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.

CONSISTENCY THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE POLICING

CONSISTENCY THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE POLICING

It would have been reasonable to assume that, if nothing else, VicPol would have learnt from the errors of policing demonstrations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of consistency and basic mistakes in Command and Control principles caused much of the mayhem and operational missteps.

While policing is confronted with demonstrations or social disorder issues that form part of the fabric of Policing, somewhere along the line, experiences of the past have been lost, reducing the effectiveness of the Police function.

Many former Police officers serving in a different era were shocked and dismayed at the ineptitude during COVID-19. They hoped the mistakes made then would be a lesson and future issues would be handled differently. It seems a forlorn hope.

Several flaws in the COVID response included a lack of consistency in approach. Seemingly, the police response to every event differed, creating confusion among the demonstrators or, more importantly, confusion among the individual members on how to respond.

Thankfully, the COVID era and all its failings seem to be behind us but will not be forgotten for a long time to come, and for all the wrong reasons.

Fast forward to the current issues motivated by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Large pro-Palestine/Hamas demonstrations are designed to, as far as possible, disrupt the significant commercial hubs within Australia, trying to wreak as much disruption as possible by sheer weight of numbers.

As the fervour of these demonstrations is allowed to fester, the real possibility of demonstrations escalating into insurrection becomes an ever-increasing threat, and that is because of a Police failure.

Instead of taking decisive and consistent action, rather than just being observers when the demonstrations on this issue began, the police made a significant mistake in allowing ideology to enter the operational approach.

It became very evident at the Town Hall demonstration that the line of impartial law enforcement had been crossed.

Recently, a huge group of pro-Palestine/Hamas demonstrators gathered outside the Town Hall to demonstrate issues being debated by the City Council. Entry to the chamber public gallery was by ticketed invitation, and three Australians of Jewish origin with tickets to the event tried to enter the Town Hall to attend the meeting but were violently set upon and blocked by a worked-up pro-Palestine/Hamas crowd.

At that point, the three invitees became victims of unlawful behaviour.

The Police response was counterintuitive to the sworn duty of Police. They removed the three victims and sanctioned them by barring them from the city.

The perpetrators of the assaults were not arrested, albeit they committed the offences in the immediate presence of the Police.

All of this was videotaped, and the vision was available to police.  Arrests and charges ought to have followed.

The actions of the Police gave the demonstrators a huge moral win and set a new standard that assaulting people was acceptable behaviour.

This action by the Police will embolden and escalate future demonstrations in this cause.

The Police excuse that it was an Occupational Health and Safety issue (OH&S); reducing the danger to police from the demonstrators is unacceptable and a dereliction of their sworn duty to act without fear or favour.

Perhaps Inspector Amy Scott of NSW Police thankfully missed the memo about OH&S as interpreted in Victoria and saved many lives as a result.

Policing is an inherently dangerous occupation, and safety is created by competent leadership and planning, appropriate equipment and training.

Victoria Police need to recalibrate their operational approach to demonstrations, and where laws are broken, decisive action must be taken. Policing has no place for cowards.

Lawbreaking without consequences only escalates lawbreaking.

The OH&S Claims at the Town Hall have been exposed as a rampant ideology as the latest mass demonstration saw Police charge demonstrators interfering with traffic lights.

The Victims in those offences were the traffic lights, but when the victims were Jewish, OH&S a different standard was applied – consistency?

There is a strong argument for introducing a permit system for gatherings of over ten people and providing a water cannon as a backup for members’ safety.

There has been a reluctance to provide water cannon technology because it is rarely, if ever, used, and the cost is said to not be justified. However, having a big stick backing the Police would be the smartest way to defuse incidents and reduce police injuries.

Not having specialised emergency management equipment because of a perceived lack of demand is incredibly short-sighted. If we applied that logic to a specialist high-reach fire truck or airport fire appliances, the ‘hue and cry’ if they were needed and were no longer available would cause a justifiable uproar.

The CAA implores Victoria Police to police according to their oath of office ‘without fear or favour’ and to review and change the biased practices we deplore.

Would the Bondi event be handled as efficiently in Victoria?

Would the Bondi event be handled as efficiently in Victoria?

14th of April 2024

The shocking event at Bondi Westfield and the horrific outcomes impact every Australian; our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured in this vicious attack.

Equally, the horror of those thousands of people in the shopping complex hiding from evil in fear of losing their lives must never be underestimated, and we also grieve for their loss. While their loss may not be physical, however, the mental impact can be as severe.

The outstanding bravery of individuals must also be acknowledged. Seeing the perpetrator avoiding direct confrontation with the males who stood their ground really shows the weakness of the perpetrator, who was not prepared to confront his victims but attacked softer targets, usually from the rear.

The response by emergency services, particularly the Police, appeared to be outstanding and a credit to the New South Wales Police Force.

But no matter how good the police response was, it took one very brave and competent Inspector to end the horror and save many more lives.

Inspector Amy Scott, working one up, confronted the killer in a textbook response and put the perpetrator down with one shot.

Her actions will always be recorded as heroic as they should be, but would that same response have occurred in Victoria?

This question will spark substantial debate, but this brave member exposed some worrying anomalies in any comparison.

First and foremost, the effectiveness of any Police member is greatly influenced by the environment in which they work. If the organisation, as it is in Victoria, does not instil confidence in its members, then they are not likely to take risks, albeit that the risks are part of the job. The members need to know who has their back.

The defence of police acting in good faith must be reinforced and rebuilt in Victoria’s police culture. The citizens of Victoria would wholeheartedly endorse that philosophy.

In Victoria, a culture of doubt, driven by an administration intent on finding fault, has damaged the Force and its capacity to protect Victorians; poor leadership.

The most significant comparable incident in Victoria that comes to mind is the James Gargasoulas rampage in 2017 over two days, culminating in the death of six innocent Victorians and endangering the life of 27 others.

This carnage was avoidable, as the Police had known the perpetrator’s whereabouts for a considerable time during his escapade.

Glaring omissions were the lack of executive or high-ranking Police leadership intervention and the lack of confidence in Police to intervene when opportunities arose, and quite a few did.

It wasn’t until after the murders were committed that the Police took decisive action.

We would argue that this initial inaction was caused by a police organisational cultural problem. During that whole incident, no member was confident enough to act decisively, primarily for fear of internal retribution; nobody had their back.

The other significant takeout is that Amy was working one up, demonstrating the folly of Victoria’s strict two-up policy.

We doubt the same outcome would have been achieved had the Inspector had a partner of equal rank, proving the situation and the need to act in that case would have been clouded by second-guessing of the partners’ reactions, directly adversely affecting the safety of the member.

Victoria needs to dump the strict two-up policy and leave resource allocations to the discretion of the operational commander in any situation or function. Making unilateral operational decisions undermining front-line supervisors is counterproductive to efficient management.

This will coincidentally free up many more police and increase ‘boots on the ground’, improving the visibility of police presence and reducing crime while improving community safety perceptions.

A police Station that mans a Divisional Van, a Station car, and a supervisor, with a driver,= three cars; by changing the station car and using the Supervisors driver, that would equate to five vehicles rather than three, a dramatic increase in police visibility but under the direction of a supervisor. Multiple cars would attend high-risk situations, but once the problem is stabilised, the vehicles can all be cleared, leaving just one to complete any administration.

Service Efficiency substantially improved as will, Service Delivery.

We are not advocating reducing Police numbers, but by allowing one-up patrols, operational supervisors can put more cars on the road.

Providing additional cars is cheaper than additional Police.

This system works very well in Los Angeles.

Inspector Scott demonstrated that unfettered situational awareness is the most potent weapon in a police member’s arsenal. It leads to positive outcomes and increases the member’s safety.

Whether a Police member works alone or with others is a fine-line operational decision influenced by the member concerned, the circumstances, and the risk evaluation.

Engaging with their partner and distracting their situational awareness is the most significant risk to any police member in the field.

We call on Victoria Police to delegate the decision of Operations crew configurations to the Operational Supervisor of that shift.

YOUTH CRIME, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION THE TENETS OF THE PROBLEM

YOUTH CRIME, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION THE TENETS OF THE PROBLEM

Almost everything published about youth crime revolves around dealing with young offenders.  While this is important, what is more important is preventing young people from offending in the first place.  Rehabilitation programs for young offenders are reactive, not proactive.  Until this basic truth is acknowledged, we will always be playing catch up in dealing with youth crime issues.

The CAA has recently published an article entitled, “CALL TO ACTION – YOUTH CRIME,” in which we outlined the need for a Police in Schools Program, such as the one introduced in Victoria in 1989 that ran until 2016, to teach young people the basic tenets of good citizenship.  A proven program that achieved excellent results in turning youngsters away from crime.

Although similar programs are implemented worldwide, Victoria has failed to re-introduce an effective version into schools in this State.

Part of the Victoria Police’s statutory function is Crime Prevention. Victoria Police Act 2013, Section 11, (c). It is incumbent on Victoria Police to take every possible step to stem the tide of crime, and this is particularly so in relation to Juvenile crime, which is out of control.

Early intervention, where it is apparent that young people are at risk of lapsing into a life of vice or crime, also needs to be a priority.

The provision for dealing with young people who were likely to lapse into a life of vice or crime was abolished in Victoria. This phrase appeared on some child welfare records and was a convenient term for one of the definitions of a neglected child. Specifically, it referred to a child who was at risk of falling into a career of vice or criminal behaviour.

Some people, like doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers, school principals and police officers, must tell the department if they believe a child is being harmed or at serious risk of harm.

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) (Child Protection) must investigate every report. This can include speaking to the child, family members and other people involved with the family.

As each family’s situation is different the department may decide not to do anything, or they might get involved with the family for a short or long time.

Child protection

If anyone has formed a reasonable belief that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect and their parent has not or is unlikely to protect them from harm, they can make a report to Child Protection.

Meeting the needs of children and making sure they are safe in the family is a shared responsibility between individuals, the family, the community and the government. When adults caring for children do not follow through with their responsibilities, are abusive or exploit their positions of power, then child protection is empowered to investigate the concerns and intervene to protect the child legally when required.

The Victorian Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to support those children and young people at risk of harm or where families are unable to protect them.

The main functions of Child Protection are to:

Investigate matters where it is alleged that a child is at risk of significant harm.

Refer children and families to services that assist in providing the ongoing safety and well-being of children.

Make applications to the Children’s Court if the child’s safety cannot be ensured within the family.

Administer protection orders granted by the Children’s Court.

During 2019-20, 174,700 (31 per 1,000) Australian children received child protection services (investigation, care and protection order and/or were in out-of-home care).  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were eight times as likely as non-Indigenous children to have received child protection services. Children from geographically remote areas were more likely to be the subject of substantiation or be in out-of-home care than those from major cities.  Over 5,300 children were reunified with family during 2019–20.  Sixty-seven per cent of children who received child protection services were repeat clients.  This figure alone shows that the system is not effective.

Overall, what seems to be sound policy and practice is clearly not working.

It is not working because all this, although expressed in proactive terms, is actually reactive, intervention occurring only when a problem already exists.

What is needed is proactive programs that prevent problems from arising.

When parents are failing in their responsibilities, the only resolution is through education, and school alone gives access to almost all children where they can be given guidance and life skills.

In terms of youth crime, a partnership between teachers and police is a proven formula that does make a difference.

Mentoring and Youth Support

A mentor who spends time helping a young person is invaluable.  They can help a young person with things, for example:

Schoolwork;

Coping with bullying;

Finding employment;

Strategies to stay safe;

Coping with peer pressure:

Avoiding alcohol and illicit drugs.

Youth inclusion and support panels made up of people like local youth or social workers to work with young people to make sure they get access to local services that will help them stay out of trouble.

Bail

The expanded factors in bail laws require the Courts to consider the potentially adverse effects of a child being held in custody.  Rather than reducing re-offending, research shows that placing children in a custodial environment increases the likelihood that they will reoffend. They are exposed to violence and negative peer groups, and displaced from family and education opportunities. Children leave custody with deteriorated mental health and an elevated risk of self-harm. The new considerations require a Court to confront the consequences of detaining a child – potential recidivism and harm to the child – which are factors that should not sit comfortably with most decision-makers.

However, the factors outlined above exist only when sensible, viable alternatives are not considered.

An alternative to custody in many cases is home detention where the child can, as a condition of bail, be required to stay at home with an exception of being able to attend school, which should be mandatory.

Compliance with such a condition can be achieved through the use of an electronic tracking device, which, in this age of technology, can be designed to look like an ordinary wristwatch to avoid any stigmatisation of the child.

A further condition of bail must be a prohibition of fraternising with any co-offenders to break the nexus of peer pressure.

Sentencing

The bail provisions set out above could equally be adopted as a sentencing option, thus avoiding the possibility of a child being further corrupted in a custodial situation.

Monitoring

The financial savings would be such that establishing a Monitoring Centre to keep track of young people on bail or under sentence would be a fraction of the costs of incarceration.

Recommendations

Immediately reintroduce a Police in Schools Program, such as the one introduced in Victoria in 1989 that ran until 2016, to teach young people the basic tenets of good citizenship.

Establish other proactive programs of interest to young people where they can express themselves safely and lawfully, be that through sport, music, art or anything else that is appropriate.

Establish mentoring and youth support panels.

Introduce bail practices as outlined in this article.

Adopt a sentencing regime that uses home detention in appropriate cases.

Hallelujah, a voice for victims at last.

Hallelujah, a voice for victims at last.

We have always found the relationship between victims and the Courts an anathema.

In a civilised society, compassion for perpetrators is laudable, but the pendulum has swung so far in favour of criminals that it borders on insanity.

The Herald Sun reported ‘A new deal for Victims’ on March 18th, including 55 recommendations and findings of an inquiry by Fiona McCormack, Victoria’s Victims of Crime Commissioner.

There is a lot to like in the report; however, the problem will be the implementation of her recommendations because it tackles hitherto untouchable and archaic practices of the Courts, and the noise of the legal fraternity seeing their rivers of gold challenged will be loud and vitriolic generating spurious arguments to avoid altering the status quo.

Looking at just two of the recommendations gives an insight into why her work is so important and how ruffled the legal fraternity feathers will be.

Abolish the committal hearing process.

  •  Abolish court committals for some cases, prioritising sex offences and family violence,

There are about 3000 pre-trial or Committal proceedings in Victoria each year, and as best we can determine, at least 95% of those hearings commit defendants for trial.

As an estimate, discarding Committals could save over 12,000 court hours annually.

The only benefit derived from these numbers is that they assist the defence in preparing their case. Receiving a copy of the Prosecution case, the Hand-up Brief should adequately serve that purpose.

A new model must be designed to eliminate committals and the old argument that the risks to the defendant being convicted if innocent is disingenuous. There are significant checks and balances without the Committal.

In the present system, the arresting police officer must prepare a Brief of Evidence capable of providing evidence that prosecution is warranted. Senior police must approve the hand-up brief and provide the accused with a copy. The Director of Public Prosecutions then determines whether a prosecution will proceed.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission recommends,

4.3 The Commission concludes that the test for committal should be abolished and cases transferred from the jurisdiction of the lower courts by a magistrate making an order that the accused appear in a higher court for trial or sentence. Magistrates will no longer be required to apply a test for committal based on the evidence in a case. Instead, the accused should be able to apply for a discharge, and the lower courts should be empowered to discharge the accused if the Court is satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction.

4.4 An outcome of the proposed change is that the language of ‘committal’ will no longer play a role or be necessary. In place of the present test for committal, a case would move from a lower court to a higher court by an order of the lower court that the accused:

  • appear for plea and sentence in a higher court on a date to be determined or
  • stand trial in a higher court on a date to be determined.

McCormack’s recommendations disappointingly do not go as far as the Law Reform Commission; nevertheless, she adds weight to the argument for abolishing committals.

The Government can no longer avoid addressing this major issue, although the legal fraternity, which has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, will substantially oppose it.

When we talk about many thousands of hours of court time, and our estimates are very conservative, addressing this issue is now urgent and must be prioritised.

Criminals are scamming the system.

What has been overlooked is the impact on Court time and the flow-on effect of long delays adversely impacting the victims as well as perpetrators.

Adjournments are the tactics of perpetrators and their Legal representative’s weapon of choice, and every excuse that can be imagined is used to gain an adjournment from gullible Magistrates.

It works like this – extending delays will often wear down the victim to convince them to withdraw their complaint. If not, when it seems any further adjournment is unlikely, a Guilty plea is entered with extenuating grief the perpetrator suffered because of the self-induced adjournments. That opens another avenue for adjournments.

These tactics clog the system and, coupled with the removal of committals, will unlock substantial court time to ensure that the legal idiom of “Justice delayed is justice denied” does not apply.

It is disgraceful that many examples of matters taking many years to process through the legal system are common, and often, not only is it Court management issues, but perpetrators scam the system with Magistrates too accommodating, allowing delays based on spurious excuses. ‘Magistrate shopping’ to achieve the result is not uncommon.

This is particularly hard and cruel in domestic matters where the person charged will avoid a court hearing by creating the need for adjournments, usually of many months, designed to break the Victim. Moreover, it often prohibits the Victim from accessing any property rights, even their own personal possessions.

It is not uncommon that because of the committal process, many victims are further scarred on top of the events that the offender perpetrated.

A sentence for being a Victim.

In one case, we know of the Victim suffering the ignominy of 14 adjournments secured by the defendant over five years. At the last adjournment hearing, the defendant asked to change his plea to guilty.

The case was again adjourned for sentencing. As reports impacting his sentence are gathered, it will be interesting to see if the perpetrator uses this process to gain further adjournments.

For five years, the victim has been in hiding, protecting her children, wearing a bracelet alarm. She is currently still in hiding and penniless because of the power the defendant has and continues to exercise over her.

The victim has suffered a sentence of 5 years of fear that has not yet been resolved. Yet it is doubtful the perpetrator will receive anywhere near this penalty for the crimes committed against her. Where is the justice in that?

The fault lies at the feet of the Law, bureaucracy, and, therefore, the Attorney General.

Specifically, the Court’s management processes, the weak, disinterested, or ideologically driven judiciary, and the need for more accountability in the legal system to rectify anomalies.

A Judicial Review Panel must be created, as in other States, to deal with the judiciary’s processes, behavioural, and performance issues at all levels with the ability to measure Judicial performance and legal balance effectively.

The current situation has evolved because of a need for more performance evaluation and accountability of the judiciary, which can be achieved while still respecting Judicial independence.

This is now a priority.

POLICE ALLEGED BLUNDER RAISES SUSPICIONS

POLICE ALLEGED BLUNDER RAISES SUSPICIONS

We have been mulling over the recent arrest and release of a sex offender who was one of the 149 detainees released by the Federal Government.

It was reported in the media (HS and others) that Alfons Pirimapun, 44, was charged on Wednesday, the 28th of February 2024, with sexual assault, stalking and two counts of unlawful assault. This followed two incidents in Richmond.

The Prime Minister was under extreme pressure from all media because the suspected perpetrator was one of the detainees released by the Government. The story about the alleged offences was the lead headline in nearly every masthead in the country. Then suddenly, the heat was off. VicPol was backtracking without a reasonable explanation.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said on Thursday that “a process had commenced to formally withdraw the charges.”

The Commander sent out to front the media to mop up this apparent blunder has inadvertently raised the possibility that this was a political hit job to protect the government.

It was reported again in the HS, that Victoria Police Commander Mark Galliot apologised to Pirimapun at a press conference shortly after the charges were dropped while arguing,

“ It wasn’t a mistake to arrest him on Wednesday night.”

“I wouldn’t say it as a blunder; investigators had sufficient evidence to make an arrest,” he said.

“Yes, there was an error in arresting the person and remanded him, and as I said as soon as we found out, we rectified it and we apologise sincerely.”

What concerns us most is the speed with which an investigation has determined that sufficient evidence for an arrest and being remanded can be so quickly overturned that it sounds like a direction to withdraw the prosecution rather than a failure of the evidence collected.

The withdrawal of the charges provided substantial political capital for the Government.

If the error was so blatant as to be so obvious and so quickly acted upon, serious questions of political interference can be raised. Without the proper and full release of the circumstances, this view will persist.

Police take the arrest and charging of a suspect very seriously, so there are only two explanations: the Force was used politically to make this go away, or there was some catastrophic flaw in the evidence.

As far as political interference is concerned, there has been a strong whiff persisting for some considerable time about VicPol being politicised and the Police Force being used as a puppet by the puppet masters at Spring Street. This seems to have become more blatant, giving rise to the real worry that Policing in this state is an extension of the government and not an independent authority.

As for the flaw in the evidence, the indecent haste that determined the flaw leads to the suspicion that the brief could not have been adequately investigated. The statement by Galliot, “as soon as we found out,can be reasonably interpreted as being told.

The who told what to whom is critical for community peace of mind and assurances that have some veracity. Given that Galliot also said that they had no other suspects, this gives rise, in part, to a lie about the mistake in identity hinted at during his press conference.

We have not heard a sound from IBAC, the watchdog, in months, but perhaps their chain is too short. Perhaps we don’t have an IBAC anymore; it’s just a bureaucratic malaise keeping a low profile to avoid criticism.

We have experienced first-hand VicPol dealing with crime in a partisan way. A serious crime supported by CCTV footage was reported, and overnight, a decision was made. The following morning, we were advised that no offence had occurred. This was done without interviewing any witnesses, and there were many.

Of course, there may be a new way to conduct an investigation; gathering the evidence and interviewing witnesses seems no longer the way, but what would we know, a lot actually.

What was particularly galling was that the report from the CAA was considered independently by no less than five former very senior Police investigators, who were unanimous that a prima facie case existed for serious offences.

The issue was that the perpetrators were most likely employees of the Richmond Drug Injecting room, a particularly political ‘hot potato’ where adverse public opinion could ensue.

There was insufficient time for even a rudimentary investigation, so the Investigators were undoubtedly told to make it disappear. The government had buried or withheld the Ken Lay report they commissioned into the injecting room function, and any criticism, particularly of a criminal nature, by the facility’s staff would be politically damaging.

Making the issue go away would ‘curry favour’ with the Government.

We have often raised the issue of the ‘Separation of Powers’ issue, and failure to do so feeds suspicion of partisan bias, which is a dangerous predisposition for any Police Force in any free society where the rule of law applies.

This suspicion is not just some wild conspiracy theory when you take into account the alleged political influence in the Red Shirts saga, the criminal travel rorts, the failed George Pell prosecution, many aspects of the COVID response, and making the Gobbo affair prosecutions disappear, and the most blatant, the Road crash involving the Premier.

From this list, two conclusions can be drawn. If you offend and are a mate of the government or the incident can embarrass the political class, your sins will be overlooked, and prosecution is unlikely; if you are politically and ideologically opposed to the government, there is every possibility, no matter how improbable,  you will be prosecuted and pursued through the courts relentlessly, shades of a police state.

Given the way things are headed, a Royal Commission into Victoria Police and the role of successive Chief Commissioners in alleged Political influence would seem inevitable.

The underlying principle of the ‘Separation of Powers’ is our protection from a government ‘going rogue’ and engaging in criminal behaviour. When the police become joined at the hip to their political masters, the ‘blind eye’ principle becomes evident, a precursor to political criminality and the creation of a police state.

At what stage do the directions from Spring Street become. ‘a conspiracy, to Pervert the Course of  Justice?

We would argue that it is probable that the line has been crossed multiple times.

All criminal activity, particularly in Government, has a habit of being exposed at some stage. All it takes is a disgruntled Prosecutor or Police member to find their conscience, and the walls will tumble down. It might not happen today, but it can happen at any time.

In this instance, the police must explain how this incident occurred, given their advice that there wasn’t a blunder and that ‘investigators had sufficient evidence to make an arrest.’

Some things just seem unfathomable.

Drug  Injecting Room, life saver or desecrator ?

Drug Injecting Room, life saver or desecrator ?

The long-awaited report by former Police Commissioner Ken Lay into the possible location of another Safe injecting room for the CBD is now moot, having not seen the light of day.

There is now overwhelming evidence that the purpose of the facility, Called MSIR, to care for drug addicts has failed, and more addicts die as a result of the existence and function of the facility than happens without it.

An eighteen-month analysis of the MSIR overdose rates makes for a compelling read and reality check.

Not only is the facility an abject failure operationally, but the community impact has failed to be considered, and many of the locals and residents have been forced to live in a twilight of fear. Their crime is that they are unfortunate enough to happen to live in an area where the Government has placed the MSIR.

The two reasons alone that should force the Government to close the facility are:

  1. MSIR failure to perform its intended function. Intended to reduce the death rate of addicts, the MSIR overdose rates are 23.5/1000 or 102 times higher than the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC); the MSIR doesn’t work and must be immediately closed to save the lives of addicts.

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A graph of death deaths Description automatically generated with medium confidence

See PDF for more detail: Analysis of the Melbourne MedicallySupervised Injecting Room’s heroin overdose rates in its first 18 months.

Yes, you guessed it; the MSIR does not save lives and has not reduced the death rate of addicts but increased it. Not to mention providing the drug trade with a focal point for trading akin to a market.

2.    The suffering inflicted on the residents is beyond comprehension for a failed social experiment. The MSIR is a magnet and has become the epicentre of the illicit street drug trade in Victoria, with addicts all over the state travelling to the MSIR not necessarily to use the facility but to access the rampant drug trade.

The addicts, having driven to the site to access drugs, do not drive home sober but pull up not far from the MSIR to consume their purchase before heading back from where they came. Metaphorically enjoying the trip.

That many of them drive to and from should be of enormous concern for the wider safety of the State.

The horror that the residents must endure is best illustrated by their experiences on March 6, 2024.

 

What long-term damage is caused to those 12-year-olds as drug apologists work to normalise Drug addiction? There are constant and terrifying stories that have become so regular the government dismisses them as a small number of disgruntled anti-drug locals intent on discrediting social advancement.

The objections to the injecting room concept are based in fact and will eventually force a rethink by the Government.

Let’s hope it is done before a local ends up the same way, as many of the addicts who use the facility – dead.

Or perhaps worse, there is an upsurge in young people being hooked on drugs because that behaviour is what they have grown up within a neighbourhood where the scourge has been normalised by the government.

The MSIR must be closed now; enough damage has been wrought, and there are alternatives.

POLICE EFFECTIVENESS – A BLEAK FUTURE.

POLICE EFFECTIVENESS – A BLEAK FUTURE.

One might call it the alignment of the stars. Still, we are inclined to view the current Police management as an alignment of the ineffective, more concerned about being woke and aligning themselves with an ideology driven by a limited number of politicians in government that, unfortunately, like in the Force, holds sway.

We have a Police Force that is ineffective and indifferent to our needs directly due to poor management driven by ideologues sidelining pragmatic Officers dedicated to the core principles of policing consistent with their Oath of Office and Peelian principles.

Fortunately, this insidious phenomenon has not infected all the senior officers. Still, of those who are, bring the honour of the Force down.

The statistics say it all, and the flimsy excuses no longer wash.

Whilst the crime rate soars, juvenile crime is out of control, and the deaths on our roads are rapidly escalating as the Force expends so much energy on being woke, it fails to adequately address the fundamental policing issues.

Given the VicPol performance and the latest risk assessments of the likelihood of terrorist activity on-shore, Victorians are rightly concerned as to whether the Police command is up to a challenge of this magnitude, particularly how the police might respond depending on the cause the terrorist represents.

Following policy set by the government of the day is necessary; however, that does not extend to following a particular ideology proffered by individuals within a government and not what the citizenry expected when they cast their ballot.

There is no mandate for a woke Force.

Police are individually entitled to their personal views; however, when this starts impinging on the operations of Victoria Police, which is not the plaything of the alleged enlightened officers of the Woke brigade, something has to be said.

The credibility and confidence in the Police Force is crumbling, and the remedial action needed is urgent. Unfortunately, some in the hierarchy are in denial, and that is going to make it difficult to rectify, so it is essential that those who suffer from this malaise must be moved out of the Force as a matter of urgency.

The mantra to all police at all levels should be ‘go woke, go somewhere else’.

Over the last few years, politicisation, wokeness and the inward focus have developed a pattern that makes these issues very concerning and supports the view that the Victoria Police has become an arm or weapon of not only one political party but appears to show loyalty to one faction of the party.

A pattern developed as a string of issues supports the hypothesis that the Force backs the Left factions of the government.

Israel-Hamas War Demonstrations Response

Police may have exposed the Force to litigation by their response, failing to uphold their sworn duty.

The police argued that they were avoiding the escalation of violence by tolerating Pro-Palestinian activities, but they were consenting to their behaviour, a recipe for further escalation.

It is a pity that the principle was not applied during the COVID-19 demonstrations.

Police need to do their sworn duty, encapsulated in their Oath of Office, which in part says,

“ – I will see and cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and that I will prevent to the best of my power all offences, and that while I continue to be a police officer, I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties legally imposed on me faithfully and according to law.”

How conflicted must front-line police feel when pushed towards breaching their Oath by Command decisions?

The latest incident was when, for the first time, pro-Palestinian demonstrators were arrested. With all the anti-Jewish pro-Palestine demonstrations, there were no arrests; the victims, however, were penalised, but now pro–Palestine demonstrators have been arrested for disrupting a Gay event.

It seems it is ok for the pro-Palestinians to demonstrate and be violent towards the Jews, but it took a disruption of a Gay event before any Police action was taken against these thugs.

It is a pity the Police didn’t protect the Jews impacted like they did the Gays.

Gay Pride March response.

The CAA  position is that what Police do in their own time as it relates to their sexuality is their business, and it should remain that way unless it is affecting their Police function. Irrespective of any issue, police must remain dispassionate in performing their duty and not become part of events.

The previous Gay Pride march was marred by violence and not by Police dealing with violent demonstrators, but by the Police involving themselves       -they became part of the problem willingly or not.

The blame for allowing police to put themselves in this position must be ‘sheeted home’ to Command.

Various gay events or celebrations have had uniformed Police taking part over quite a few years; however, VicPol failed to read the room and understand that the uniformed police presence was no longer welcome.

The staff commitment to the march hurts the Police service delivery, and with arguments that the force numbers are down and the crime rate ballooning, as is the Road toll, how can the force afford to take so many police away from operations for this frolic?

The response by VicPol to this debacle of policymaking was surprisingly utterly inadequate.

‘We will return’ was the VicPol message, a parody of General Douglas MacArthur’s famous ‘I will return’ made in a war setting.

This very ‘bolshy’ response would no doubt appeal to the hairy-chested knuckle draggers in VicPol. The other side, however, will be super-charged by the challenge. You can bet that planning for the next event to screw the cops is well-advanced.

If the mistake is compounded by police again marching with this or any similar group, you can guarantee there will be an escalation of violence.

Hotheads cannot prevail.

A mea culpa is essential, and as it would be the cause for reducing lawlessness and couched in that way, the community would support the action as responsible.

Let’s hope Victoria exercises the same sensible approach as NSW and withdraws from direct involvement in politicised causes.

Drawing a comparison between the over-the-top COVID responses and current strategies is telling. Although we are confident in the actual frontline police, it is their master’s that are cause for genuine concern.

We despair as to what lies ahead and how future challenges faced by police will be managed; challenges of various magnitudes are inevitable, and some significant changes at executive and sub-executive levels are now critical to ensure that the ability to handle the unexpected is capable of being done.

This is an old but apt adage, given that many results are less than optimum to date.

‘- if you do the same tomorrow as you did today, do not expect a different result.’

CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

The CAA has published a series of Plans aimed at identifying issues in the law and order space that adversely impact all of us. The current iteration is PLAN 100.3, updating the last version, published in 2019.

A lot has happened in the intervening years. This paper will update the community about the issues we identify and provide suggestions to decision-makers on how things can be improved.

We welcome any comments and hope this paper informs the broader community to pressure for change.

Plan 100.3 Word Doc

Plan 100.3 PDF

50,000 eyes = ‘Road Watch’.

50,000 eyes = ‘Road Watch’.

Very interesting statistics reveal that drivers in this State are being watched by over 50,000-eyes by concerned citizens who are prepared to report bad driving behaviour to the police through 000.

The problem is the bad drivers don’t know it.

Unfortunately, there is a disproportionate response from VicPol to these community efforts, with only .09% of calls acted on, or only 45 calls in 12 months.

Of those 45 calls, several very serious offences were disclosed, and drivers were charged.

Whether data is collected incorrectly, the Police switch off these reports due to other priorities, or they are not explicitly allocated the task (accountability), so no one does anything. These are management matters that VicPol needs to address.

These figures are shocking and, if true, are an indictment of VicPol’s priority for road safety. We accept that the number responded to will always be limited as the caller is vague or similar, but not 99%.

Anything less than a 50% response would not be acceptable and raise serious concerns, but .09% is very serious.

We accept that many reported incidents are written off as ‘No Offence disclosed’ (NOD) or ‘Gone on Arrival’ (GOA), but not 99% without investigating the over 50,000 reported incidents. This is outrageous if anywhere near accurate.

This negative must be turned into a positive, hence ‘Road Watch’.

A ‘Road Watch’ community Police initiative will enable drivers who are perceived to be dangerous to be targeted.

Irresponsible drivers will be unaware of the number of other drivers watching them, and the old driver’s habit of watching the rearview mirror for police has long waned, simply due to the inability of the police to maintain a high profile on our roads.

There is a high probability that this effect is directly proportionate to the lack of police activity on our roads and the increased reliance on technology.

Whether the lack of Police on our roads is due to a capability issue, lack of resources or how the resources are used, VicPol must wrestle with these things. Nevertheless, the roads would be safer if all drivers knew their bad driving could be reported to the police.

The promotion of this initiative will warn drivers that they will not only have to look out for police, but there are 50,000 eyes in the community watching them and potentially reporting their behaviour behind the wheel, but they will not know which other vehicle on the road is a ‘Road Watch’ participant.

We are consistently told Police presence on the roads, particularly the highways, is very poor. With community help, bad driver behaviour can be influenced throughout the State, augmenting the lack of Police resources.

Significant flaws in the current process relating to failed service delivery need to be addressed urgently.

  • All calls must be allocated to an operational unit member; albeit the traditional overarching ‘Keep a look out for’ may be appropriate, the job still needs to be assigned and investigated. Keeping a lookout cannot be measured as an outcome.
  • The responsible member must contact the person making the report as soon as possible to enable the matter to be investigated. (Information from members of the public may not have been effectively passed via police comms.)
  • The outcome must be logged for management functions.
  • All data collected must be automatically cross-referenced to all reports to identify any driver patterns requiring attention.
  • All calls from the public about bad driving must be given a much higher priority and, with that, ensure greater accountability.

Moreover, how is it known whether the complainant has additional information, perhaps Dash-cam footage, that may help identify a driver if they are not contacted after their report? All these matters must be investigated.

This is all part of the Service Delivery Matrix, or should be.

The effectiveness of any Police Force is directly and intrinsically linked to the level of information from the public. Without public support, the Police become ineffective.

Public information and support regarding road users is critical.

The failure of the Police to contact all citizens motivated to contact the Police on 000 about bad drivers with an outcome for their efforts and to thank them for their diligence is inexcusable given its importance.

Not communicating with callers is counterproductive to fostering further help from the community and developing better and more productive Police Community interactions.

Informing all drivers that they are being watched will lead to better compliance.

‘Road Watch’

The CAA makes the following recommendations.

  • VicPol must respect the community’s efforts by elevating responses to callers to a higher priority.
  • All callers be advised to expect a phone call from the attending police.
  • All calls where a driver or vehicle is identified must be automatically cross-checked to other databases, enabling Police to take action against recidivist perpetrators.
  • VicPol immediately review the information gathered on 000 calls to provide accurate data.
  • All calls about bad drivers must be specifically allocated to members to investigate.
  • Members allocated calls must contact the complainants to
    • Discuss the incident for investigative reasons and
    • Thank the caller for their interest.
  • For management efficiency, the priority of all 000 ‘Road Watch’ calls must be allocated to a Highway Patrol unit, the Force traffic experts to investigate the issues.
  • Develop a high-profile Road safety campaign highlighting ‘Road Watch’ and the 50,000 eyes watching and reporting bad road users.

This last recommendation will inevitably motivate more community members to participate, which is a good outcome for reducing the frequency of impaired driving and promoting more respect for Police from the community.

The Road Toll can be directly attributed to impaired driving, so targeting this area is logical and sensible. With community support, a reduction in the toll is achievable.

Even if the outcome of an identified driver does not disclose an offence, a knock on the door from police to advise (rather than accuse) that their driving is inappropriate and was reported by other road users will suffice to correct many imperfect drivers.

It makes sense that Police efforts to reduce the road toll are targeted at bad drivers, who are inevitably the primary cause of the raging Road Toll.

‘Road Watch’ -50,000-eyes can be an effective weapon.

To all readers of CAA articles.

To all readers of CAA articles.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) regularly publishes articles on our website on a variety of issues we see as important and in the public interest.

Comments from readers of our material help us judge whether we are on the right track.

We ask for and encourage you, the readers, to provide us with feedback that is essential to our endeavours.  In this way we can direct our efforts to matters that concern you most.

If you care to donate to the CAA, whatever the magnitude, the means of so doing is on our website.  The stronger our finances, the greater our reach and influence.

No members of the CAA hold paid positions.

POLICE PRIDE MARCH A VALUABLE LESSON.

POLICE PRIDE MARCH A VALUABLE LESSON.

To see police involved in a fracas  at the recent Pride march is deplorable. This outcome was inevitable, and police should never have put themselves in this position.

Irrespective of who was the instigator of the melee, the Police, instead of performing the police function to solve a social problem, were part of it.

The seeds for this outcome were sown some twenty years ago when the Police moved from policing the event to being part of it.

The CAA logo features Lady Justice, who is depicted as blindfolded, showing Justice is blind.

The meaning is profound and forms the basis of our Justice system, which includes the Police.

Police must never become part of the issue and remain independent to exercise their powers in a dispassionate way, not showing favouritism or bias to the problems they are policing.

Being part of this march destroys impartiality and undermines the fundamental role of the Police.

We also noticed Police uniforms adorned in trinkets supporting the pride genera. These displays, supporting a particular cause, would be irreverent to many and detract from the impartiality that Police should project and preserve.

These displays must not be worn on uniforms or, for that matter, any clothing while a police member is on duty. It is a matter of professional pride.

It also could be argued that this police activity is in breach of their Oath of Office.

…that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign as a police officer in Victoria in any capacity in which I may be appointed, promoted, or reduced to, without favour or affection, malice or ill-will for the period of [ insert period ] from this date, and until I am legally discharged, that I will see and cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and that I will prevent to the best of my power all offences, and that while I continue to be a police officer I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties legally imposed on me faithfully and according to law.

This issue has nothing to do with the personal preferences exercised by any member of the Force in their private lives. That is their business, and if they want to march, they have every right to participate, just not in uniform.

In many ways, this clash was inevitable.

According to reports, there has been anti-police sentiment for a long time, and leadership should have been taken to avoid the inevitable confrontation.

In this event, participants dress up gregariously, as is their right; however, by high-level participation by the Police, they are relegating the uniform to fancy dress.

There are always huge risks when police favour one particular group, and we are confident that the Police Command would not tolerate uniformed Police marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, anti-COVID, Union movement, anti-government, environmental or the myriad of other special interest groups.

The test may again come as those who support Palestine become more vociferously anti-Israel as that war drags on.

Police, like all Australians, are entitled to exercise their right to lawful assembly, just not in uniform.

We encourage Victoria Police, in the interest of fair justice for all, to issue a direction that police on or off duty cannot participate in any demonstrations or cause in uniform.

Demonstrating a bias for or against any particular interest group is counterintuitive to effective policing.

CALL TO ACTION – YOUTH CRIME

30th Jan 2024

Youth crime is out of control in Victoria. What is the Government and the Courts doing to curb the current crime pandemic?  Absolutely nothing.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) warned of this almost nine years ago.  Sadly, our warning was ignored.

People in Victoria do not feel safe from youth gangs and young, aggressive, violent, offenders. Violent home invasions, carjackings and theft of cars in endemic and serious assaults, often involving knives, have become commonplace.

How can this blight on society be curbed?

Firstly, the idiocy of raising the age of criminality to fourteen must be abandoned. It is ideology overriding common sense.

Secondly, the Judiciary must adopt a more realistic regime on penalising youth criminal behaviour.  Repeatedly bailing young offenders without imposing strict, enforced conditions is lunacy.  Curfews and electronic tracking must be immediately introduced. Prohibiting contact with co-accused is also necessary to break the cycle of peer pressure.  Home detention instead of jail is a viable option with an exception to allow attendance at school which must be mandatory.

Thirdly, a proactive regime of crime prevention is required.  Making arrests is reactive not proactive.

Victoria Police, as part of its mandate, is required to fight, reduce and prevent crime.

In 1989 Victoria Police introduced a Police in Schools (PISP) Program.

This program was delivered by police trained for the purpose.

PISP – The aims of the program were:

  • to reduce the incidence of crime in society;
  • to develop a better relationship between police and youth in the community;
  • to create in young people an understanding of the police role in the structure of society;
  • to extend the concept of the crime prevention into the Victorian school system;
  • to equip young people with the necessary skills to avoid dangerous and threatening situations.

Along with these specific aims, behavioural objectives were set, and after participation in the program, young people were able to:

  • demonstrate the values, responsibilities and obligations current society deems valuable;
  • state the consequences of a person’s actions regarding unlawful behaviour;
  • demonstrate sufficient self-esteem and skill to avoid or reduce and delay the uptake of illicit drugs and resist engaging in anti-social behaviour;
  • engage in positive interactions and consultation with police members:
  • state the basic role of police and the legal system in Victoria.

In order to achieve the above aims and objectives, the program delivered a core structure of seven 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.

In a reintroduced PISP there should be three further themes added:

  • anti-bullying strategies;
  • domestic violence avoidance;
  • road traffic safety;

All of these ten themes would closely interlink with the school curriculum thus enhancing the relevance of the program to the school community and the learning of the young people concerned.

Students, following their participation in the PISP, were able to:

  • demonstrate the values, responsibilities and obligations current society deems valuable;
  • state the consequences of a person’s actions regarding unlawful behaviour;
  • demonstrate sufficient self-esteem and skill to say no to drug abuse and other antisocial behaviour;
  • engage in positive interactions and consultation with police members;
  • state the basic role of police and the legal system in Victoria;
  • develop a better understanding between police and youth in society;
  • gain an understanding of the police role in the structure of society;
  • be equipped with the necessary skills to avoid dangerous and threatening situations.

The PISP was a resounding success as confirmed by an academic review conducted by Monash University, the results released in 2004.

Where the PISP operated there was a sharp reduction in graffiti, other acts of vandalism, petty crime and anti-social behaviour.  Violent home invasions, carjacking and serious assaults were unknown or very rare.

Many teachers reported that those in their charge were more respectful of them, each other, and were better behaved in class and easier to teach.  Many teachers also reported that they felt safer in the school environment.

Curbing disruptive behaviour in classes also ensured the education of students wanting to learn was not interfered with.  This was and is an important consideration.  The current youth lawlessness also contributes to the drop in literacy standards in our education system, as this lawlessness inevitably seeps into schools.

In 2006 the then Chief Commissioner, Nixon, in an act of proactive policing vandalism, abolished the program after an internal review reported the program was producing excellent results but was poorly managed.

The CAA demands the Government immediately address the youth crime issues by:

  • Abandoning the move to raise the age of criminality.
  • Requiring the Judiciary to adopt a more realistic regime on penalising youth criminal behaviour.
  • Requiring the Victoria Police to reintroduce a PISP and properly resource this Program.

If no action is taken, it will be inevitable police will have to be stationed in schools to maintain law and order, enabling schools to function.  A reintroduced PISP is by far the better option as part of the education process.

We, the citizens of Victoria, have had enough of juvenile crime.

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST A BETTER WAY.

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST A BETTER WAY.

The drug issue in Canada has become so bad the headline’ Canada is Dying’ has resonance. As they desperately try to save their Country, we need to learn and act before the Canadian experience is repeated here.

The CAA has been trying to convince those who make decisions on the drug issue their directions are wrong with little success. As frustrating as this may be, sometimes you are exposed to the effort of others, which reinvigorates. Their experiences and successes confirm that we are on the right path, and the popular theory of ‘Harm Minimisation’, or more accurately, the ‘Drug Facilitation’ strategy, is badly flawed, having been hijacked by the pro-drug lobby.

The ‘Harm Minimisation’ pro-drug lobby will loudly and forcefully defend the strategy, and they have led governments both here and overseas in this failed direction, with many jurisdictions trying to walk back from this concept as the drug issue grows beyond control and the death toll and the suffering of addicts escalates at an alarming rate. Not to mention community harm, which grows expediently with the explosion of addicts.

This heightened problem with drugs is directly attributable to this misused ‘Harm Minimisation’ strategy, with its centrepiece being Drug Injecting Rooms.

Bringing about a change to the three pillars strategy, Education/prevention, Law enforcement and Treatment, is not going to be easy because the Pro Drug lobby is well organised and viciously vocal.

The illicit drug industry is the only beneficiary of the continuing strategy of ‘Harm Minimisation as it is currently applied. How facilitating drug use in Injecting Rooms is ‘Harm Minimisation’ is a mystery.

There are possibly those who are genuinely convinced that the Drug rooms and the ‘Harm Minimisation’ strategy are in the best interests of addicts, but the false benefits of this approach have skewed their views.

Every time you are exposed to the screeching of proponents of ‘Harm Minimisation’ attempting to lay collective guilt on the community, those proponents are delivering the pro-drug strategies of dark forces.

There is only one way to address the problem we face: dump the current failed approach and embrace the ‘Three Pillars’ strategy, which will save lives.

We have previously looked to Canada to see the effects of the various strategies, how they evolve to deal with the market variables, and, importantly, what we can expect looking forward.

The Drug lords and Organised Crime cartel’s insatiable appetite for rivers of gold will be motivation enough as new combinations of drugs are more profitable, easier to manufacture and harder to detect.

Given the loud advocacy for the status quo, the pall of suspicion hangs over many of those pushing the failed strategy. We wonder whether the rivers of gold enjoyed by the drug Tsars have tributaries finding their way into the pockets of ‘Harm Minimisation advocates’.

Canada is currently dealing with a significant influx of Fentanyl. Combined with other drugs, like Ketamine, it can also cause other serious physical impairments, afflicting users with terrible infections, abscesses, strokes or paralysis, the horrific effects of which can sometimes require amputation and can lead to an excruciating death, hence its nickname: the zombie drug.

More than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid overdoses since 2016. The root of this crisis lies in the proliferation of the manufactured opioid fentanyl, the culprit in more than 85 per cent of these deaths.

Fentanyl is far more powerful than many older and more familiar opioids; it is 40 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Beyond its addictive properties, fentanyl is cheap to manufacture, very hard to detect, and twice as addictive as other drugs.

A long overdue examination of whether the palatably named ‘Harm Reduction’ has morphed into its nemesis see the latest findings of Injecting Rooms efficacy. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ucp-supervised-consumption-site-review-committee-announcement-findings-1.5486579

Canadian British Columbia province Alberta has seven consumption sites, and the Government is trying to bring the three pillars into balance as the consumption sites are drug facilitation facilities without any attempt to rehabilitate or divert users. They now tend to accept that the sites are responsible for the broader use of drugs and justify their existence by questionable statistics, something that has been alleged to occur here.

An article by Canadian Susan Martinuk  https://c2cjournal.ca/2024/01/harm-reduction-is-killing-b-c-s-addicts-theres-a-better-way/ provides a balanced and insightful view on the issues being confronted.

Coincidently and interestingly, Alberta has a group, the Odd Squad, which provides guidance and advice to authorities. Unashamedly, Alberta harvests the wisdom of this group of former Police officers and others.

This group has eerily similarities to the CAA.

JUVENILE BAIL, SHOULD WE, OR SHOULDN’T WE?

JUVENILE BAIL, SHOULD WE, OR SHOULDN’T WE?

As the debate over Bail laws for juveniles rages, the proponents on the side of the ‘relaxation of laws’, ‘for the good of the child’ have lost sight of reality.

The two concepts, ‘relaxation of laws’ and ‘for the good of the child’ is an oxymoron.

A sceptic may also conclude that this move is a cynical government strategy to show how the youth problem has diminished by excluding large numbers of the youngest cohort from the statistical criminal matrix, thereby solving the youth problem.

The problem, however, is the giant chasm between what these proponents preach and the reality the juvenile interprets.

Some time ago, the CAA met with the executives of a well-known and, up until that time, in our view, a highly respected major youth-focused charitable organisation to discuss the issues and strategies that might be co-jointly pursued to help young offenders.

In discussing the Police Cautioning program, we raised the concept that minor penalties could be applied to juveniles with consent and agreement from the child’s parents. For example, we suggested that the juvenile’s phone be surrendered for fourteen days or report to the police station to do chores, etc.

The response was akin to threatening juvenile offenders with purgatory as they exposed their agenda.

They were clearly and stridently opposed to the Police Cautioning Program and initiatives like the Police in Schools Program. Not that they could annunciate the problems with either.

It seemed they were motivated and basing their views on some ideological zealotry.

And of greatest surprise was their absolute lack of care for the child’s welfare and the approach of no consequences for unlawful behaviour or, for that matter, any plausible result for the child’s behaviour or meaningful action that may reduce the repetition of the behaviour.

How the child’s unlawful behaviour could be corrected, or the dangers to the child mitigated with no intervention were beyond a reasoned view.

They also could not identify a circumstance where a child should be incarcerated, whether in sentencing or on Bail.

The adverse risk to the children was obvious, but that the community must accept and tolerate this behaviour was outrageous.

Whoever is promoting the lifting of the age of criminal responsibility is tarred with the same brush of ignorance.

When a young person’s lousy behaviour escalates to violence against others, a substantial intervention of consequences must be applied to the child very quickly if the behaviour is to be modified.

Failure to do this is the cause of the current escalation in overall juvenile violent crime.

Some fundamental traits in immature young people are critical to expect to achieve behavioural change.

  • Time – Young people live in different time zones than adults, and as we age, we learn that an hour or a day for a mature adult, for a young person, would equate to a day or forever. This phenomenon translates into watering down dramatically the impact of the legal process on a child whose life has moved on substantially before consequences, if any, are applied.
  • Consequential outcomes of actions – Children may not consider the consequences of their actions and will continue to act violently until they do.

The current example of three young people pushing an elderly man fishing off a pier, falling some 5 meters into the sea, is an example. Thankfully, the old man who couldn’t swim was rescued by onlookers.

There would have been no rational thought from the youths that the consequences may lead to the death of the man.

  • Youth Bail – Excessive use of their right to Bail contributes markedly to our current problems. A youth released on bail gains bragging rights and believes they have beaten the charges. This alleged badge of honour escalates violent behaviour as associates are led to believe there will be no consequences for their violent behaviour either, so any deterrent effect on others is lost.

There must be an urgent review of the management of young offenders with an emphasis on consequences for unlawful behaviour.

That review must consider the matters we have raised and determine an efficient and appropriate system for managing young people.

The passionate argument of never incarcerating young people must be quashed as it is as essential to protect the community as it is to protect the child. Incarceration is a must if there is no viable alternative. We do not advocate incarcerating all young offenders but only when it is reasonably necessary, but all offenders must suffer some consequences.

The risks that can be argued opposing incarceration of ‘making the offender worse’ we differ ‘worse than what’. Violence in any form must be punished.  Assaults, carjacking and home invasions must be stamped out.

If there are issues with the detention system, then fix the system.

The current system appears broken, but that has more to do with activists fiddling with it for ideological reasons as the system, even with some failings, has historically served us well, or indeed better than it currently does.

Fiddling with the bail laws and the age of criminal responsibility are just that, tinkering around the edges without a holistic approach that would achieve meaningful outcomes.

Curfews and tracking devices for recidivist offenders are a ‘no brainer’.

The actual legislative changes to achieve better outcomes are relatively small. Changing the mindset of key players in the youth space might be more of a challenge; however, if their function was measured against benchmarks, instilling accountability with consequences into these functions, meaningful changes might be quicker than anticipated.

HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

Although this man appears severely drug-affected, nevertheless, he has become a victim, and this victim deserves the protection of the law without judgment. He was ushered onto the road allegedly by the staff of the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR).

Police, however, seemingly have new investigative techniques.

There is apparently no need to interview witnesses or make decisions based on the facts; in other words, there is no need to conduct an investigation, as it was traditionally called, and they can make arbitrary decisions based on nothing much.

A sceptic may speculate that the investigation was knobbled or that the Police want to avoid any complex work.

But perhaps what the victim is, had a significant bearing.

Maybe the basic police philosophy of executing the law without fear or favour is obsolete.

Perhaps because the Victim is a very heavy drug user, it is not worth their effort?

As much as we despise illicit drugs and their use, we equally detest any action that would further harm addicts, including facilitating their addiction, as the MSIR does, but in this case, the matter goes to a whole new low in the care of addicts.

The incident  shows the victim being escorted from the MSIR precinct out onto busy Lenox Street Richmond, effectively ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with the traffic. The only reason the victim was not injured or killed was the responsible drivers of the vehicles at the time.

It was more luck than good judgment that a large commercial vehicle didn’t happen along at that moment as the outcome could have been disastrously different.

The CAA reported this serious criminal offence, Conduct Endangering Life, to the Chief Commissioner’s Office and subsequently to a senior police detective.

The offence reported was.

A person must not recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death (Crimes Act 1958 s22).

Judicial College of Victoria:

This particular incident was substantially aggravated because the perpetrators were identified by witnesses to be allegedly employees/staff of the Richmond North Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR), who would be well aware of the risk posed to the victim and have an elevated ‘duty of care’ for the victim, above the average person.

Although there is a legislated level of protection within the MSIR, if the victim used the MSIR to get into that state, it was, perhaps, negligent or deliberate indifference by the staff medically supervising the victim, which may negate protection. A matter that should be investigated.

Of further interest is whether the staff leading the victim onto the road acted on instructions. It would be gross negligence to instruct staff, knowing their actions could be illegal, as there is no protection for workers outside the MSIR. This aspect must be investigated.

Apart from the legal aspects, this behaviour by the MSIR is reprehensible in that, as a direct result of their actions, they placed the victim back in the community, which ultimately, Police and emergency services will have to deal with. All because the MSIR abrogated their moral and perhaps legal responsibility to the victim.

Alleged MSIR Staff is escorting the victim – more alleged MSIR Staff following- Witnesses to the event.

On the day following the reporting of this crime, we were contacted to say there would be no action as a prosecution would not be likely to succeed.

How these detectives formed that opinion without interviewing the potential witnesses, a process called an investigation, is beyond us.

Why up to five persons allegedly from the MSIR were not formally interviewed is staggering, let alone the many witnesses that appeared on the CCTV footage. Pedestrians’ and drivers’ vehicle registration details were available from the footage.

Before lodging the report, we asked several retired, experienced detectives to view footage of the incident we had obtained.

Their view of the circumstance was unanimous; there is an unambiguous ‘prima facia’ case of Conduct Endangering Life by three to four individuals, and the matter must be thoroughly investigated. The likelihood of a successful prosecution was optimistic.

By the actions of these individuals, it was clear the drug-affected person was being ejected from the MSIR vicinity, which happens to be a public place, and they have no power to do this.

The key to this ejection was the state of the addict, who was not in control of his actions and rational thought, something the people concerned were the MSIR staff would be aware of.

The offence of endangering life has several elements, as the Victorian Judicial College describes.

This offence has the following five elements:

  1. The accused engaged in conduct;
  2. The accused’s conduct was voluntary;
  • The accused’s conduct endangered another person’s life;
  1. The accused acted recklessly; and
  2. The accused acted without lawful authority or excuse (R v Nuri [1990] VR 641; Filmer v Barclay [1994] 2 VR 269; Mutemeri v Cheesman [1998] 4 VR 484; R v Wilson [2005] VSCA 78; R v Abdul-Rasool (2008) 18 VR 586; R v Marijancevic (2009) 22 VR 576).

Central to any investigation would be establishing the identity of those involved.

In this incident, given the quality of the evidence from the CCTV, the five elements would seem clear-cut, so how did the detectives decide that no offence was determined within a few hours (overnight)?

This matter must now be investigated by a competent, independent investigation team led by an experienced Officer above the rank of the original team. Essentially, that independence must extend to the MSIR, which we understand has a close working relationship with local Police. An investigation must be conducted in a manner to avoid bias.

The new investigation must not be established to determine that no offence was committed; unfortunately, often, the police response to critiques of their work, and investigators must prepare a brief of properly collated evidence to evaluate the circumstances and the facts accurately.

The actions of the allegedly MSIR staff, apart from being recklessly criminal, if involved, were a shocking breach of their ‘duty of care’ and finally exposed the reckless indifference the facility employs towards drug users.

The MSIR is a facility purely for the furtherance of drug use, as demonstrated in this incident. This victim may have even achieved his state in the facility, indicating that the ethos of the facility is devoid of any ‘duty of care’.

SUBURBAN POLICE DRAGGED INTO THE CITY TO MANAGE PROTESTS.

POLICE RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION – Part 2

The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, built in 1250 and located on the Île de la Cité (an island in the Seine) in Paris, was gutted by fire in 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron declared at the time that the Cathedral would be completely rebuilt.

The task, starting with the foundations and everything above, is slated for reopening in 2024, six years after what was criticised as a very optimistic five-year target set by Macron.

And what relevance does this dauntless undertaking have to Victoria Police and the current industrial relations issue? Quite a lot.

Given all the challenges faced by the French, this arduous task will be one of the most outstanding achievements of all time, demonstrating that given the right goals, an unwavering focus on the result and motivation, anything can be achieved.

The critical issues required to achieve this outcome are,

  • Visionary and intellectually sound Leadership,
  • Unwavering support from the political class,
  • A committed artisan workforce who could see the goals set,
  • and an equally committed citizenry.

Each of these components is of equal value to achieve the overall goal.

Those values directly correlate with how to address the problems of Victoria Police and how the issue must be approached – the Industrial action is but a symptom of a more significant issue that needs the application of the principles adopted by the French.

The first challenge for those with executive influence over the Force is to admit shortcomings and address them head-on rather than deflect them with spin. For many problems, Industrial Relations tops the list; solutions cannot be achieved with a series of band-aids but by addressing the core issues.

While the current IR issues must be resolved, unless authentic leadership comes to the fore and restoration of this once great organisation is undertaken to be the benchmark for policing in Australia again, IR issues will continue to plague the organisation and increase in frequency, sucking the energy that should be applied to its function, impacting adversely on the Workforce and  Service delivery.

We will persist in drawing attention to the issues that require urgent consideration.

ISSUES

  • COVID Impact on Police

Policing is a proud and was generally a highly respected profession.

There is no doubt that the use of the police by the Government during the COVID pandemic has done enormous harm to the standing of police in the community. The current disquiet and much of the disastrous staff retention failures can be attributed to COVID. The damage done is seismic and will linger, reverberating for at least a decade or more.

The police have worn the brunt of much of the displeasure caused by the Government strategies implemented during COVID, mainly experienced in their private lives through friends, acquaintances and family, making it more emphatic than normal community disquiet.

We, as observers with some knowledge of the processes that should be followed and best practices in law enforcement, consider that the government’s strategy to scare the pants off the community coupled with overzealous and incompetent police leaders collided, trampling all over the Separation of Powers to produce some very ordinary policing of the type we usually only see in other undemocratic countries with authoritarian regimes.

We are still astounded that the person who authorised the use of firearms to disperse demonstrators has not been identified and charged with serious criminal offences or, at the very least, relieved of any command positions because of an appalling lack of judgement.

To this day, there has been no plausible deniability from VicPol.

Given that leaders, both Political and Police, are quick to apologise for anything historical, the failure to acknowledge the many COVID errors and commit to change shows abysmal leadership.

The CAA has long argued that the responsible use of water cannons to rapidly achieve law and order by dampening the spirits of lawbreakers in the first instance or forcibly moving demonstrators if non-compliance continues is substantially more appropriate than firing rubber bullets (capable of inflicting severe injury or death) or exposing Police to injury trying to restore order. This option must be put under earnest consideration.

  • Roads Policing

As is not unexpected, given the reaction by the Police and the Politicians (if they ever care to comment constructively), there is much-feigned handwringing and teeth-gnashing over the shocking road toll. Victoria has recorded its highest number of lives lost on the roads in 15 years, with 296 people killed. The death toll of almost 300 easily eclipsed the 241 who died in accidents in 2022.

One would have thought strident gains in policing our roads would have improved markedly over fifteen years, but apparently not.

These figures support the regular anecdotal claims that there are never Police on the road.

This statement in response to the carnage was attributed to Victoria police by the Herald Sun and shows the narrow thinking of VicPol –

Police allege,

“Single acts of non-compliance or people making basic driving errors”, such as failing to obey road signs and red lights, using mobile phones behind the wheel and low-range spee

ding, have accounted for more than half of the deaths, while stunts such as high-range drink driving, illicit drug driving and excessive speeding made up about a quarter of fatal collisions.

Further, about 10 per cent of people killed were not wearing a seat belt”.SEO

 What they don’t say, and is not in their DNA to admit, is that they have failed. Just blaming the public; it’s always somebody else’s fault. Although there is a modicum of merit in their allegations, the Policing function of preventing offences and prosecuting offenders cannot be abrogated and has clearly and dismally failed. Many of these offences would dramatically decline with adequate visible enforcement of the rules.

Although there is still an Assistant Commissioner for Traffic, it is our understanding that line control of these Police rests with the Operations Command and has, in effect, absorbed the specialist Traffic Police to support the Operational General Duties. They must be allocated to their own command to meaningfully target areas that can deal with some of the ‘non-compliance issues’ and be accountable.

The Traffic police have lost their deterrent effect, which must be fixed. Just painting ‘Highway Patrol’ on their vehicles doesn’t cut it. The average driver no longer keeps an eye on their rearview mirror in case the police check their speed; technology (Speed Cameras) has its advantages but has nowhere near the deterrent effect of a patrol car in real-time.

Using Highway Patrol for general duties should be a matter of last resort. As should the use of these Police in special operations unrelated to traffic.

A functional adjustment will dramatically improve productivity and a sense of worth and appreciation for what they do. It will also counter attrition issues from these members, considerably improving Industrial Relations.

The only caveat we put forth is that the nine-hour rotating roster could be dangerous to apply to these members as the challenge of nine hours of driving reduces the safety of members and, over consecutive days, may put them in danger of fatigue, an OH&S issue.

  • 000 calls from the public reporting dangerous drivers is a monumental Service delivery failure in that there is minimal follow-up of reports of poor driving, arguably aggravating an already dire policing failure on our roads.

mpressive until you look a little further and realise that without plausible explanations, it is smoke and mirrors, a deceitful and shocking attempt to con the public by VicPol or the contractors.

The other notable figure is that in 2022, 51,305 events were recorded. Now, that is odd and a 14,519 discrepancy. Fourteen thousand five hundred nineteen times, jobs not registered as incoming were despatched via the system.

Where did they materialise from?

We don’t know who is to blame for this statistical bleep. However, when you add to that, there is no assignment accountability; it does need proper investigation.

Once the call from the public is received, the CAD system enters the job, and an operator either assigns or despatches a unit.

We know that the vast majority of these calls are never attended and marked off on the CAD System as Gone on arrival (GOA), No Offence Disclosed (NOD), or the most usual response is Keep a look out for (KALF), a generic broadcast of the details reported or the other classic Unable to Locate (UTL) which can also mean we did not look.

There is no accountability, follow-up or feedback, even by SMS, of the outcome to the 51,305 publicly-minded community members doing their civic duty.

Only about 1,000 calls resulted in any real action, and as a result, 906 offences were detected, 117 offenders were apprehended, and six stolen cars were located.

This last statistical matrix should have every dedicated and competent Police member, irrespective of rank,  salivating at the potential and furious that this opportunity to make a real difference has been ignored for so long. Over 50,000 sets of eyes working for law and order is getting close, to policing nirvana. (Buddhism)

Examples of the CAD system as it should be,

  1. Two vehicles were seen “dragging” along Ferntree Gully Road Glen Waverley; theregistration numbers of both cars were provided.  There was no police vehicle available to attend, and the outcome was recorded as AAC (All Apparently Correct). A check of police records indicated that the probable driver of one vehicle had accumulated 19 demerit points and had recent criminal convictions for serious offences. He was into high-performance drag cars.  The caller was contacted and stated she was a nurse at the Alfred Hospital and constantly saw people in emergency involved in vehicle collisions. The drivers were ultimately interviewed and later pleaded guilty to driving offences in court.
  2. A Vehicle was seendriving dangerously on the Monash Freeway towards the city.  The supervising sergeant requested that a unit be directed to investigate.  The supervising sergeant replied shortly that the registered owner and the reporting person had been contacted. The registered owner stated that her granddaughter was driving the vehicle. A further check revealed that the granddaughter has numerous prior convictions associated with drug use.

Contrasted with

  • An example of tragic consequences was a drug-affected driver who was later convicted of culpable driving.  In 10 days before he caused a fatal collision, numerous calls were made to 000 reporting his erratic driving. Any of the incidents reported to police could have amounted to Conduct Endangering Life or Serious Injury, in which case it would have been open to Victoria Police members to arrest and bail him with conditions, thus providing an immediate response and saving a life; it never happened.

Can you imagine what impact VicPol could have on crime and traffic issues if the efforts of the public were respected and pursued? Not even a return ‘text’ with a note of thanks and the outcome to the instigator of the original call. So much for nurturing public help.

One would think having over 50,000 Victorians providing eyes for law enforcement would be respected and built upon, not treated with disdain.

Another example where it’s not how many police the force has but how they are used that is the key.

  • Service Delivery

This is critical to improving industrial relations as an organisation is respected for its ability to deliver its services. Hence, its staff reap the benefit of working in a rewarding environment and management is duly rewarded.

The problem for VicPol is that they seem not to understand what Service Delivery is, and it is regularly confused with Service Efficiency and masqueraded as Service Delivery. A good organisation constantly tests Service Efficiency proposals through the prism of Service Delivery, which always trumps efficiency.

Something more efficient is counterintuitive if it adversely impacts Service Delivery, the organisation’s primary function, and its purpose.

The lifeblood of Policing is information, and an area with the most significant conflicts between the two disciplines has collided to the detriment of good policing practises.

  • Telephone communications, much to our surprise, and we might add to the surprise of a Deputy Commissioner, who didn’t know you cannot ring Police Headquarters, the Police Headquarters phones have been disconnected. The switchboard has been closed. So, unless you have a particular member’s phone number, you will have enormous trouble communicating.

This example is just one of many where the decisions are made based on efficiency at the expense of service.

If you have ever tried to use the 113444 police assistance line, you are more likely not to be assisted but around as to make the effort a waste of time. But never fear, the police assistance line provides service efficiencies, albeit it fails dramatically in providing an efficient service.

An efficient switchboard would ironically save time and improve service both internally and externally. Improving both service efficiency and service delivery.

This is magnified throughout the Force, even down to local Police Stations ( -who at least have a Phone number), where several options will be given in answer to your call; the quantity varies on each station but can be a substantial number for the caller to determine which one they should use.

The responsibility to determine whom the caller should talk to has been placed on the caller, who is supposed to know the intricacies and duties within the station and who will deliver the required Service, not the service provider, VicPol. Often, much time is wasted bouncing a call around within a Station, and the one left frustrated, the caller, is supposed to be the person to whom police are required to provide a Service.

This approach is based on the flawed assumption that all callers know whom to talk to about their issues, but unlike the police, who have access to a detailed directory, the public is left to flounder. Blatant and entrenched Service Efficiency at the expense of Service Delivery as it allegedly saves Police resources and time, or does it? The answer is only an obscure maybe, but what about delivering the police service, an abject failure?

  • Tactical deficiencies affecting IR.

We have been concerned for some time about the lack of tactical expertise that unnecessarily puts the lives of police and the public at greater risk than they should otherwise. This issue is central to IR or should be.

With a heightened international upsurge in radical extremism, the risk to police has markedly increased again.

The blind adherence to two-up patrols translates into Police never being one-up, irrespective of the task. That effectively reduced police capability by up to 50%.

Police patrolling by vehicle or on foot in two-up or more patrols face greater danger than patrolling by themselves because,

    • A partner or partners distract members from their crucial defence mechanism, situational awareness.
    • Having to manage professional relationships and colleague dynamics can cloud the judgement of when to pursue an issue or back off.
    • Multiple Police involved in performing patrols can provide multiple attractive targets for the radicalised, and history has shown fewer police have been killed working one-up, making one-up patrols less dangerous.
    • The risk factors are exhibited by unnecessary police congregating to minimise their risks. Poor or inadequate supervision leads to Police being spectators (the most dangerous situation for any police member)and not performing any particular role at incidents. A spectator generally has no situational awareness and is in danger.

Again, anecdotally, we see the less stringent application of the two-up policy, which is good; however, any move in this direction must be taken with care as less experienced members may have no situational awareness policing skills. This should be the priority of Training and a skill that must be developed.

More often than not, the concept of one-up patrols is misunderstood and rapidly dismissed as some archaic policing practice when, in parts of the world, the idea is seen as cutting-edge for the safety and efficacy of the Policing role.

One-up patrols do not mean fewer police but more police vehicles, heightening the visible police presence and reducing risks by attending to calls simultaneously with other patrol vehicles.

As a station that might, on an average shift, field three vehicles, under this scenario, they would probably field five or six, substantially improving the efficacy of the police function for that shift. Once the initial phase of an incident is controlled, it may only require one member to finish collecting information for admin purposes or any other reason. The other police, who are not directly engaged, can be available for different tasks. It can be very effective with active and competent local supervision.

The issue of police safety working one up or with one or more partners was closely examined at https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/tbp049.pdf. The findings did not provide sufficient grounds for abandoning one-up patrols based on police safety or efficiency.

  • Technological agnosticism

This seems to have a substantially negative effect on Victoria Police. Everything in this area appears piecemeal and developed by a series of add-ons that do not achieve overall application cost-effectively.

The most recent issues involved the attempt to have all members issued an iPad, and the increased service efficiency sounded great until somebody woke up and that an iPad was a liability in the operations area and a risk to employees ‘ safety. Wrestling suspects while holding an iPad became an evident and terminal flaw.

The answer was to provide members with an iPhone, but instead of developing an iPhone that can perform the tasks of a body-worn camera, it is used as an add-on to the existing cameras.

Microelectronics Technology has developed miniaturised cameras that are currently used in medicine and other applications, so why not policing?

Micro cameras worn by Police connected to their iPhones would not be a giant leap technologically but would be welcomed by the members and improve their safety.

The cameras could then be used with facial recognition to scan suspects, establishing identity and other relevant police data on-site. This information can be vital for members’ safety during an interaction in the field.

  • G-Tags

A proposal long pursued by the CAA to apply technology currently available, to the police function.

Fitted to all vehicles, the G-Tag can,

    • Minimise the risk to police and the community by disabling moving vehicles remotely. The capacity to render a vehicle inoperable will dramatically reduce the need for ‘police pursuits’, the dangers to the community and police, and the inevitable property damage. The technology has been available for some time and has already been installed in many newer vehicles.
    • Provide more material of evidentiary value in prosecutions where a vehicle is involved,
    • Locate missing persons, reducing loss of life by self-harm,
    • Reduce the theft of vehicles and affect recovery before the ubiquitous torching of vehicles.
    • An aid to identifying perpetrators using vehicles.
    • Linked to the 000 reporting of dangerous driving, the G-Tag can verify that report and take action immediately. Using the current 50,000,000 calls coupled with an ability to respond immediately if the danger exists would have a monumentally positive impact on Road safety, criminality, and civil compliance.

There are other advantages set out in the proposal at https://caainc.org.au/?s=G-Tag .

We know that VicPol ran a pilot of an abridged version of the concept in Dandenong; however, given the approach adopted, it is a little wonder that the pilot failed. We suspect this was more about a deliberate attempt to discredit the idea rather than any effort to evaluate the proposal properly.

It was telling that at no stage did the management running the pilot attempt to contact or consult with the CAA so as to run an unbiased pilot.

What little information we have on the pilot indicates that those responsible for it had little idea of the concept and were piloting a system that removed all responsibility from policing, a trait we have seen in other approaches to other issues – avoiding responsibility, masked as Service Efficiency, and or lacking the ability to apply visionary and intellectually sound Leadership.

The critical issues required to achieve positive outcomes are lacking in Victoria Police, and leadership needs to follow the French model,

    • Visionary and intellectually sound Leadership,
    • Unwavering support from the political class,
    • A committed artisan workforce who could see the goals set,
    • and an equally committed citizenry.

These and other issues need attention, and we do not underestimate the task ahead, but if the French can do it with Notre Dame, then VicPol should have no problems achieving what seems unachievable; it just takes ‘Visionary and intellectually sound Leadership’.

The opportunity exists for VicPol leadership to create a seminal moment in Victoria Police history.

CONSISTENCY THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE POLICING

POLICE RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION Part 1

6th January 2024

The protected industrial action involving Victoria Police members and the Government has piqued our interest. We hope fervently that the matters are resolved quickly so that the service we expect from our Police Force is not further compromised.

Although police members have strongly indicated that community public safety will not be compromised, the mere fact that an industrial dispute is festering will distract police no matter how genuine their intention is.

Historically, the industrial issues that raise their head every few years could be correlated to a rise in the staff dissatisfaction index (if there was one).

A workforce that does not feel appreciated is poorly or over-managed and fails to achieve a satisfactory level of ‘job satisfaction’, which is the root cause of employee dissatisfaction, inevitably leads to industrial disputes when the employer adopts a strident approach.

We are not convinced that the negotiated issues as reports will resolve anything in the long term.

The stumbling blocks to a negotiated settlement are complex but seem to boil down to primarily finance and shift arrangements.

As for the financial component, there should be no hesitation in finding common ground. The Government must realise that for police to gain job satisfaction and perform at a higher standard, they must be appropriately renumerated.

The other ‘hot button’ issue is nine-hour shifts and nine-day fortnights; in our view, the opposing argument proffered by the Chief Commissioner is sound.

We are concerned that this ‘shift’ timing change may lead to less productivity as, anecdotally, we are constantly advised that the public does not always receive an adequate or timely response from police now, and there is no guarantee that this situation is likely to improve with current arrangements.

We are also concerned that police will suffer accumulated fatigue working consecutive nine-hour shifts. That can compromise the Police and the community’s safety.

Our most significant concern is that if this proposal gets up, the community will suffer, and job satisfaction issues will not have been addressed.

That will translate into the Force only being capable of providing even fewer police responses and reducing police proactive (prevention) work even further, possibly even eliminating it.

The visible Police presence will become more mythical than real.

Some of the critical issues are,

  • Police management. There has been substantial growth in the appointment of Senior executives, and with that, many lesser senior ranks to support the executive class are required. That translates to Police being removed from Operational tasks to backfill the administrative vacancy line these promotions create. This also means the executives need something to do to justify their appointment, so decisions are drawn up to fill the allotted resource time, taking the power from the decision-makers closer to where the issue occurs. That is a fundamental and flawed management principle. Quality decisions are best achieved by those closer to the issue and, therefore, better understand what is at stake and the consequences.

This vital principle is critical to an organisation responsible for life and death issues. Less operational staff equals more workload for others, more stress and less job satisfaction, which will translate into more sick days; the inertia of this process will start eroding the organisation further as it gathers energy.

  • Nine-hour shifts.

Eight hours in a shift is enough.

The disruption to members’ lives as management struggles to cover the 24-7  police response can be disastrous and not worth the extra day off. The loss of productivity (reduced service delivery) hurts the community, but nobody would decry renumerating members who do put the extra time in.

Appropriate remuneration is reasonable if adequately managed, perhaps electronically, is fair. Still, the additional rest day per fortnight will take years to recruit and train enough Police to replace the days lost yearly. Recruits do not grow on trees, nor does the funding; paying the existing staff for their work would be better. Finding training and accommodating the extra police will take years; in the meantime, the current members will carry the additional workload.

This would exasperate stress-related health issues across the organisation and adversely impact personal relationships rather than improving work-life balance.

  • Legal system destroying police,

It is hugely frustrating for Police who, after a lot of hard and sometimes dangerous work, arrest a criminal and prepare what is a detailed brief of evidence only to have the courts easily persuaded by the flimsiest excuses to grant Bail, putting the criminal back on the streets. All police must deal with frustrations imposed by Courts, which is part of the job; however, it has become an endemic issue evident since the introduction of Restorative Justice.

Ironically, and adding to the police frustration, the Restorative Justice model that in application removes personal accountability from criminals was heralded as a breakthrough that would reduce crime. However, it turned out to be just another academic folly that damages the community fabric rather than helping it, with the Police carrying the brunt.

  • Sentencing of offenders

Once a conviction is achieved, the sentencing has gone awry, and its inconstancy has become ubiquitous throughout the Court system.

Offenders are more likely to go to jail for fraud offences, dubbed ‘white-collar crime’, particularly against the Government, than multiple aggravated burglaries or many violent offences. The ignominy of this approach to justice is the ‘white-collar’ criminals creating fiscal mayhem and then further imposing on their victim (taxpayer) to be housed in jail. This approach seriously dilutes any deterrent value.

White-collar criminals should never go to jail; money is their motivator, not liberty, but they must be required to repay their debt incurred to the victims and or the State. Having an aggressively pursued restitution sentencing arrangement will not only become a disincentive for others; the repayment may take many years, creating a better deterrent. This will provide for greater capacity within Corrections for violent criminals to be sentenced and jailed appropriately, giving, amongst other advantages, police the opportunity to feel their work in trying to keep the community safe has an impact not being undermined by the Courts.

  • Social engineering

Social engineering proponents rarely consider the unintended consequences of their fantasies because their knowledge of the issue is purely academic and often out of touch with reality. It is these fantasies that bear heavily on the police psyche, who suffer the ignominy of having the tools to maintain social order removed from them but will be criticised for inaction against disorder as a result. It is like outlawing hammers for carpenters and expecting them to build a house.

Public drunkenness – Police power to pick up drunks has been removed, but no effective alternative has been provided statewide. Drunks are people who are cognitively impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both, so asking them what they want has questionable efficacy. The promised drunk tanks and the like are so mired in red tape and conditions that they are a waste of time. The closest some of the proponents of this initiative come to drunks are at cocktail parties and never see the belligerent drunks police regularly deal with. It would do them some good having to deal with, in police historical parlance, a dirty 30; they will quickly change their views.

  • Medically supervised injecting rooms (MSI) – How a government can fall for the spin of drug apologists is beyond comprehension. The MSI hurts the community, not only where it is located. It only tolerates a specific clientele and has no impact on helping the addicts to stop using. It does, however, facilitate wider drug use, a windfall for the drug trade. The function of the MSI was to be the vanguard in normalising drug addiction, and it forms part of the central plank of the apologist’s agenda. The normalisation of addiction, if the apologists hold sway, will inflict Melbourne in the same way the same strategy has destroyed the liveability of many international cities that have gone down this path and are now struggling to reverse the trend.
  • Raising the age of criminal accountability – This initiative will court disaster by removing any semblance of disincentives for young offenders. It will most likely increase the offending, not reduce it. Still, it is very clever as there will be no measure of success or otherwise because the privacy provisions would prohibit gathering data on children who have not been charged with an offence because of their age.

As with many social engineering initiatives, no case has been presented on how these children will be dealt with. Most will keep offending until they are old enough to be charged. The unlawful behaviour will be entrenched with little hope of effective diversion. The reality of the folly of this issue was recently highlighted when a carer was allegedly murdered by a 13-year-old in her care.

The age of her assailant does not influence how dead she is. As is often the case, there has been no thought on how Police might deal with an underage juvenile committing a violent offence as they are not old enough to be charged, let alone arrested.

It also begs the question of what happens to the Police Cautioning Program responsible for diverting hundreds of young people a year from a life of crime– young children will now presumably not receive a caution until they are over 14. For many, that is far too late. The unlawful behaviour and the adrenalin rush it creates will be entrenched in their character- the hope of correcting the behaviour is minimal at best.

  •  Domestic Violence –

This community blight has the most significant adverse impact on Police. Police are attending domestic disturbances every 9 minutes, that is over ninety thousand (90,000). A third (36.7%) of those incidents involved a person who had previously been involved in Domestic violence, which indicates the abject failure of the current system.

An expensive Royal Commission was completed in 2015 with 207 recommendations. There has been no appreciable evidence that the Commission has impacted the frequency and severity of domestic disputes in nearly a decade since the government adopted its findings. The Commission’s failure is even more dramatic when considering they have spawned a vast Domestic Violence Industry and the imposition on the police of an array of non-core tasks, making the minimum time required at each event 4 hours, but usually many more.

Calls for help for other matters requiring Police can go unanswered because all police can be tied up on domestic violence matters.

The police role must be redefined and restricted to keeping the peace and prosecuting the offender if any offences are detected. Then, the matter is for the Welfare agencies and the Courts to arbitrate as it should be.

Welfare agencies have abrogated their responsibility to the police, who should not be used as the Welfare services lackeys; these services must apply their resources to the tasks and take a reactive role in real-time; these experts cloistered in their offices must get to where the problem occurs.

They need to do their job.

  • Rreview the Police role.

A review of the Police’s role in the domestic space will go a long way to solving the workforce issue within VicPol, particularly the burnout of members. It will also contribute substantially to the effectiveness of policing overall in a cost-effective way.

While there is no doubt that more police are required overall, this alternate approach will free up police resources for other police duties very quickly, not having to wait until recruits are trained and integrated. Additionally, there will be an immediate benefit in removing or reducing the harmful effect on members of having to spend so much time dealing with the burgeoning number of Domestics while being aware that other pressing Police matters are not getting the attention they require.

  • Police Recruiting

It seems that the ‘elephant in the room’ is that recruiting is not being adequately managed. We are not referring to individuals delivering the system; they try very hard to get it right, but it needs major surgery.  The inertia of a failing recruiting function can poison any organisation; in Policing, it can be catastrophic.

Viewed from the outside, the recruiting process has been built by a series of add-ons, with each component added without proper evaluation of the nett effect; a review is essential.

Though we do not have access to the exact processes, anecdotally, the time it takes for recruits to be processed is ridiculous. Aspiring recruits, many of good quality, are not pursuing the Policing career because of roadblocks the system places on them. Principally, the costs incurred by each applicant. Some, again, anecdotal information suggests applicants are forking out circa $2000 to apply. We acknowledge that much of this is optional, but it is marketed to improve the chances of the applicant’s appointment. However, the industry it has spawned hurts the recruiting process. It creates a false persona for applicants who are coached and are not being assessed on their natural ability, an essential attribute.

VicPol recruiting paraphernalia includes a list of suppliers who offer these services, which suggests that the use of these companies is supported, encouraged and endorsed by VicPol; this is a severe conflict of interest that seemingly nobody has picked up. The criteria for inclusion as a preferred supplier may need investigation to ensure efficacy.

When the delays to successful applicants drag out too many months or even years, expecting potential recruits to hang in limbo is disgraceful and must be reviewed urgently. Less reliance must be placed on the recruiting process, which by any measure has been failing VicPol.

Greater emphasis must be placed on the performance of recruits during training, and their probationary period should be extended to four years to weed out those unsuitable and ensure that the recruits are retained in operations for that period at least.

From inquiry to employment, it must be no more than a month for suitable applicants only affected by the available training places.

How does this impact the industrial relations impasse?

As it turns out, these issues have a broader impact than the current industrial situation, which must be viewed as a symptom of more general problems.

Given the issues we have listed, and there are others, the critical question management must answer is,

‘Why would a Police member be motivated to work in this environment?’

The numbers of frontline Police are continually dwindling, putting more load on those remaining. Little wonder the average recruit will only spend four years operationally on the street before seeking alternative employment within the Force or elsewhere. The cost to develop a recruit’s skills to a level of competency for a short career tenure is not cost-efficient.

Each of these issues has a profound effect on the Police members.

This also feeds into the explosion of stress-related health issues for Police and the impact that has on service delivery and the individual members and their families.

The current EBA negotiations are not the panacea and will achieve little, irrespective of the outcome, without addressing the core issues.

Further industrial action can be reasonably anticipated in the not-too-distant future.

YOUTH CRIME AN AVOIDABLE CRISIS

YOUTH CRIME AN AVOIDABLE CRISIS

Youth Crime is now at epidemic proportions, and our leaders are indulging in severe hand-wringing while applying Statistical interpretation spin trying to deflect blame.

A byproduct of this problem is a 12-year-old has murdered her carer. That murder is a direct consequence of ideological values trumping pragmatic actions – the 12-year-old should have been in secure care.

The girl had run away 275 times in three years, and nobody was clever enough to put her in secure care to protect her.

The CAA has long been warning of this totally predictable outcome, first identified by the CAA nearly a decade ago. Our so-called leaders are unashamedly changing the measuring parameters to cover their ineptitude.

Different labels will not modify behaviour.

The missing link in this issue, as with others, is Leadership. Without competent leadership, this, like many other problems, will not be addressed in any meaningful way – they can just blame the parents, a motherhood statement to deflect from their ineptitude.

As reported in the Melb. Age 22/12/23, data released by the Crime Statistics Agency on Thursday shows crimes committed by minors have reached a nine-year high, with those aged 10 to 18 overrepresented in robberies, burglaries, and theft.

The strategy, it seems, is that raising the age of criminal responsibility will solve the problem because children under 14 are too young to understand they are breaking the law. Technically probably true, but they certainly know right from wrong.

Of course, this strategy will solve the problem (statistically) overnight.

The Statistics Agency will produce glowing figures for the seat polishers to crow about, having achieved a dramatic fall in youth-related crime offending. Statistics don’t lie, but when it comes to statistics, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

This strategy is cold comfort for Victims of a home invasion, as categorising young miscreants’ actions as not criminal is only a label and will not drive behavioural change. However, more than likely it will increase the offending because young people will know, there are no consequences. “If I break into a house, I can’t get into trouble.”

Expert advice quoted in the article says it all,

“It was ‘ludicrous’ to think that a 12-year-old could be held legally responsible for their actions.”

This is the type of ideological rubbish ‘Expert advice’ that has got us to where we are now.

Children of this age know right from wrong; however, they may not fully understand the consequences of their actions, which is a far cry from not understanding what actions are criminal (wrong).

From a very young age, we teach children not to do things, explaining and sometimes by controlled demonstration, the consequences if they ignore our advice. Don’t put your hand close to the fire, or you will get burnt. Do not cross the road without looking, etc. By the time a child is about 6, they have grasped right from wrong in a rudimental sense.

So, we are prepared and accept that teaching children life skills is acceptable and desirable, but we want to give them a free pass regarding criminality.

Children are taught through consequences that they understand. Still, often, no more is needed than a reprimand to achieve complaint behaviour that is in their best interest. A Police caution, for example.

This leads to a major part of the solution – education.

Children’s criminality is a learned phenomenon, not a lack of understanding of right from wrong. There are simple solutions if we are serious about making changes and saving many young lives from being wasted.

Behaviour is taught, not hard-wired into their cognisance.

Essentially, support parents rather than blame them by introducing a formal learning program to address and correct the cognisance of young people using the group learning approach only available within the school system.

The calls for more support services are just that, calls, and are the same calls echoed every time the statistics on youth offenders are released year in and year out.

Simply changing the age of criminal responsibility will not change or reduce any criminal behaviour. The children will still commit robberies (Home invasions), burglaries (Home invasions when nobody is home), and theft (Predominantly from other children).

So, education is first, and the second part is to introduce appropriate consequences.

Police say a “core group of 207 recidivist offenders” are responsible for most of the crimes, with officers arresting 82 youth offenders more than 10 times over the reporting period.

The second part of a strategy to dramatically reduce offending is to prioritise proactive work rather than worry about diversions after they are caught.

The courts have a major role to play, and the above paragraph clearly demonstrates the Court’s failure to contribute to modifying the status quo.

How can anybody expect a juvenile to stop offending if they are arrested over 12 months more than 10 times? When does the penny drop, they are currently incorrigible.

After once, twice or thrice, there is an irrefutable argument that they need to be secured to,

  • Protect them from themselves.
  • Demonstrate that their actions come with consequences.
  • Protect potential victims.
  • Stop rationalising their behaviour.

 

There is an argument for a mandatory three-strike rule if the Judiciary declines to show leadership and facilitate consequences rather than threats.

Diversions for repeat offenders mean they are not working, so why persist with them?

The argument that the CAA has proffered for those who succumb to drug problems can be transposed into the youth area.

It is not how long they are in detention, but the fact that they are, is the key.

All the negative arguments put forward in opposition to detention are based on the assumption of the impact of months or years; we propose weeks of structured detention, not a week-long party doing nothing, their favourite pastime, apart from committing crimes.

What is misunderstood and not considered is that time for young people moves at a far slower pace than it does as we age, so we cannot properly transpose issues to young people measured in adult time or values.

A week or two in detention will achieve the desirable outcome. They will not be hardened into criminality but will cause a hiatus in their social networking that forms part of their criminal activity.

They can also be exposed to discipline.

No ability to connect with peers for a week or so will cause the peers to move on, and the perpetrator has broken the nexus, enabling them to shake bad behaviour and influences, one of the big drivers of juvenile crime.

In two weeks, the average social network of a young person can change multiple times.

The CAA implores those of influence to change course for the good of young people and focus on education and developing appropriate consequences if there is any hope of achieving a breakthrough to reduce destroying young lives, let alone the lives of some of their victims.

All current efforts have failed and discontinuing the Police in Schools program a decade or more ago removed one of the key pillars, education.

The other major contributor is applying the failed theory of Restorative Justice to the juvenile sector. A concept that rewards bad behaviour and moves responsibility to the victims.

As a senior Police executive was quoted as saying,

“When population is considered, Victoria still has its second-lowest crime rate at any point over the past decade”.

That statement, ‘weasel words’, perhaps says it all, considering the population, it seems, is only an afterthought, where they should be a critical consideration in prioritising action to resolve the problem. It is deeply worrying that the population is so poorly considered as a priority by the Police.

No more ‘weasel words’, but identifiable and realistic actions.

It is time to show the mettle, not the hollow, repetitive words and statistics currently in vogue.

Acknowledge and fix the problem.

YOUTH CRIME IS YOUR FAULT

YOUTH CRIME IS YOUR FAULT

The Herald Sun 19/12/23 again reports the burgeoning crime in this State, particularly serious youth crime.

They highlight the case of a 16-year-old boy implicated in 18 aggravated burglaries where cars were stolen in just over 5 weeks. The boy was charged with 48 offences in that time but was continually allowed to walk free by our legal system.

Other prolific offenders reported are,

  • A 13-year-old boy was charged with eight aggravated burglaries and four car thefts in the four weeks.
  • A 13-year-old boy was arrested four times and charged with four aggravated burglaries and five car thefts.
  • A 12-year-old accused of six robberies and an assault.
  • A 15-year-old charged with seven aggravated burglaries, five car thefts and a robbery.

Officers attached to Operation Trinity have made 2231 arrests since March, including 502 for aggravated burglaries and stealing vehicles.

The other 1729 arrests concerned what police described as “drug and other miscellaneous offences”.

And the loud response from those facilitating this outrageous behaviour is the same every time, ‘crickets’.

The Government and Opposition remain mute, the Courts and professionals in the youth field follow suit, and the only explanation falls to the Police.

The police are left with the glib line.

“Police say homeowners failing to take precautions to protect their property remained an issue.”

Obviously, designed to avoid criticising others, this line (we have heard often before) is disgraceful and explains why we are where we are, following closely on the experiences in Queensland and the NT.

As citizens, it is apparently our responsibility to address this issue, not the government officials we elect and pay with our taxes. Conveniently forgotten is that it is not us but the perpetrator who is committing the crime.

We wouldn’t need to lock things up so much if our government officials, law enforcement, and the justice system would address the root causes of crime and implement effective strategies to discourage young people from engaging in criminal behaviour. We need practical and evidence-based solutions, not just ideologically based theory that is destined to, and does continue to fail.

As it stands, the young offender experiences no significant incentives to stop committing crimes and are set free. Getting caught is no more than an inconvenience and part of the adrenaline rush. Having a Magistrate lecture them is the only penalty.

It is left to the Police to investigate, charge and take these offenders before the courts, securing convictions and then watch them walk out, thumbing their nose at the law only for them to repeat the same behaviour, ad infinitum.

A significant strategy working against reducing this problem is a foreboding bordering on paranoia by the responsible entities not to be blamed or admit to a failure.

Calls for a Royal Commission have been mumbled about, but that will not solve the problem as the track records of Royal Commissions are not that good at resolving problems. They are better equipped for fostering industries based on no empirical evidence, hoping, rather than determining, that the industries have the solution, and the exercise will take 3-5 years and cost us Millions for no appreciable return on that investment.

What is needed is leadership to implement accountabilities on entities to perform and achieve change by a no-blame approach, and the development of some basic pragmatic principles by which all entities adhere.

That will make some uncomfortable, but so be it; we want a result-based holistic approach that encompasses the Courts, the Police, Health, Corrections and Welfare Services, including NFPs, and organisations who work in this area.

We know that there are many who are ideologically opposed to concepts like personal accountability, but this type of ideology must not influence the solution to the problem because that is what has caused it.

The obsession with not sending young people to jail must stop. The ridiculous notion that jail will only make them worse begs the question, ‘worse than what’.

It is also incredible how certain sectors blame the Youth Detention centres as not fit for young people. We agree that they are not suitable for many young people, but they are suitable for securing violent juvenile thugs who pose a genuine and demonstrated risk to the community.

There is also the stupid notion that the Detention Centres themselves are the problem. An example is the Northern Territory, where a Royal Commission recommended the closure of the Don Dale Facility in Darwin. The physical building had little or no impact, it was the management regime of the place that failed dismally.

Like other Detention Centres the problem is not the building, it is the ineffective management of inmates, and we need to accept that some inmates are so incorrigible they need to be secured and restricted, not only for the good of the community, but, ironically, in the best interest of the convicted perpetrator and other inmates and staff.

The idiotically asinine belief permeating through our youth justice administration that perpetrators who continue to offend will be harmed by Detention is the first thing that must change because the reality is that avoiding saving them from themselves is irresponsible. How can they be so dumb?

The CCYP and Youth Justice have a lot to answer for as they are clearly asleep at the wheel or, more probably, are void of competent leadership that would have them both attentive and focused on these issues.

Their most notable output on these issues is ‘crickets’.

Immediate reform of the way recidivist juvenile offenders are treated in our criminal justice system, rather than excuses, is long overdue.

Harm reduction, palliative care for drug addicts.

Harm reduction, palliative care for drug addicts.

This article by American Holland  Marshall is reproduced with permission and gives an insight into the future of the issues Victoria will face if the current Drug strategies are exploited and developed.

The question we pose is who is pushing and funding all these strategies?

The one sector that has the most to gain is the Drug industry, not the users. An industry that kills its customers by dramatically reducing their life expectancy so recruiting(normalisation of drugs) is paramount for their operations.-Editor 

HARM REDUCTION IS LONG-TERM PALLIATIVE CARE FOR DRUG ADDICTS.

Harm reduction is based on reducing the likelihood that people will be seriously hurt or die when they do dangerous things. That is why we have laws that require drivers to obey speed limits, motorcyclists must wear helmets and construction workers must wear safety shoes.

Harm reduction doesn’t stop accidents; they make them less dangerous.

In health care, harm reduction started with programs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases by distributing condoms and lubricants. These services expanded with the arrival of the HIV/Aids epidemic and it then included the goal to reduce hepatitis C among heroin users.

Harm reduction industry goals

1.) Increase the number of drug supply facilities & supervised consumption sites.
2.) Make drug use accepted as a normal practice.
3.) Defund the police & have drug use considered solely a medical issue.
4.) Safe Supply. This is when addicts receive government-funded drugs.

Modern times

We now live in more radical times. Harm reduction advocates now focus on social justice and bodily autonomy. People have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, without coercion from anyone.

The harm reduction model doesn’t try to discourage addictions; it seeks to make drug use safer and more accepted.

Stigma

The message is addicts should not feel ashamed about using drugs. Drug addicts have been part of our society for centuries and they will continue to be with us.

Stigma must be eliminated. Drug addiction should be seen as just another craving like drinking coffee, eating chocolate or drinking alcohol. The drug addiction activists state that drug addicts are part of our society and they will continue to de so.
After all, Sherlock Holmes regularly smoked opium.

In a nutshell, this means addicts have the right to use drugs free of judgment or intervention.

Controlling the message

To help get their message across, the activists are constantly changing their language to hide what is actually happening to the addicts. The words:
• shooting galleries has been renamed Supervised Injection Sites.
• crack houses has been renamed Supervised Consumption Sites.
• addicts has been renamed People Who Use Drugs (PWUD)
• vagrants has been renamed homeless and then, persons without housing.
• shoplifting, muggings & thefts have been renamed survival crimes.
• squatting in parks or sidewalks has been renamed sheltering in place.
• police has been renamed strangers with guns.

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Harm Reduction services

Health officials and the NGOs understand that powerful illegal drugs are killing addicts. In an attempt to prevent the transmission of blood borne and bacterial infections due to drug use, they give addicts:
• all the paraphernalia necessary to consume drugs.
• syringes for the addicts that inject drugs.
• crack pipes.
• smoking & snorting kits.
• condoms & lubricants for safer sex. (For love or for money)
• information on how to safely do drugs.
• snacks & bottles of water
• pet food
• information on what social services are available in the community.
• information on drug treatment facilities.
• Naloxone kits.

These sterile supplies do help reduce the transmission of blood borne and bacterial infections.

The drug supply centres do not want to upset the addicts, so they soft pedal advice on treatment centres and normally will discuss them only when asked.

Who are the experts?

Social justice warriors insist that drug addicts and ex-drug addicts are the experts that the politicians should be listening to for advice when they enact drug addiction policies and laws.
“People with lived and living experience in drug use are the experts that have proposed solutions to the drug poisoning crisis and have for decades.”

Harm Reduction costs

It is expensive for society to casually accept drug addictions as a new normal.

The taxpayers are paying for absolutely everything. Billions are spent on welfare and disability cheques, temporary shelters, hotel and motel rooms, all of the drug paraphernalia and the Narcon kits.

Transit services face increases in security and cleaning costs. The homeless don’t pay fares. Buses, street cars, subways and transit terminals are becoming mobile drug dens and homeless shelters. No wonder ridership is down.

Municipalities have to pay to clean up all the human waste and garbage that the addicts discard in the parks, alleyways and sidewalks. Police, fire services, ambulance services and emergency departments require large increases in their budgets.

Businesses have to pay for increased shoplifting losses, security guards, cameras, graffiti removal and protective fencing. Downtowns do not feel safe so the retail stores lose customers and some have had to close.

According to Statistics Canada, the homeless support sector saw a 60.7% increase in workers between 2016 and 2021. Guess who’s paying for that?

Harm reduction encourages drug use

Giving away free drug paraphernalia, supporting addicts living on the streets, demanding that drug use should be stigma free and even declaring that using drugs while partying is okay does nothing to stop people from experimenting with drugs.

‘Safer snorting kits’ handed out at British Columbia US high school after drug presentation

Students received kits containing information about “safer snorting” including a picture of a straw hovering above a line of white powder. Included in the kit were tubes for snorting and cards for making lines to snort.

The kit includes straws and wallet-sized cards for cutting powdered drugs into snortable lines — as well as a booklet on ‘staying safe when you’re snorting’including a pic

“Have condoms and lube with you. You may want to have sex while high,” reads one tip. Another advises the drug user to decorate their snorting equipment. “Adding a personal touch to your snorting equipment will help you better recognize your own when using with others,” it reads.

The booklet also notes the wide variety of drugs that can be consumed via snorting, from cocaine to crystal meth; fentanyl and ketamine.

Is this their mission Statement?

“I know it can be a little controversial, but one of the key tenets of harm reduction
that I see is that we want to be able to facilitate and champion autonomy of people
who use drugs.”

—Amber Tejada, Hepatitis Education Project

Addiction isn’t freedom, and “respecting people’s right” to die from it isn’t enlightened or compassionate. Harm Reduction should be named Harm Facilitation or Harm Prolongment. The people harm reduction supposedly saves keep using drugs and have a very short life expectancy.

Three years. Life expectancy of a feral cat.
Three years. Life expectancy of a person addicted to fentanyl.

Assisting someone with severe mental illness to use illicit drugs is nearly criminal negligence.

THE CAA FAMILY VIOLENCE STRATEGY

THE CAA FAMILY VIOLENCE STRATEGY

A concise overview of critical issues, underpinning principles, and the evidence base for recommended actions.

The 2015 Royal Commission into Domestic Violence made 227 recommendations that cost the Victorian Government $2.7B to implement. This is now a multi-billion-dollar industry with a Minister for Family Violence, a Department of Family Violence, and a Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework.

The claims are to train 37,500 workers in Phase 1 (850 organisations) and 370,000 workers in Phase 2 (5,580 organisations).

The industry creates reports, resources and practice guides, grants, plans, research, statistical collection and analysis, guidelines, training, victim support groups, investigators, police, crisis assistance services, helplines, lawyers, security and the judicial system.

But they can’t arrange a response team to help Victims during a crisis.

Little in pragmatic and direct assistance for victims at the time of crisis and at the highest risk of being assaulted to protect them during these heightened risk periods or, in crime parlance, pro-active intervention.

This intervention is not to be confused with the Police role as that will remain in relation to direct physical threats and or actual physical violence. While there are no specific criminal laws against coercive control in Victoria, there are legal remedies victim-survivors can take. The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act includes coercive behaviour in its definition of family violence. That issue is a matter best dealt with by professionals other than the Police.

It is important to understand the size of the issue.

  • One Woman is killed every week in Australia due to Family violence.
  • Recorded Family Violence in Victoria is increasing, with Victoria Police reporting one incident every six minutes; 90,424 Recorded Incidents in Victoria in the 2021-2022 financial year.
  • Police time applied to Family Violence and Domestic Violence administration severely impacts the ability of Police to respond to other community issues.

We also know that,

  • Victim survivors report higher rates of violence from a perpetrator after separation. (Police are usually not directly involved at his stage, but the matter is in the hands of the Courts or the Domestic Violence Industry).
  • Children are present in 30% of family violence incidents attended by police.
  • NSW, Qld and Tas have “coercive control” legislation – Victoria still reviewing it!
  • Tasmania has had ankle bracelets on perpetrators for many years – Victoria is still reviewing!

Eight years after the Royal Commission, what has been achieved?

  • It has spawned the Family Violence bureaucratic Industry.
  • Statistics, when released, remain consistent, with little progress on designing or empirically introducing reduction strategies.
  • Critical risk victims are forced into hiding and wear a huge bracelet with a panic button.
  • Perpetrators consistently remain at large on bail able to strike at will.
  • Police are bogged down with bureaucratic risk assessments and bail/remand processes.

Family Safety Strategic Plan 2021-2024: https://www.vic.gov.au/family-safety-victoria-strategic-plan-2021-2024/print-all

CAA Key Policy Positions.

  1. Strengthen the focus to “offender accountability” while maintaining “victim support”.
  2. Remove administrative functions from Operational Police and the function of Government Welfare services.
  3. Urgent Legislation
    1. Ankle monitors and vehicle tracking monitors (if perpetrators are released on bail).
    2. Specific coercive control legislation.
    3. Tightening of bail laws.
    4. Domestic violence disclosure scheme (Clare’s Law – UK 2009 -perpetrator priors available to victims on request.

CAA Observations and Recommendations

The net outcome of the Royal Commission and the Government’s responses is the creation of a Domestic Violence industry with a plethora of Quango’s and Convocations costing billions of dollars but with little or no positive impact on the people it was intended to benefit.

If there is something déjà vu about this issue, it’s not surprising. Similarities or a parallel to the issues around our first peoples come to mind.

Spending huge amounts of money with no appreciable improvements for the victims.

The CAA strongly recommends an independent inquiry into the application of resources, accountabilities and effectiveness of outcomes at the coal face.

It is long past time for positive action.