be very interesting to know what these bureaucrats working in the government bubble have achieved that led to a reduction in youth crime and how many of them were required to achieve that outcome.

As to their bleating, this was not a public event, and the niceties dished out by the media do not apply—this was a reality and a professional life check.

The most disparaging aspect was that Deputy Commissioner Patterson apologised, and he should not have.

VicPol had nothing to apologise about; they did their job in the best interests of juvenile miscreants and the community.

They could have been rightly criticised if they attempted to sugarcoat the briefing.

BEING EMPTY A SOBERING REALITY

BEING EMPTY A SOBERING REALITY

Herald Sun 24/5/2024 The Collingwood Drunk Tank is still a mess, but this time how it operates.

In the Herald Sun on 24th of May 2024, the reality of Melbourne’s sobering up centres has been exposed for the nonsensical dream created by some faceless government official who, although they may have experienced drunkenness personally, has never had to deal with drunks day in and day out.

It is a pity that the architect/s have not had to confront drunkenness on the streets. the Police is as stupid as the idea that drunks are only taken to the sobering facilities if they agree.

There is probably some relief for police that they don’t have to deal with obnoxious drunks. But it goes against their grain, or duty of care, just to leave them, as the police know the risks that exposes the drunks to.

When we initially heard that the drunks had to consent to be taken to a Sobering facility, we thought this was some joke as we all know drunks are, in their minds, all sober or only slightly affected. The statistics bear this out, with an average of only two people using the facilities in Melbourne per day at an unbelievable cost of $12K per drunk. But outreach workers have assisted 5625 drunks.

It is a classic of fixing a problem that barely exists.

That is hugely embarrassing for the Government because this project only deals with people who are not too drunk.  How the degree of drunkenness is determined is a mystery, and then ambulances are called for those drunks, in part defeating the purposes of the facility, loading the issue back onto emergency services and overcrowded Hospital ER services.

If they are too drunk, what is the sobering facility’s purpose – only for nice, clean drunks?

Like the Injecting Room, that also won’t let anybody in if they are too drug-affected or drunk.

The behaviour of these facilities reeks of discrimination where personal factors determine whether the service is provided, unlike emergency Services, which do not have the luxury to discriminate.

The obvious solution is to scrap the centres and leave the welfare of drunks to outreach workers, saving millions and providing a better outcome for drunks.

The facilities can be repurposed so that people affected by drugs can be housed for a period so professionals can address their health and addiction.

A hiatus in their addiction will go a long way to diverting many away from drug dependence. See https://caainc.org.au/sometimes-there-is-just-a-better-way

The whole issue of the drunks must be rethought, with the test being the drunk’s mental acuity and physical shape, not some other nebulous discriminatory concept.

This must be a priority and not include the architects who dreamt up the absurd program we have been lumbered with.

Given the State’s financial crisis, the money allocated could be diverted to more pressing issues, like our state debt.

BULLYING SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTOR TO ABSENTEEISM

BULLYING SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTOR TO ABSENTEEISM

If we want to save our children, we must learn quickly, and Victoria’s Police must prioritise proactive measures to reduce crime.

In an environment where police resources are stretched, it will take strident and clever management to achieve the balance between detecting crime and stopping it in the first place; the latter is the only way to effectively reduce crime in the long term.

The Chief Commissioner’s greatest challenge is achieving effective balance and allowing VicPol to walk and chew gum at the same time.

A recent article in the Herald Sun, BULLYING REVEALED AS TOP REASON KIDS ARE SKIPPING SCHOOL by Susie O’Brien (13th May 2024), raises an argument based on empirical evidence produced by Monash University that supports the hypothesis of the CAA article ‘YOUTH CRISIS SOLUTION’, which sets out what must be done if we want to address the problem.

In other words, bullying is a significant contributor to absenteeism from schools.

Identifying truancy and its primary cause explains, in part, why we have a severe decline in academic levels. This correlates directly to the lack of discipline in schools and contributes substantially to community antisocial and criminal activity. Most crime at this level is relatively minor; however, it is the precursor for a child to live a life of crime.

We cannot expect teachers to solve this problem alone. After years of entrenched poor discipline, the reality is that some students and parents will oppose the new paradigm of discipline. This puts educators in a precarious, perhaps, dangerous position, so their role in achieving and maintaining school discipline must be supported.

As part of the Police Force charter, it must prevent crime. Using police to augment the role of Teachers is a practical and essential method of reducing discipline breaches and antisocial behaviour. Protecting students and staff from aggression is a vital police responsibility that cannot be abrogated.

The Teacher’s authority ends at the school gate, but the problems generally extend well beyond that; therefore, the solution is to use integrated Police specifically trained to deal with these matters.

Nearly half of all Victorian students are regularly truant.

‘High school students are now missing a month a year on average, adding up to more than a full year of lost classes throughout 13 years of schooling.’ -Herald Sun Suzie O’Brien

And the impact on our children is also recognised internationally.

‘Australia’s bullying rate is three times the international average and has been highlighted as a “major issue of concern” by the OECD’. -Herald Sun Suzie O’Brien

The figures, when broken down, are alarming.

‘Overall, just 62 percent of Victorian students from years one to ten are meeting attendance benchmarks, compared to 79 percent in 2015 – a 17 percent drop.

This means 340,000 students out of 895,000 are regularly missing school.

Students in year nine are the most disengaged, with only 50 percent going to school 90 percent of the time or more.

This compares to 70 per cent of students in 2015, the first year the Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority collated the figures.-Herald Sun Suzie O’Brien

It is worrying that 340,00 students regularly miss school, raising an important question of what do these children do when not at school.

Most of them will not be diligently working at their academic furtherance, but too many contribute to the crime rate or develop social skills that will manifest as life outside the law and community norms.

‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and idle lips (or minds using social media) are his mouthpiece’.

Although we acknowledge the importance of this article in highlighting this problem, the Police themselves recognised these issues many years ago. However, supposedly enlightened Police Commissioners decided that the strategy and effort were not warranted, and even in light of empirical data that the initiative worked, they cancelled the essential programs.

Police In Schools – a curriculum-based (as opposed to recent iterations) program that could be measured and was found to be effective by Monash University.

New Start  –         is an innovative program that connects police and teachers to ensure children attend school.

Blue Light       –    Although Blue Light has survived, it is a shadow of its former self, due directly to efforts by VicPol to close it down. Incentives for police to give up their own time to operate the discos were removed, as was any other support for this program.

We acknowledge the difficulty the Police administration has in diverting Police from reactive roles to the cause of proactive ones, where the problems are avoided before they manifest. Rather than police picking up the pieces of shattered lives of victims caused partly by this problem faced by management.

This conundrum boils down to leadership and the strength of that leadership to make the necessary adjustments to deal with the long-term effects caused by the failure to address these problems at the core. Unfortunately, they must look past the quick-fix arrest solution because we all know that for most social issues, Police cannot arrest their way to solving the problem.

History will always examine an organisation’s performance in light of its leader’s effectiveness, which is no different for policing.

We can only hope that the current Chief Commissioner will leave a legacy not of sameness and incompetence, as some of his recent predecessors displayed, but one of authentic leadership by holistically handling the issue of Policing and putting in place measurable proactive initiatives that make a difference, addressing the issues before problems arise.

It is argued that:

‘We cannot afford the police resources to do it, but we cannot afford the consequences of not acting proactively’.

VicPol has the ability to walk and chew gum.

TOBACCO WARS – WHO IS TO BLAME

TOBACCO WARS – WHO IS TO BLAME

Pic Herald Sun

No matter how much they duck and weave and ignore the problem, there is only one entity to blame for the Tobacco Wars: the Government.

The tobacco black market has grown due to the increase in excise and other taxes on tobacco products, taking the price of a pack of cigarettes from $10 for the popular Winfield Blues in 2005 to around $47 a packet and $469 per carton by 2023.

A carton of cigarettes will last most smokers a bit over a week if they are lucky.

And with the annual excise locked in at 12% per annum, a carton of cigarettes will be over $500 per carton in 2024.

Smoking may be socially unacceptable, and a smoking environment is not too pleasant for non-smokers. Still, it is not criminal, and in these economic times, smokers are forced to access their smokes on the black market for purely financial reasons exacerbated by the current cost of living.

This strategy by the Government to tax people out of using tobacco has forced otherwise law-abiding citizens into fringe criminality, and who knows once the smokers become entwined in the criminal sphere what that will lead to.

Whatever that is, you can guarantee the criminals will exploit it.

Domination of this market will reap billions of dollars for the criminal gangs. Therefore, the motivation to control the market is enormous, hence the firebombings.

Black market cigarettes sell for around $20 per pack and are illegally imported into Australia by the container load.

The profit on just one container load is about $13 million.

The Herald Sun set out the case that describes this illicit trade from an unidentified source on April 3, 2024.

Tobacco industry analysis puts the ultimate retail value of a 40-foot container of smoke products at between $7m and $13m, more than double the worth of eight years ago.

The same load of contraband can be bought overseas for about $250,000, meaning there is potential for a 50-fold return on investment.

This has generated fierce competition for a lucrative market with other advantages for the tobacco racketeers.

Disposal of the product is far easier than for big shipments of narcotics like cocaine and methylamphetamine, where buyers are at risk of long prison terms.

“It’s always easier to get people to buy tobacco,” the source said.

Given these figures, is there any wonder that organised crime would move in on this lucrative cash cow?

And the cow that gives keeps on giving, as the subsequent rise annually in excise is set at 12%, pushing the retail value of an illegal container load to $14.5 Million and a pack of cigarettes close to $80, driving more smokers to the black market.

The extraordinary profits from this illegal trade have driven organised gangs to try to dominate this lucrative market. When they do, and without competition, they will push the price of the illicit products.

Given smokers are now prepared to pay $70-$80 per packet for legal cigarettes, the illicit cost, without competition, will also rise so the black-market smokes could reach $50-$60 per packet, raising the profits for the criminal gangs to numbers with a ‘B’ in front, the equivalent of the National debt.

The government has already had to adjust the Budget figures to reflect the reality of the loss of projected excise, but it seems caught in the ‘headlights’ of what to do about it.

The answer is pretty simple: it is in the numbers.

The massive cost of attempting to stop the importation at the border and the vast cost of policing the fallout of lawlessness and the growth of criminal gangs could be slashed tomorrow if the excise was removed without fanfare and pre-warning to the criminals.

The efforts to stop this issue at the border have failed, and simply increasing the resources there would be a ‘fool’s folly.’ A reinvigorated ‘Quit’ campaign could be aimed at the ‘Black Market’ that will ultimately lead to higher tax revenues once the hiatus designed to destroy the illegal trade, is completed.

An inquiry that may take a year or more could recommend a sustainable tax regime without restarting the illicit trade. This would encourage smokers to return to lawful retailers and give the government the financial boost they crave from taxation.

Catching criminals with vast stocks of illicit products would be somewhat prophetic, as it would hit them where they feel the most pain: in their hip pocket.

They will be forced to lower their prices to a degree where it is uneconomical to continue to import illegal tobacco products.

If the wars continue unabated and given the ethos (greed) of criminal gangs, the problem will escalate, and then the chances of somebody being killed would nearly be inevitable.

YOUTH CRISIS – A SOLUTION

YOUTH CRISIS – A SOLUTION

There are conga lines of so-called experts who rabidly try to bend ideology to point out what is wrong and who is to blame for the youth crisis. With few exceptions, they fail to put forward a solution. However, there is one guarantee: They believe it is not their fault, and the pants-shiners will continue to pontificate rubbish until authentic leadership evolves.

The CAA has long identified the problem as failing to engage with young people in a systematic and targeted way that can be measured. Failing to understand the young people’s perceptions of time, inconsistent messages, and threats of sanctions for bad behaviour that are never carried out exacerbate the problem.

Making excuses for criminal behaviour by children is the greatest crime inflicted on our children and is predominately the primary reason for the crime upsurge.

Although necessary, focusing on recidivist offenders is purely reactive and has the reverse effect on crime rates. Successful arrests have not dented the crime stats but perpetuated their escalation.

The most challenging function of policing is proactive policing; if we want to see meaningful crime reduction, proactive policing is the only practical option to guide a child from exploring criminality and, subsequently, drugs.

Criminality is a learnt behaviour, so the obverse can also be taught.’

As the CAA’s policy focuses on solutions rather than carping about the problem, we propose developing a holistic, coordinated approach to deal with it.

Our proposal will not be any ‘silver bullet’ approach, which is doomed to failure as the focus will inevitably target one sector, and any success in that sector is quickly voided because it fails to address the feeder cohort of miscreants.

Targeting all resources at the most visible recidivist offenders to curb their behaviour will continue to be a massive mistake as young people grow to fill the anti-social void created by any success against the recidivists.

There is no better example than the illicit drug trade, where locking up a dealer or intercepting drugs en route makes little difference as there is a line of hopefuls ready to fill the void. At the same time, we acknowledge that the Drug issue is, in part, a Health issue, but not exclusively, another mistake. Whether it is the health or the criminal sphere, action must be focused on the pre-addiction or recidivist stage; tackling the issue before it becomes a problem for the child and the community is the only hope for a solution; there are no other options.

Police cannot arrest their way out of the drug problem, no more than they can the juvenile one, as demonstrated over recent years as the problems grow.

The concept and value of proactive policing were identified and successfully implemented thirty-five years ago. It successfully reduced crime markedly and was discarded in 2006 by the then-Chief Commissioner, who did not understand the concept. Successive Chief Commissioners did not revive it, who saw arrests as the only solution. They continued the failed strategies of the time, even in the face of empirical evidence of the proactive programs’ effectiveness.

THE CAA PLAN

We plan to have a simple, multifaceted, coordinated approach in which young people are guided from pre-school to completion of their education, making them less likely to engage in criminal activity and, paradoxically, drugs.

The role of parents is critical; everybody blames them, but we need to engage them.

We believe it is essential that parents are at least armed with parenting skills rather than taking the current approach of ‘winging it’ and praying they have the skills to be effective.

Fortunately, the majority of parents get it right.

THE CODE

From day one of pre-school through the whole education process, every educational facility must establish a code of conduct that sets the required standards of behaviour that are then taught and enforced.

If parents have an issue with the code, then they can take their child to an alternate education facility with a code that is more to their liking.

Teachers must be empowered to deal with breaches without retribution from the Education Authorities or parents.  The Code will minimise this.

The penalties for breaches of the code must be flexible enough to cover whatever situation arises.  Being barred from the playground for a period or after-school detention could be examples of the consequences we envisage.  Other measures may be appropriate according to individual circumstances.

Parents and guardians must be informed that this code of conduct will be enforced.

PART 1 PRE-SCHOOL – parental training and exposing children to compliance/authority.

It has been claimed that the path to drug addiction starts by the time a child is six, which coincides with the child starting at primary school.

That logic would also equally apply to any antisocial behaviour and start to impact what will eventually be a failed education, a recognised driver of antisocial and criminal behaviour in a child.

Pre-school is the ideal time to start the project by educating the parents on child behavioural issues.

The role of parents is essential throughout this plan, including compulsory attendance at parent education sessions for preschooler parents delivered by a child behavioural psychologist.

It is critical to support preschool teachers with behavioural support for children and parents whom teachers identify as needing specialist support. As educators’ authority stops at the school gate, specialist Police must become involved, as the problem is most likely at home, not at school.

Police must become a part of the child’s school experience to support the development of the child’s behaviour. Building familiarity between the preschoolers and a police member is the building block for children to understand authority and reinforce the right and wrong concepts.

Establishing respect without coercion, promises, or threats is the key.

Central to the police role is the continuity of association with the children. The children learn that while the police are responsible for maintaining law and order, they are also people with whom a personal relationship can be developed.

Apart from the benefits to the child, having a good experience with the police role model, if reinforced, influences their behaviour in a positive way for a lifetime.

Spasmodic Police interaction during this time will not achieve the goals set; Police involvement must be consistent, predictable, and planned for the child. Simply taking a Police car to a school to impress the students is an absolute failure.

PART 2: PRIMARY EDUCATION -Following the preschool strategy, the Primary strategy introduces a scaled approach over that learning journey.

By the time a child moves to secondary school, they will have developed advanced social skills, an understanding of their responsibilities and the benefits of not breaking the law, and self-discipline skills to help them. Guiding children through this process is critical.

Additionally, parents who are given an understanding of dealing with prepubescent children are also better equipped to guide their children through this critical next stage of their lives.

Again, Police play a critical role in Primary schools, starting with relationship building with the younger children and direct involvement in the school community as a vital resource for the school and the school community.

The Police’s role in preventing crime through their presence cannot be overstated. Making schools a safe place where learning is nurtured is vital.

The Police role starts as an extension of the preschool strategy. Progressing through the preparatory stage, the police assist with school discipline, protect teachers, staff and students, and help develop a safe learning environment, which is critical to the effectiveness of any learning experience.

Improved academic achievements in a safe environment develop children’s confidence, which is essential for avoiding a life of crime.

It is in the later stage of the Primary years that the children’s mentor should introduce the drug issue, helping to prepare them to deal with exposure to drugs at the secondary level.

It’s a bit crazy waiting for them to face the drug issue ill-prepared without adequate skills; then successful resistance is less likely.

PART 3 SECONDARY EDUCATION—The introduction of Super Schools was seen as an opportunity to improve the education of young people, but putting 2-3 thousand children in one place has created a series of critical unintended consequences.

There have been incidents of bullying, intimidation, assaults on teachers and other violent behaviour. This creates an environment where students are exposed more easily to crime and illicit drugs. Drug dealers can hide in plain sight in the crowd. Teachers are more vulnerable to violence from students and parents, both within the school environment and within the community.

If you believe that drug dealers aren’t waiting for every influx of new children at a secondary school to ply their wares, you are naive. The dealer who will probably coerce your child into the drug scene is perhaps wearing a school uniform.

‘It would not be unreasonable to conclude that Australia’s significant downturn in academic achievement in world rankings can be attributed to the breakdown of school discipline.’

The impact of Super Schools directly impacts all their students’ capacity to learn, and students’ learning failures increase their propensity to be attracted to criminal behaviour and illicit drugs.

For this reason and others, a Police presence must be developed for each school.

Embedding Police at every secondary school will be a resource nightmare for VicPol, but it is the type of activity that will most positively impact the booming crime rate.

The police’s essential functions would be to,

  • Ensure pupils go to school.( investigate truancy)
  • Liaise with the courts and others to ensure any sanctions imposed on pupil miscreants have as little impact on their education as possible.
  • Provide early intervention avenues for children displaying anti-social traits.
  • Protect teachers and other staff.
  • Protect children in the school environment from exposure to illicit drugs. Schools are fertile ground for drug syndicates to recruit users, couriers, and dealers.
  • Investigate crimes committed against teachers, other staff, or students and deploy proactive strategies to protect them.
  • Assist support services by mentoring the child to comply with specialist advice.

Police involved must retain their operational qualifications so that in case of an emergency, they can be withdrawn from the program in a declared emergency for operational deployment.

Drawing on the principles of the previously discontinued Police school program, because it worked, police in the school’s program must deliver a package with a core structure of ten themes, namely:

  • the role of police in society;
  • the legal system;
  • rights, rules and responsibilities;
  • consequences of our actions;
  • keeping ourselves and others safe;
  • drug and alcohol education;
  • personal development;
  • anti-bullying strategies;
  • domestic violence avoidance;
  • road safety.

These ten themes would closely interlink with the school curriculum, thus enhancing the program’s relevance to the school community and the learning of the young people concerned.

The training of specialist police for this program is not insignificant and needs to be tailored for each sector. It is not simply a matter of plonking a Police member in a school and assuming that will work; whilst anything is better than nothing, the current practice of spasmodic untrained police visiting schools from time to time has not produced any positive impact on the juvenile crime rate that we are aware of.

The CAA has advocated elsewhere the importance of developing a Police Reserve for retired members, which may augment the demand of operational members for these tasks, particularly at the lower levels.

While there is no doubt that threatening and assaulting teachers is unacceptable behaviour, having the potential of all students in a school or class compromised, adversely impacting their education, is unconscionable.

After all, this behaviour is not just kids misbehaving; it is criminal.

The role of police in preventing crime puts the responsibility squarely with the Chief Commissioner.

Any Chief Commissioner who believes police can arrest their way out of the problem has and will continue to fail by following the reactive approach without properly embracing the proactive function, which brings into question their intellectual acuity. Historically, a series of commissioners have failed that test, and we are now paying the price.

Reactive policing will always be necessary, but the proactive approach will reduce crime; the key is that they are both critical, but one can’t succeed without the other, the Yin and Yang of policing.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Another area of great concern for the community is Domestic violence or aggression, which may lead to violence not only impacting the warring parties but significantly their children.

How children of school age can survive the war at home and the war of bullying at school is a load that they cannot be expected to bear.

It is also probable that children who live in these households will develop a sense of normality in their parent’s behaviour as a defence mechanism to deal with the trauma.

This normalisation will tend to become a trait that the children may exhibit when they enter relationships later in life, so if we ever wanted to have a meaningful impact on domestic violence, then this initiative will go a long way in demonstrating to children that this and other sorts of aggressive behaviour are unacceptable.

DEALING WITH JUVENILE OFFENDERS.

Once a child enters the justice system, there is a reduced chance that their behaviour will be modified unless they want it to be. To alter their behaviour, they must learn that bad behaviour leads to undesirable consequences from a child’s perspective, but in most cases, they have to grow out of it.

The process starts when Police arrest and charge the youth with a criminal offence. Police have discretion, which is critical for the perpetrator’s future and whether they will be recidivists.

The younger the child with a propensity for crime receives an official warning, the better the chance of altering their behaviour.

Police discretion is exercised on any child over ten. They can receive a Police caution, be issued with a summons to Court, a court attendance notice, or be arrested and charged and, where appropriate, bailed. The last and least desirable for a child’s future is being remanded in custody, which is rarely applied.

RAISING THE AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Raising the age at which children can have criminal intent is an unnecessary step that will add to the problem, not assist in it.

This new philosophy means young children cannot be accountable for their actions and are incapable of committing a crime. Although their action still creates victims, it is beyond belief in these allegedly enlightened times that a child can be allowed to view their behaviour as acceptable and beyond consequences.

Ask the Victim of a home invasion what difference in the severity and impact on the family was eased by the perpetrator being underage. Having anybody standing over you in the middle of the night, the perpetrator’s age is entirely irrelevant.

‘The human body’s response to a penetrating knife does not alter by the age of the person delivering the thrust. The body doesn’t know how old the assailant is.’

What has been forgotten is that the Police caution the majority of the younger cohort before they end up in the Juvenile Justice system; these age changes kill that program not only to the disadvantage of the child but also to leave the parents in an unenviable position as to what to do next to help guide their child.

Raising the age for criminal responsibility to fourteen ‘hangs the parents out to dry.’

Police actively try to avoid feeding children into that system as they witness its failures firsthand. These changes will mean that the cautioning option will no longer be available to help divert young first offenders.

An argument often touted is that young children cannot develop criminal intent. However, the law, as it stands, does not allow a child to be charged criminally if they do not understand that the action was criminal. So, if that is the change’s intent, it is unnecessary.

‘Children between 10 and 14’

‘When a child between the ages of 10 and 14 is charged with an offence, the prosecution must show that he or she understood the act was a crime and that the behaviour was wrong’. 

INEFFECTIVE COURT SYSTEM,

Our antiquated court system needs fixing. With the courts held accountable for their effectiveness, they must bear much of the blame for the current crisis.

The only benefit of altering the age of accountability is a statistical one. It doesn’t help to divert kids from more crime but shows a decrease in the number of youth offenders charged; ‘smoke and mirrors.’

Nobody is interested in putting ten-year-olds, or for that matter any child, in detention unless it is necessary to protect the child or the community; however, having no consequences can be just as harmful to a child.

A properly developed home detention system is the answer, as it puts resourced parents back in charge of their children.

USE OF SECURITY BRACELETS ON JUVENILES.

With some imagination and the use of AI, an ankle bracelet can achieve substantial compliance with bail conditions and impose a penalty, such as home detention.

Much work must be done to develop a system for ring-fencing the child’s movements. This allows a child to attend school, sporting commitments, medical appointments, Court attendances, and other approved activities away from home.

HOME DETENTION- PARENTAL ROLE.

There has been much criticism of the parents’ role or lack thereof in managing their miscreant child. The reality is probably not necessarily a lack of will, but skills and a tendency of ‘the system’ to assume the parents cannot deal with an issue, so they are excluded.

Home detention managed by a tracking device will restore the parents to their roles and responsibilities when managing children on bail or as part of any sentence.

With some professional support, this process can achieve long-term compliance by the child, particularly when any breaches of conditions can extend the detention, and repeated non-compliance can ultimately lead to incarceration.

The key to this initiative is that the time for Home Detention must be carefully managed to ensure that the period or periods, depending on the circumstances, are not long; otherwise, the initiative’s potency will be diluted.

‘Putting an anti-bark collar on a dog only works until the dog becomes accustomed to it.’

The best results will initially be achieved over weeks, perhaps increasing sequentially depending on the youth’s compliance. Good compliance reduces home detention time or extends more freedoms to the ring-fence. Non-compliance or breaches reduce privileges, not by the parent but by the ring fence settings.

MEASURING SUCCESS.

The advantage of this plan, and we accept that it is still a skeleton, is that accurate effectiveness measurement can be achieved. Thus, it can be modified while in operation if required, ensuring the maximum beneficial result.

It also has the advantage of being built organically, from the ground up and developing as police training is achieved.

DRUGS

It would be naive to imagine, although they are kids we are talking about, that drugs do not play a significant role in the issue, both as users and participants in drug crime.

The lowering of the age of criminality will be exploited by the drug industry, using children as mules and in-time users. The drug industry will be very appreciative of the Government providing them with a supply of operatives exempt from prosecution, enabling a stable workforce for their industry. How is the community going to deal with the younger addicts this change will create?

Because children are exempted from prosecution, then access to intelligence is also severed, again protecting the cartels.

Whose side is the Government on, good or evil?

Like the Injecting room where the unintended consequences, the creation of a Drug dealers’ hub and the capacity for addicts to trial increased dosages, a facility that does not help addicts beat their addiction is counterintuitive.

How a government can be suckered or coerced into providing a significant hub for the illicit drug industry to the benefit of cartels is beyond reasonable comprehension.

Governments are empowered to create laws to protect the community, not empower the illegal drug trade.

A supply of mules, dealers and users will further reward the cartels, and the children attracted will not be able to be charged even if the trade permeates a school and exposes more children to drugs. The drug operators don’t care about age or long-term effects; their motivation is greed.

Has anybody given thought to how these underage mules, dealers and addicts might be managed?

CONCLUSION

Additional Police, Social Workers, and Child psychologists will be required, so the exercise is not cheap to plan and operate. However, it will be a lot more affordable than what we are currently facing: watching young lives being ruined, victims permanently damaged, and education standards continuing to erode, all due to a lack of action and, most importantly, leadership.

This proposal will result in substantial cost savings compared to the vast bricks-and-mortar investments mooted by the Queensland Children’s Commissioner Nationally.

Grown organically from the ground up, this proposal will be more effective if managed at a local level. It will be able to adjust to local needs and not be operated by a remote bureaucracy.

The target should be to develop the preschool sector first and then sequentially at the primary and secondary levels. That allows for effective management throughout the development stages.

Giving the community ownership will prevent it from becoming just another quango, for some to say – “Look what we have done.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT DO FIREBOMBED TOBACCO STORES AND ILLICIT DRUGS HAVE IN COMMON?

WHAT DO FIREBOMBED TOBACCO STORES AND ILLICIT DRUGS HAVE IN COMMON?

They both make criminals very, very rich and make the Government look very, very silly as they continually fail to implement the tried-and-true strategies that will bring about solutions.

Both issues are intrinsically linked, and one of them could be resolved overnight, greatly affecting the operations of the other.

Removing or greatly reducing the excise on cigarettes/tobacco would seriously damage the criminal elements and destroy their marketing model, plus save many millions of dollars on enforcement.

The Government is not learning from its mistakes as it now moves to curtail and legislate against vaping, which will potentially create another opportunity for criminals to expand their black-market activities, this time predominantly with children, and that is incredibly dangerous. Associating children with the criminal element will inevitably lead to increased crime by children.

Crime entraps our young people, attracted by the lure of wealth, notoriety and excitement, ruining many of their lives and the lives of their families, who are the silent victims.

Additionally, the problem breeds and encourages criminal activity as the addicted and the desperate, some of whom were recruited as children, are forced to commit crimes to fund their addiction.

Although Tobacco and Vapes are still legal, where illicit drugs are not, the CAA is not proposing a prohibition on those products as with illegal drugs for several very good reasons. Smoking tobacco and Vaping affects individuals but does not generally affect others.  Illicit drugs potentially affect everyone.

A classic example is the road toll, where evidence shows many drivers involved in collisions, including fatalities, are drug-affected.  Violent and anti-social behaviour of those affected by illicit drugs is also very common.

However, there are similarities in how the black markets, which run in parallel, should be handled.

The tried and successful strategies we refer to are the Quit campaign and the Sun Smart, Slip Slop and Slap, which are outstanding examples of the power of marketing that achieved exceptional success in reducing smoking and sun exposure in the community.

It is a pity, bordering on wanton incompetence, that the same weapon has not been used in the Clayton’s Drug War. Because of its potential to succeed, and it is somewhat bothersome that this strategy is avoided, perhaps indicating that dark forces or corruption are at play.

Both initiatives succeeded because the Quit campaign used marketing to target the demand side in marketing parlance. Whether your house, car, or workplace became a smoke-free zone, the impact on the tobacco demand plummeted.

The Sun Smart campaign focused on changing public opinion to change social norms and the bronze Aussie persona. It successfully targeted parents and children to reach a high degree of compliance with the concept.

The Quit campaign worked remarkably well until the government dramatically raised taxes to make cigarettes unaffordable. This spawned the chop-chop tobacco market first, followed by packaged cigarettes smuggled in by the container load.

Criminals’ ability to afford to enter into supply contracts by the container load indicates the enterprise’s profitability. As the gulf grew between the cost of legally purchased tobacco products and what the black market could supply tobacco products for, the back market flourished.

The intent to make tobacco products too expensive and reduce tobacco usage, as a result, has dramatically backfired.

The government flipped the successful targeting of the demand to try and rely on law enforcement tackling the supply side as the solution. That strategy has failed through no fault of the Police but a failed government approach.

Rather than realising what they had done, they continued to raise taxes on tobacco, aggravating the situation by increasing criminals’ profits.

As the gap between what the Cartels can sell illegal tobacco products for and what their retail price is widens, the black-market price can increase, and that is pure profit for the criminals.

Marketing, in its simplest iteration, is all about supply and demand. If there is no demand, the supply side quivers as profits drop, but if the market is solid, there will always be a supply side to service that demand, precisely what has happened with drugs and tobacco.

The black-market enterprise is so lucrative that they are prepared to risk serious jail time by firebombing Tobacco stores to gain market control.

Gangs involved in the illicit drug trade have expanded to include the illegal Tobacco trade because the profits are more significant and the penalties, if caught, are likely to be much less.

The drug market’s primary customer base is drug addicts, and the high rate of dealers needed to distribute the drugs to support their habit, is akin to a pyramid scheme. Most participants support their habit by being a dealer selling the product, but that absorbs a significant share of the profits and becomes less attractive as gang leaders who find their income adversely impacted.

But the criminal elements had no need to fear as the government came to the rescue and provided them with a better alternative with more profit: Tobacco: a golden goose for when your market strategy is not as profitable.

If the government had targeted the demand side and relied on marketing instead of tax income from tobacco, it would not be in its current predicament.

Illicit Drugs are very similar; the government wants to assist addicts to be better addicts; this is a non-strategy to reduce the shocking impact drugs have on our society.

In this area, the government has, in part, been conned.

Drug apologists have convinced the government that the best strategy is Harm Minimization; however, they have manipulated that concept as part of a strategy to achieve acceptance of illicit drugs as the community norm.

How any government can fall for the trick of providing an Injecting Room, which has been empirically determined to be a failure, is beyond comprehension.

The Government has been diverted from the real solution, the four pillars of Prevention, Enforcement, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (PETR). Facilitating drug use in an injecting room as a stand-alone response without the other pillars is a recipe for the disaster we are experiencing.

One Pillar will not stand up without the others supporting it, and it is time for the government to take a more realistic approach to addressing these problems, using PETR principles as the basis.

To date, this government has tried to rely on law enforcement to solve the issue, but plainly, that is not working despite the best efforts of Police and Border security measures.

It is a problem that cannot be resolved by enforcement alone.

Obversely, to assumed norms, the best thing the Government can do in the short term is to drop the tax applied to tobacco products significantly. That will not considerably cause a rise in the number of smokers. But those who do smoke will likely return to legitimate retailers (increasing Tax revenue) and cause a significant blow to the illicit traders, who overwhelmingly are also illegal dealers of drugs.

Addressing these issues properly will have a profound beneficial impact on all Victorians.

 

ROLE OF COURTS IN CRIME CRISIS

ROLE OF COURTS IN CRIME CRISIS

‘The legal system needs to catch up’: A push to abolish suspended sentences for child sex offenders was the headline in the Age Newspaper on the 28th of April 2024.

This article relates to proposed legislation by the Opposition to push to abolish suspended sentences for convicted child sex offenders that will go to the state parliament as part of a bill to overhaul punishments for paedophile rapists and abusers.

If this report is accurate, it raises concerns, including encroaching on the independence of the judiciary.

This approach to sentencing directs the courts through legislation on specific offences. It should be approached by a system of accountability of the courts rather than legislation.

This particular article refers to historical sexual offences, and we have no issue with the conviction, just the blanket sentence approach.

Legislating sentencing issues can have unintended consequences.

To understand why the judge might deliver a suspended sentence without wading through the judgment is not appropriate, these sentencing issues must remain within the bailiwick of the presiding judge, irrespective of the crime, as overarching rules for a court without the ability to nuance the conviction sentence to the case when every one of them is different is a step too far.

However, courts are trending towards avoiding reflecting community values and performing optimally. There is no effective mechanism to correct this behaviour, as there is no mechanism to review judges’ performance, whether that is their conviction rates when sitting alone, sentencing outcomes, recidivism of those convicted by that court, or the behaviour of the jurist in or out of court.

However, rather than the proposed legislation as reported, there is a desperate need for judges’ performance to be made accountable.

In Victoria, we have a Judicial Review and a Judicial Commission. Still, where these entities allow issues to fall through the cracks about performance and accountability for judges, there seems to be none.

The Judicial Commission investigating panel consists of three members appointed by the Commission: two former or current judicial officers or VCAT members and one community member of high standing selected from the pool of people appointed for this purpose.

Judicial reviews are heard in the Trial Division of the Supreme Court. The review examines whether the person who made the decision:

  • Had the power (was allowed) to make the decision.
  • Obeyed all aspects of the law in making the decision.
  • Considered everything that was legally relevant.

A judicial review does not re-consider the facts of the matter or focus on whether the decision was correct.

These arrangements could be considered as putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

There are excellent reasons for the judiciary’s independence from the government. However, improvements can still be achieved without compromising the autonomy of the jurists.

We employ the judiciary and reward them handsomely for their tasks; however, we need to be confident that they are performing to benchmarks and reflecting the values of the public in their determinations.

Victoria desperately needs a Judicial Review Commission similar to the model in New South Wales that…

‘Publishes information about criminal law to assist the courts in achieving consistency in imposing sentences and, more generally, in conducting criminal proceedings.

The Judicial Commission of NSW’s work is designed to enhance public confidence in the judiciary by promoting the highest judicial behaviour and decision-making standards. We:

  • Provide a continuing education and training programfor NSW judicial officers.
  • Criminal law and sentencing assist the courts in achieving consistency in imposing sentences and, more generally, in the conduct of criminal proceedings.
  • Examine complaintsabout judicial officers’ ability or behaviour.

To these functions, we would add,

    • To ensure the judiciary applies and takes responsibility for crime prevention and the deterrent effect of sentencing on perpetrators and the wider society.
    • Create and manage benchmarking for court administrative efficiencies and case outcomes.
    • Advise the executive arm of judicial officers not performing to the established standard. The executive arm and the parliament can decide on remedial action or discipline for jurists.

This will protect jurists and make the law more effective; consistency in applying the law is a cornerstone of a democracy.

We will never see relief from the current crisis in crime if jurists fail to take responsibility for the problem they contribute to in a significant way.

ALLAN GOVERNMENT DUMPS PLANS FOR 2ND MELBOURNE INJECTING ROOM

ALLAN GOVERNMENT DUMPS PLANS FOR 2ND MELBOURNE INJECTING ROOM

When the Government gets something right, it needs to be acknowledged, and Premier Allan has just done that in spades, rejecting the Ken Lay report to install a second injecting room in Melbourne. However, Lay’s report recommended not just an injecting room but a “small (four—to six-booth) and discreet”  -injecting service. That incredible assertion attributed to Lay shows what happens when someone who knows so little about an issue is charged with making recommendations. Small and discreet in this context belies reality. As in Richmond, the injecting rooms are honey pots for addicts, dealers and other lowlifes to assemble and trade. Whether it is small or otherwise, the area will become a haven for dealers and addicts. The majority of the addicts around Richmond do not always use the room but shoot up and perform other bodily functions in lanes, parks, streets and people’s gardens; many others drive to the area buy their hit and shoot up in the car. More often than not, driving away under the influence. “Why is it acceptable for the citizens of the Richmond area, including a primary school, to be exposed to the full impact of having an injecting room nearby, while the citizens of the City of Melbourne are not? This is an obvious question that needs to be addressed. The Government, until now, has effectively turned a blind eye to the problems caused in Richmond, and the Premier’s pushback against this crazy injecting nonsense will save more lives than the injecting rooms ever will. The Richmond injecting room hides behind the myth that it saves lives, https://www.drugfree.org.au/images/pdf-files/library/Injecting_Rooms/Over-representation_of_overdose_Melbourne_MSIR.pdf   A graph of death deaths Description automatically generated with medium confidence Drug deaths researched after 18 months of operation are based on empirical data available from the Coroners Court. That the Richmond facility saves lives has never been confirmed, but what has been confirmed is there are a more significant number of deaths in a community serviced by an injecting room than without, and Richmond is no different. The facility’s claims are no more substantial than misleading perceptions, but proper research disproves the claims that injecting Rooms saves lives. Addicts regularly use the facility to experiment with higher dosages or different drugs, knowing that if it goes pear-shaped, the facility will resuscitate them. Those incidents cannot be counted as positive results by the facility as the injecting room facilitates the practice. Without the room, the addicts are less likely to experiment as the risk is well known to them. Notably, the Premier has announced that the Yooralla Building in Flinders Street will now be developed into a wraparound service dealing with the health and well-being of not only addicts but also other socially marginalised in the City of Melbourne. This is not dissimilar to the drug strategies published by the CAA over many years. As laudable as this is, we caution the Premier that the Harm Minimisation brigade, which has hijacked the principle, must be kept from this initiative; otherwise, it will become a de facto Injecting room by stealth. These proponents are the enemies of addicts and the community trying to normalise the use of illicit drugs without any effort to help addicts get clean and regain their health. Now that the Premier has taken this step, we must now turn our attention to Richmond and look to close this facility that promotes and facilitates drug use. All of the rationales applied to the rejection of the city room are multiples of 10, the quantum of the negative aspects of the Richmond facility that must be closed or be converted to follow the Yooralla model. Helping addicts and users, not promoting and facilitating their addiction, is the only humane way to go. It has also amazed us that in this litigious society, an addict has not taken action against the State for the injecting rooms encouraging their drug use. The Government must now move to close or repurpose Richmond or be accused of applying double standards. The CAA has long expressed concern and offered alternatives to Injecting Rooms; below is a selection of our submissions published on our website:
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ABUSE – A MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
  • DRUG QUARANTINE – A NEW PARADIGM.
https://caainc.org.au/drug-quarantine-a-new-paradigm-2/
TACKLE THE CRISIS DON’T HIDE.

TACKLE THE CRISIS DON’T HIDE.

No objective assessment can question that we are in a crime crisis.

While there is overwhelming evidence of a crisis of significance, what is also happening on a scale below the headline events, and is numerically high, is many cases, inflicting cruel injuries, both physical and mental, to innocent victims that are irreversible, ruining their lives and their families.

We must be realistic and accept that what we have been doing doesn’t work; blaming others and trying to identify the cause serves a purpose, but not now.

Now, is the time to bring the problem under control, and then we can look at long-term solutions.

What has become abundantly clear is there is a dearth of leadership.

Somebody needs to stand up and tackle the issue, not in a month, but now, before more people are maimed or die.

We urgently need a significant boost in Police numbers to enable a visible Police presence at all places of high risk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We also need to deal with the demonstration issue so that policing the state can continue despite threats of demonstrations.

The Chief Commissioner could decree that all non-essential police operations be suspended for two months and that police freed up be allocated to patrolling high-risk areas.

At the end of the period, it may well turn out that a hiatus of the non-function or fiefdom building functions are not as critical as assumed, and elements could be permanently dispensed with.

It seems that Victoria Police are hesitating to face the challenge.

We expect that VicPol, in crisis, will return to the failed Matrix Management philosophy of having a meeting instead of somebody displaying leadership, addressing the problem, and accepting responsibility for the outcome.

The attraction to the meeting strategy is the appearance of something being done that will solve everything. The added bonus is that no individual can be held accountable for failure. VicPol is not alone; there is nothing of substance from the Government or Opposition either, which is very worrying and exposes the weakness of the leadership currently on offer.

There are currently insufficient police under current police management practices to become proactive and prevent these incidents; however, in this crisis, we need to be bold and innovative to deal with the current life and death problems.

Part of the solution lies in using the thousands of retired police in the community, who can perform many operational tasks and most back-room administrative functions—a Force Reserve.

This frees up police to man shopping malls, shopping strips, transport hubs, schools, or any place that demonstrates a security risk to minimise what is quickly approaching carnage.

It may be argued that it is easier said than done, but it is not difficult if intelligent minds are assigned to the task.

Establishing a Police Reserve where retired members can be offered a position at the same rank and payscale they previously held to stay on for a specified period or part-time, returning to work under the same conditions.

Amendments to the Police Act can be quickly drafted to accommodate a Police Reserve. Some retirees value the freedom of retirement but are very prepared and capable of taking up short-term commitments as required, a technique used significantly by the military.

A cash incentive scheme would guarantee sufficient interest. If handled correctly, the Reserve members may need a short training update of weeks, not months.

The argument that we should recruit more is a long-term necessity. Still, recruiting potentially competent and effective police is too slow to provide police management with the surge capacity required to keep the state safe.

The recent COVID experiences placed incredible demands on Police resources. They should have been enough to cause serious planning to create the capacity for VicPol to develop a surge capacity.

An adequate surge capacity means responding to the issue while retaining the necessary resources to maintain day-to-day functions.

For example, the significant issue during the COVID response was VicPol’s inability to respond and provide security for the COVID-19 quarantine facilities that housed infected people.

The task then fell to a questionable Private Security firm. As a result, it has been argued that 801 lives were lost because the virus escaped the Quarantine facilities—a security failure.

Whatever the argument that the Chief Commissioner of the time put forward, it is not unreasonable to conclude that had police taken on the Security function from the beginning, the likelihood of the virus escaping would have been substantially reduced, albeit that Private Security could augment Poilce and be phased in over time.

Inexplicably, Emergency Management Victoria seemed to play no part.

The problem of VicPol not having adequate surge capacity to deal with unforeseen events was exposed, but here we are again, only a couple of short years later and again, the lack of a surge capacity persists.

The difference this time is that the evidence of an impending social disorder crisis has been evident for some time as thousands of new migrants have been added to the population without consideration of the infrastructure, including police numbers, to deal with the additional migrants who historically bring with them new and problematic issues requiring more intense Police attention.

Here are some suggestions for how a reserve may augment operational members to create a surge capacity.

  • The majority of staff on a Booze Bus could be sworn Force Reserve.
  • Watch House Keepers throughout the State could be drawn predominantly from the reserve.
  • Capable Force Reserve members could interview witnesses.
  • Crime scene specialists could be trained in the reserve.
  • All police allocated to community liaison roles supporting special interest groups could be reallocated to operations, and much of this work undertaken by the Police Reserve members.
  • There is no doubt Reserve members could replace many Police involved in training.
  • On the issue of training, which has generally moved online, the efficiency and efficacy of that move need to be reconciled. Hours spent on a computer most shifts compared with police being returned to the classroom for training where all the advantages of group training can be experienced must be revisited. The online move suits the trainers, making their lives easier, but it is not a good management practice. Online training hours are not adequately managed, affecting Police member’s productivity. Spending a couple of hours online during a shift where they could provide a visible police presence is a counterproductive use of members’ time.
  • Every Police function must be reviewed and categorised as essential, necessary or nice to have. The latter is where the numbers can be extracted from.

These are just a few examples that could effectively increase the force capacity by over a thousand members when required. Still, with application, there are hundreds of other jobs where a reserve member could effectively function to achieve efficiency. When done appropriately, service efficiencies can achieve a higher level of service delivery.

Reserve members of all ranks could also be considered for relieving tasks. This could have a very positive impact on resource capability and suit many retirees’ lifestyles.

Unfortunately, these current issues are not like COVID-19 and are unlikely to dissipate like a virus.

The issues are deeply rooted in the cultural and non-secular values instilled over generations by many of the new migrants arriving in this country. As they continue to come in great numbers, the problems will escalate, not diminish.

VicPol cannot just sit back and hope but must start seriously addressing the resource problem with clear, nonpartisan values.

The cost would be considerably less than accelerating new recruit training and avoiding taking shortcuts like lowering standards that may prove detrimental to the organisation in the long term.

If the matters require Government funding, the community has every right to know that a lack of funding compromises their safety, and the Government can take responsibility.

At the moment, VicPol is responsible.

YOUTH CRIME DETERIORATES DANGEROUSLY.

YOUTH CRIME DETERIORATES DANGEROUSLY.

Latest developments have exposed the consequences of failing to manage the youth crisis, and a grave deterioration has started to evolve.

The worst possible outcome is the evolution of vigilantism.

Vigilantism as a solution to a crime issue has the enormous risk that rather than quelling lawlessness, it may increase it, with these groups becoming part of the problem rather than solving it.

We have suburbs of Brighton employing private security to improve safety, but now residents on the other side of Melbourne, and in vastly different socio-economic circumstances, in Mambourin Estate near Werribee are indicating they propose to set up patrols from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am when the thugs in the area are most active. The outcome could be a disaster, as there is every likelihood the thugs may decide to assert their strength, leading to bad outcomes.

There would be no doubt that the thugs feel they rule the streets, so they are likely to oppose any challenge to their ‘freedom’. The challenge would be ugly.

Victoria Police need to step in immediately, not with consultative groups, a favoured non-function,  but with sufficient resources to proactively patrol the area to give the community the safety they deserve.

If local police were doing their job, they should have known of the growing concerns and taken proactive action before it got to this stage. Another mangemnent failure.

But that is what happens when the Force focuses on reactive functions and is not proactive.

SUBURBAN POLICE DRAGGED INTO THE CITY TO MANAGE PROTESTS.

SUBURBAN POLICE DRAGGED INTO THE CITY TO MANAGE PROTESTS.

As reported in the Herald Sun on April 18, 2024, Victoria Police bemoaned the impact on resources caused by the outbreak of demonstrations in the city.

Ten thousand shifts of Police keeping the broader community safe have been redirected to managing the epidemic of demonstrations currently in vogue.

While we empathise with the current Force perspective, much of the current issues have been caused by the police themselves.

As we have consistently argued, applying law and order must be consistent and not influenced by ideology. Inconsistency breeds contempt.

The continuing ideological bias is blatantly apparent.

This bias became evident in the lead-up to and during COVID-19 and continues today, so why are we surprised Melbourne is the Demo Capital of Australia?

Failure to act decisively when a new issue attracts demonstrations and then failing to be consistent not only promotes more demonstrations, as is the case in Victoria, but the broader public sees through the spin and police respect further declines along with support.

‘They are the Police; how come they can’t fix it’ is a growing question within the community as frustration builds.

The current impasse, which encompasses a number of Law and Order issues, including the ‘Youth Crisis,’ is adding to the loss of respectability and confidence in our Police as a consequence of COVID responses.

There are two aspects to this article: police resourcing and police capability.

On police resourcing, the press article tries to deflect the blame for police management’s lack of capacity to respond to operational demands by blaming the demonstrators for not complying with police requests for information on proposed activities.

Finding excuses rather than solutions has become the police go-to position on various issues.

 

The need for pragmatic police management is now essential.

In the current crisis, how can resources be applied to a sexual complaint that allegedly happened over fifty years ago? We understand that considerable police resources are used to investigate historical events of this nature. Pragmatic leadership has two strategies at its disposal: pressuring the Government and encouraging public debate on a statute of limitations and, more effectively, intervention by police command to prioritise the allocation of resources.

It is time for a twenty-year statute of limitations to be applied to all historical crimes. The likelihood of safe convictions and the fallibility of human memory can lead to many hours of wasted police time, all while the state is faced with an imminent crime crisis.

A safeguard for victims in exceptional circumstances would allow them or the police to apply to a court to have the statute lifted on a case-by-case basis.

A fifty-year-old case versus stopping home invasions and curbing youth crime now; we know where the public sits on this conundrum.

Victoria Police have to develop the chutzpah to say no and prioritise resources.

Gathering data for other agencies is another resource black hole.

 

As the article argues, 10,000 hours were lost at the local level, but why must it be at the local level? Why is our frontline carrying the brunt of the Policing load?

There is a significant number of non-operational and operational support police who should be called upon before the stations start to lose shifts. They are all sworn Police officers.

Or is it just lazy management finding it more accessible to bleed staff from the stations?

Losing a day here or there from the support areas would not significantly impact many police functions, and the weight can be lifted from the stations.

The lack of planning to develop a surge capacity for VicPol is a blatant management failure and must be addressed.

 

Developing a Force Reserve would be cost-effective, operationally sound, and a significant step toward solving the staffing crisis.

VicPol must be asked the question: What would happen if another significant incident occurred during a major demonstration? What is plan B?

Overriding this issue, publicly exposing resourcing matters is not the best idea we have seen, as no doubt any terrorist cell plotting insurrection now knows when to strike.

 

Police capability and the government’s role in ensuring police have the tools to be effective have been significant issues.

The Premier was asked about this, and her response was;

  “The Victorian government will not be following in the footsteps of NSW by implementing a permit system for mass gatherings.”

“Victoria Police have the tools and the resources to respond to these activities,” she said.

“(They are) demonstrating that they have the tools,” she said.

If the Premier believes VicPol has the tools, why aren’t they being used?

The permit system works well in other jurisdictions and is not designed to prevent the right to demonstrate but to prevent unruly mobs from disrupting the community.

This position on permits exposes the government’s inability to govern for all Victorians and not pander to a few: ideology usurping pragmatism, a common and distinctly modern political trait.

If the government won’t reinstate the ‘move on laws’ and introduce a ‘permit system’ for demonstrations, the disruption and the police’s failure to act decisively, even if their ideology is controlled, must be at the government’s feet.

Strong statements must come from Victoria Police so the community is informed.

Doing away with blame-shifting might be an excellent start to rebuild confidence.