OPERATION WATTS -Analysis part 4 – Equality before the Law.

OPERATION WATTS -Analysis part 4 – Equality before the Law.

The Operation Watts report promotes the ideal that there is one rule for the governing class and one for everybody else. It effectively and deliberately shatters what is left of public confidence in our system of Government and seriously undermines confidence in our legal system; this must be addressed.

A job for Politicians of all persuasions.

Equality before the law is another legal principle that the IBAC and the Ombudsman have chosen to ignore, according to the Operation Watts report.

Equality before the law, also known as legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rule of law that observes due process to provide equal justice, and requires equal protection, ensuring that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged over others by the law. Sometimes called the principle of isonomy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_before_the_law

The arguments for the breach of this legal construct in the report dealing with the Red Shirts and Branch Stacking is blatant and seriously disturbing.

The complete disregard and disdain of the victims, we the voting public, of this artifice is not masked. Noting that the Role of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has an obligation under the law to consider victims was unceremoniously bypassed.

Forgotten is that the election of 2014 was influenced by the Red Shirts artifice. The hordes of Red Shirts that we thought were volunteers were in fact government employees.

As serious as not considering the victims is, when the operation and the findings by the Integrity units (which they are not entitled to make) promote inequality, there are serious problems.

Inequality

  • Public IBAC hearings is an example where it depends on who you are as to whether you are exposed to a public hearing. (The IBAC Act enables this inequity)
  • If the perpetrators in this artifice were in the private sector would the outcomes have been different?
  • When a suspect is ‘emersed’ in an artifice is it their position that allows them not to be treated equally before the law?
  • Colour coding corruption to mask inequality is asinine.

As with the other matters raising concern with the probity of the Victorian Integrity units, we argue that each individual misstep should have serious consequences but taken as a whole, the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman should seriously consider their positions if Integrity is to have real meaning.

A competent and independent legal officer must be appointed as the interim head of both entities while a review is undertaken and the DPP and the Chief Commissioner review all cases. A clean slate bi-partisan approach is the only option.

More to come…

OPERATION WATTS Critical analysis Part 3

OPERATION WATTS Critical analysis Part 3

Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash

How are we to deal with miscreant Integrity units when they step outside the law?

This State has a robust and effective legal system developed since Federation. We acknowledge that there are flaws; however, the ‘system’ has evolved to deal with legal anomalies through tried practices.

Although seen by some as excruciatingly slow, nevertheless, it mostly works well for all of us, most of the time. It also has built-in safeguards to protect the innocent and victims’ rights.

In this vein, we are highly critical of IBAC and the Ombudsman’s behaviours detailed in the Operation Watts report. Not only have they broken a Law themselves, but they have also ignored the prosecutorial conventions legislated in this State.

We were astounded to find the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) has been sidelined by the Integrity Bodies, left out of the loop when considerations regarding the likelihood of prosecutions were considered.

“We have carefully considered whether the identified misconduct constituted criminal offending that should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ultimately, the relevant offence calls for a value judgement about whether a breach of public trust is so serious that it merits criminal punishment.” – Watts Report.

The IBAC and the Ombudsman have clearly taken it upon themselves to determine a value judgement that is the purview of the DPP and the Courts, not theirs to exercise.

Whether the suspects are charged ‘a value judgement’ is a matter for the DPP, and’ merits criminal punishment’ are matters for courts of appropriate jurisdiction.

Punishment is only relevant if a miscreant is convicted. Oddly the Integrity units see the process as punishment, a very troubling misunderstanding of our legal process. A concept they exercise elsewhere is identified in these analyses.

There is also very good reason, as demonstrated by the approach of the IBAC and the Ombudsman in these cases, why the DPP exists and its role is respected.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is responsible for beginning, preparing, and conducting serious criminal matters in Victoria on behalf of the Victorian community.

The DPP is supported by Crown Prosecutors’ Chambers – led by the Chief Crown Prosecutor – and the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) – led by the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.

The DPP is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor in Council. The DPP is responsible to the Attorney-General for their performance and use of their power.

In performing their role, the DPP must consider:

  • justice and fairness
  • the need to conduct prosecutions in an effective, economical, and efficient manner
  • the need to ensure that the prosecution system appropriately considers the concerns of victims of crime. – https://www.opp.vic.gov.au/who-we-are/

Critical to this State’s legal system are checks and balances and for the IBAC and the Ombudsman to immerse themselves in ‘careful considerations’ and making a finding on those considerations is, if not unlawful, a serious breach of legal protocol. We call it a whitewash.

This arrant behaviour also highlights the role of the IBAC Inspectorate, who clearly failed to perform an effective oversight role and allowed this misbehaviour to flourish.

Given the seriousness of the allegations and the admissions made by individuals, why wasn’t the DPP consulted and its input and support sought at the beginning of the process as is best investigative practice?

It would seem that in this matter, the highest profile suspect would, according to the Integrity units, have no case to answer. A prerogative they do not have to exercise; it lies with the DPP.

What the DPP may have a lot to say about is all the other miscreants in the artifice, it would seem, will likewise not be prosecuted.

Having Integrity Units that have lost their Integrity is untenable.

If a modicum of Integrity is left with either of the two principles, they should resign immediately; otherwise, the Parliament must remove them.

More to follow.

OPERATION WATTS Critical analysis Part 2

OPERATION WATTS Critical analysis Part 2

Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash

The Watts report into the Red Shirts and Branch stacking activities undermines a cornerstone of our democracy – the rule of Law.

No one is above the Law, which is absolute; not an optional extra available to those in power.

‘At its most basic level, the rule of Law is the concept that both the Government and citizens know the Law and obey it. The Law should apply to all people equally regardless of their status in society – rich or poor, young or old, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, or any other attribute’. -https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/principles/equality-before-the-law/

Just because you disagree with a Law that does not justify breaking it, a point missed by some during the COVID demonstrations. Disagree with the Law by all means, but use other mechanisms to change the Law; rather than breaking it.

In this case, the Integrity units have broken the Law that determines the existence of the Integrity bodies and how they must operate. These entities are supposedly designed to uphold the Law. One of the pillars between a lawful and lawless society. so for them to disobey a Law is an egregious crime.

The Integrity entities are not so privileged that they can pick and choose which laws they break, expecting impunity where the rest of the community does not.

“The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Act 2011 (IBAC Act Section 162(6)(a)(b) prohibits IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed any criminal offence or disciplinary offence, or a recommendation that a person should be prosecuted for a criminal offence or disciplinary offence.”

“Similarly, the Ombudsman Act 1973 prohibits the Ombudsman from including a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed an offence, or a recommendation that a person be prosecuted for an offence.                   -Operation Watts Report

Apart from the wording of the Law; the concept of the Tenet of the Law; the intent. Cannot be disregarded.

“We have carefully considered whether the identified misconduct constituted criminal offending that should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ultimately, the relevant offence calls for a value judgement about whether a breach of public trust is so serious that it merits criminal punishment. Reasonable minds might differ on this.

Thus, although we consider the conduct egregious, the difficulties in proof are such that we cannot recommend prosecution.” – Operation Watts Report

The Act,prohibits’, with an extraordinarily strong and unambiguous word that is transparent in its intent, preventing IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion relating to a prosecution.

Semantic arguments that they didn’t recommend prosecution, saying a prosecution would be unsuccessful, is without question a clear breach of the Law and, in many ways, is more objectionable than saying one would succeed.

This statement is calculated to nullify any other authority prosecuting the suspect referred to even the DPP. Even worse, the comments were construed in a way that could be extrapolated to cover all miscreants in the artifice. Arguably, grey corruption at work, or more accurately, a whitewash exposed.

These same reasonable minds identified in the Watts report may also reasonably conclude that IBAC and the Ombudsman have breached the Law by their comments. They have clearly expressed an opinion the Law requires them not to.

This action by the entities would seem to be precisely why the prohibition exists.

Under what basic standard of lawful endeavour do our two major integrity bodies get to choose what laws they may follow or not? This breach of the Law demolishes all confidence in both agencies as they have placed themselves above the Law.

This egregious breach places the agencies at a level no different from the perpetrators they are investigating, who also choose which laws they should ignore or break.

We need these agencies, however, these agencies must set the highest standard of

probity and in this matter they have failed spectacularly.

The positions of Redlich and Glass are now untenable.

OPERATION WATTS Part1

OPERATION WATTS Part1

Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash

OPERATION WATTS

The Operations Watts report recently released on the joint investigation by IBAC and the Ombudsman’s of the Red shirts and Branch Stacking matters makes for interesting reading. At first blush, a lot of costs for no result.

Whether intended or not, the report has serious, unintended consequences: Non the least, the Integrity bodies illegal activity and inept investigation of a relatively straightforward matter of Fraud committed on the State.

The report, however, gives a strong impression that the whole investigation and the final report are to achieve a particular predetermined outcome – nobody will be held to account. And that is arguable a corrupt practice.

The report, however, exposes a number of striking revelations, and not all of them intended.

The evidence released in this report is riddled with admissions of guilt, abuse of power, incompetence, conflicting interpretations of facts and commission of a crime; and that is just by the Integrity units.

Then there are the suspected perpetrators who set up, managed and implemented this artifice called Red Shirts, the more junior seemingly forthright, not a gift offered by the executives under scrutiny.

I always knew I was on the taxpayer dollar. I know that it wasn’t right, I know that it’s not what we were employed to do. You had to do it because of your job …

– Former electorate officer, in evidence to investigation (Operations Watts )

We are strongly inclined to the view that Ms Deborah Glass, OBE the Ombudsman,  is currently doing the media rounds trying to justify her non-action, and we assume the non-action of IBAC Commissioner Mr Robert Redlich AM QC, her partner in these Integrity inquiries.

It will be interesting how long she can pursue this charade. We get a strong sense this is the beginning, not the end, as she has claimed, with the focus moving from Red Shirt perpetrators to the Integrity bodies themselves.

To quote Shakespeare, ‘The Lady doth protest too much,‘ because she has come to the realisation that there are damning indictments scattered through the Watts Report, damming of IBAC and the Ombudsman. She is in damage control, but the more she says, the deeper the hole.

So serious are the issues, that both the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman can share their solace as they walk out the metaphoric door of Government employ when their ineptitude and illegal activity are exposed.

The Watts report by their own hands ‘hoists them on their own petard’, their continuance as Officers of Integrity is now untenable, and they must go.

In the last few days, Glass has said a lot about not being enough evidence to charge the Premier with any offence; obviously, pressure is being applied.

But the very same Ombudsman waxed lyrical about the evidence that had been accumulated against the engineer of the Red Shirts artifice John Lenders. If Ms Glass is accurate in her assessment of the evidence against Lenders, why hasn’t he been charged? Because if he is not, that is corruption by the integrity bodies.

There isn’t even political double speak to justify not charging him.

This is a serious blight on justice in this State when one person, in this case, the Premier, it is claimed has no case to answer, so everybody else in the Red Shirts’ criminal endeavour escapes scrutiny.

In this case, even those who have confessed to a crime will not be prosecuted.

That is outrageous.

As it is laid bare, the ineptitude displayed by our Integrity bodies requires nothing less than the two principles to walk, and somebody with Integrity appointed to undertake the prosecutions thus far waived.

This whole edifice, as described by Glass, was bad enough, but how it was investigated and handled by the Integrity agencies is nothing short of disgraceful.

And Glass had the temerity and afront to suggest the police apologise to those Red Shirt operatives arrested; what a hide.

Even apologising for her failures to the State of Victoria will not save her bacon.

More parts to follow…

 

End note – Congratulations to VicPol for rejecting the pleas for an apology.

If the Fraud and Extortion Squad had been permitted to do their job, Victoria would have put this artifice behind a long time ago, and the Judiciary may have seen fit to have some of the key perpetrators enjoying Her Majesty’s pleasure.

 

WHAT A GREAT INITIATIVE

WHAT A GREAT INITIATIVE

24th July 2022

Safer exchange sites have been introduced to some Victoria Police Stations in metropolitan Melbourne’s northeast. A concept widely used overseas, but an idea of which most of us were unaware.

This is a significant and positive strategy Victoria Police has embarked on and is an example of good police proactive Service Delivery, addressing a community need and reducing opportunities for crime

The principle of the site is simple in its ethos but significant in improving Police service delivery and community safety. A place where the community can go to improve their safety in dealing with people they have not met but want to sell or purchase products sourced online.

Not only protecting people from crooks but discouraging crooks from selling hot property to innocent people.

New and innovative ideas are always encouraged and required in the evolution of our online lives. In this case, VicPol is ahead in the game.

Based on this concept, it would be wonderful if the idea could be extended to include estranged parents exchanging their children for visitation; that would be significant.

Those exchanges currently happen in a McDonald’s car park or a shopping centre, but how much better would it be for an estranged parent that had some fear to undertake the process at the Safer exchange site.

Serious consideration should be given to building on this initiative with nominal creative civil works at police stations to provide two or three parking bays off-road where possible, where people can go for access exchanges or when confronted with road rage or other threatening situations.

Currently, most parking spaces in front of Police stations are occupied by Police cars, so having a Safer Zone dedicated would be a great extension of service delivery.

We think the only negative to this program is that it is running as a trial where it has been trailed extensively overseas. It should be implemented State-wide as a matter of urgency – a trial is superfluous.

Trials are usually run to help leaders avoid exercising leadership decisions for which they may be held to account.

But well done, VicPol.

 

IMPROPER INVESTIGATION

IMPROPER INVESTIGATION

19th July 2022

“An Improper Investigation” and “Police misconduct a dark cloud over conviction” were two headlines in Herald Sun 1/8/2020 – and both were misleading.  The real story lay in the small print:- “There appeared to be a culture of acceptance of the improper practices within the force.”

Therein lay the real evil bedevilling the Force:-

  • acceptance of improper practices, even after they had been complained about;
  • refusal to obey the dictates of the law and common leadership principles that complaints MUST be investigated; and
  • repeated concealment of wrongdoing which, by default, encourages corrupt and/or criminal conduct.

So there ensued the cover-up of the “reprehensible conduct” related to Informer 3838, despite the laudable efforts of Sir Ken Jones to challenge and expose the “toxic and dysfunctional culture” within the Victoria Police Force.

IBAC found “even shredding of some statements were among the serious issues identified” – and yet IBAC had long refused to bother itself about other police who concealed a document that completely refuted their case against a defendant:-

During questioning of the defendant a detective handed him a computer printout showing that his computer user account had been enabled and successfully logged on before 9 am on a Monday morning, before the defendant had commenced work.. But then charged the defendant with the crime of illicitly enabling his own user account later that morning.  The point that somebody else had done so – that the account was actually enabled before 9 am – was set aside in the officer’s quest for a scalp.

The police officer swore to having handed to the defendant all the documents shown to him at interview, but certainly did not hand over that critically exculpatory printout; it disappeared.  Was it “shredded”?  What possible legitimate motive could have existed for the police, not merely failing to disclose this document, but ignoring it and pretending it did not exist?

Mr. Redlich (IBAC Commissioner) “raised concerns (that) improper practices continue today” (in 2020);  well IBAC should have acted when such practices were drawn to its attention in 2012 and 2013.

Despite having been then (2012-13) warned of this, its inactivity has apparently contributed to the very situation it deplored in 2020 – “a culture of acceptance of … improper practices within the force”;  i.e. the situation which has reemerged in 2022.

At CAA we had expressed hope and confidence in the ability and willingness of the Chief Commissioner of Police, Mr. Patton, to overcome that toxic and dysfunctional culture.  The latest events, however, suggest those sentiments were misplaced.

So Mr. Redlich now should look to the history of his own organisation.  If he does he should recognise how its failure to investigate serious allegations of police corruption when they were brought to its attention – and dismissed summarily one the shadiest of irrelevant grounds – has undoubtedly contributed to the present state of affairs.

Something must be done by outsiders to forever break the habit of police apparently breaching their oath of office and the law, repeatedly oversighting “profound failure(s) of policing”, to quote Mr. Patton himself.

POLICE TSUNAMI IS INEVITABLE

POLICE TSUNAMI IS INEVITABLE

18th July 2022

In a democracy, the community rightly sees the Government as ultimately responsible for Law and Order; critical to that responsibility is the performance of the Police Force.

In this current election environment, you can bet that all political machines are watching the performance of VicPol. No doubt looking for any opportunity to maximise on or reduce exposure to, the impact of the community angst that has developed towards its Force.

The Tectonic plates of policing have been moving adversely within the Victoria Police Force for some time. However, it has become very obvious they have gathered momentum and are now moving rapidly towards an adverse outcome.

The elements necessary for a policing Tsunami are becoming evident as the litany of policing failures has built to where the Tsunami is not a possibility but an inevitability.

There seems to be no end to the flow of ineptitude and policing failures; we all just sit and wait for the inevitable next one.

Government and all politicians will be closely watching how VicPol responds to the latest failures in the investigation of the Silk-Miller Police murders and the impact that may have on their electoral fortunes.

The community will also be watching as their confidence in the police continues to wane.

Taken in isolation, many issues, would have of themselves have limited impact on public confidence, but the build-up of events is taking its toll, and the informed public will inevitably start demanding change.

Seeds of that miscontent are starting to germinate.

These matters all contribute to the current malaise,

  • Gobbo affair – a wanton disregard of the legal process and riddled with alleged corrupt practices.
  • Red Shirts – from media reports, apparent criminality not prosecuted. They are corrupting the Police Judiciary separation of powers. Abuse of the discretion of police common law powers. The discretion is not a prerogative of the Force but is vested in individual constables.
  • Slug-Gate – has the hallmarks of deliberate avoidance of the responsibility of the police force – poor investigation hamstrung by interference and twisted loyalties of subordinates to achieve an outcome palatable to the police command and to protect public figures.
  • Politicians Travel rorts – just because somebody is a politician does not give them a free pass by police to commit criminal acts, but apparently, in Victoria, it does.
  • Bourke Street massacre – one of the most inept police operations in modern policing history where police command failed to take charge, and six Victorians lost their lives as a result. Unfortunately, this command failure has been whitewashed.
  • Executive misconduct – there have been examples of executive misconduct that arguably were criminal in nature, however, the executives were not charged, and their guilt or innocence determined by a Court, they resigned. This is completely inconsistent with how non-executive police are treated, even for minor infractions.
  • Hotel Quarantine security guard’s debacle– how Victoria Police could equivocate and avoid the responsibility of securing the Quarantine of Hotels in the initial emergency and most critical stages of the COVID outbreak. Arguably contributing to eight hundred deaths is beyond contemptible, but that has also conveniently received the whitewash treatment.
  • Corruption failures– Corruption is rampant in many sectors, and there is no evidence that the criminality involved is being addressed by VicPol, presumably leaving it to ‘him over there.’ You can blame who you like, but nothing will change until VicPol gets serious and starts instigating criminal proceedings against blatant criminal corruption.
  • COVID Demonstrations
    • Shooting demonstrators How any justification can be spun up to justify the use of shotguns firing bean bag rounds into demonstrators is beyond us; this behaviour borders on a criminal act.
    • O/C Spay Likewise, justification for dousing demonstrators with O/C Spray when they were running away seems indefensible- they were running away, for gods sake!
    • Handcuffing a young mum in front of her children in Ballarat because of online posts will always be up there as a disgraceful act. Rationalising that the female was in the kitchen, a place where she had access to weapons, is just ludicrous without any overt act or previous form that would create any risk.
    • Chasing demonstrators seems an odd police tactic – fine if you are going to arrest a perpetrator, but if demonstrators are running away, what is the point or logic in chasing them? What was to happen if they were caught?
    • Corralling demonstrators- another strange counterintuitive tactic of herding demonstrators into a confined area and then tightening the police- line when the object of reducing the spread of COVID is, as we know, the distance between people.
    • Snatching a phone of an elderly woman had no justification and was a breach of discipline by the police member. Still, we do not know if that member was held to account – it would have been interesting to know where he thought he might have gotten his justification.
    • Service delivery- the area of most significant concern for Victorians and the lack thereof, has impacted a very large percentage of them. They are rightly aggrieved; Police Stations closed, police unwilling or unable to respond (Call ramping) and aggravated by police who are despondent or disinterested if they do respond, all signs of a damaged workforce.

No good blaming the rank and file but lift your eyes to see where the problem lies.

  •  Police welfare – impacting substantially on the item above the departure of competent police due to stress or related illnesses in very large part created by poor management and the workload being disproportionally spread in the workforce. The exodus is twofold, one string heading out of policing due to mental health and the other exodus internal into non-frontline tasks.
  • Pillaging Police Stations – for human resources to appease media attention. Because an incident or series of incidents are given media exposure, the nett effect of making the best out of Police Stations to address these issues is counterintuitive. Fewer Police at police stations equates to more problems gaining media attention. A performance spiral.
  • Endemic evidence tampering – This behaviour it would seem has become an entrenched operating procedure for investigators in certain areas of Policing. That it appears book ended by events in 1998 and 2022 it is clearly endemic and wide-spread. There are a number of Senior Police Officers who have been promoted over those two decades who would have to be aware, if not involved in these unlawful acts and yet they have done nothing to stem the behaviour.
    • The Silk Miller Murder trial was corrupted by the unlawful action of police investigators in tampering with evidence, Perverting the Course of Justice.
    • While the Silk Miller murders occurred in the late 90’s, the culmination (the bit that counts) of the investigation was in the early 2000s. It is alleged up to five statements were rewritten, and originals disposed of. Serious criminality by Police with multiple evidence tampering and conspiracy offences not pursued.
    • Not confined to the 2000s coercing or causing statements to be altered is still happening at a 2022 trial where, fortunately, the police member who was coerced into altering his statement a mind-numbing seven (7) times by senior police self-reported the act to the Court. The jury acquitted the accused, or otherwise, a rerun of the Jason Roberts saga would be with us.

                  That nobody has been held to account for Perverting the Course of Justice and the associated conspiracies is a disgrace. This was a high-profile case                    so the executive would have been fully aware. Their failure in supervision/management is breathtaking and staggering.

See https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/policeman-who-shot-james-gargasoulas-cleared-of-assault-on-student-20220613-p5at7d.html

  • Lack of police transparency- VicPol is always encouraging the community to give it information but try the reverse and get information from Police. It is not uncommon for the estimated time for a Freedom of Information request to be in the order of six months. If you try to challenge this at VCAT, VicPol will do legal somersaults to avoid compliance. We are aware of Supreme Court requests being treated in the same way – Hubris.

 

Perhaps we all should encourage everybody to take an example from VicPol and provide them with their information in six months?

The common thread of all these issues is a failure of Command and Control where the police executive fail in their duty – the first and most significant example which Victorians have never forgotten was the performance of Chief Commissioner Nixon while Victorians died in the Black Saturday fires –we allege that is the starting point of the collapse of Command and Control and executive responsibility within VicPol. Yet, Nixon was not sanctioned for a gross breach of executive responsibility, and no executive has faced criminal charges, irrespective of what they were alleged to have done since. They are not held to account or required to justify or apologise for Victoria Police missteps; this is unadulterated unhealthy- Hubris.

There has also been a string of thoroughly decent and competent Police who have been shown the metaphoric door for non-compliance with a new order which avoids responsibility and accountability. Many are disciplined for trivia.

Any normal grown-up organisation would be embarrassed to take drastic disproportionate steps for minor infractions, highlighting as it does management deficiencies and incompetence, but this is VicPol, that suffers an acute form of- Hubris.

These are the critical issues that the public demands their police force urgently addresses.

Alternatively, an inquiry to provide strategies to correct the current demise is not only warranted but inevitable.

Who let Miller and Silk down?

Who let Miller and Silk down?

16th July 2022

The acquittal of Jason Roberts for the murders of Senior Constable Rodney Miller and Sergeant Garry Silk in 1998 is disappointing, but the part that rips at our guts is that the acquittal was achieved because it would seem, the ineptitude of investigators, not much else.

How could such an important, or for that matter, any case be subjected to the errors that this brief contained?

We suspect some will be held to account, but the real culprits, senior management, will not be tarred with that brush; low-hanging fruit will be the scapegoats.

Tampering with evidence is an absolute no, in any circumstances, and irrespective of the crime, there is never a justification.

It would seem the necessary elements of Perverting the Course of Justice exist in this matter. A Common Law offence with a codified maximum penalty of twenty-five years in the Crimes Act, indicates the seriousness of how this type of behaviour is viewed.

Every detective and police member knows this. So fundamental and absolute is this rule and the consequences, that denial of its existence by any police member is indefensible.

Additionally, those same police, are well aware of the process should a witness, due to circumstances, wish to change their statement. That is not an offence, but there are procedures to follow.

It would be helpful if the Chief were to condemn the tampering of evidence publicly to attempt to regain some credibility for the Force with a public apology to the State and the families of the two members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The families of the slain members, serving and former police, having to carry the ignominy of the failures of the Victoria Police is beyond reprehensible.

There is palpable anger over the incompetence in this case.

The old saying, we all bleed blue, is a truism in this case, with the vast majority of serving and former police sharing the pain with the slain members’ families.

If policing cannot get it right when their own are slain, what hope for the rest of the community?

The handling of this case has severely damaged community confidence in the Victoria Police as an Organisation already reeling from a number of missteps in recent years. This latest just made policing just that much harder.

Some of us in our early careers were exposed to old-timers who saw the end justifies the means as legitimate Policing. For many of us, that was an uncomfortable concept, but it now appears evident that this outdated and wrong culture has crept back into policing in Victoria.

That can only happen if management is inept.

We strongly suspect this was bought in predominately by external senior appointments and was able to take hold because of bad management practices, also imported.

It is in this environment that spawned a flawed culture that these issues occurred.

It is hoped lessons have been learnt and lateral entry to senior roles is never contemplated again. We hope that our community leaders cannot be that dumb not to learn from the litany of errors foisted upon us by imports.

The problem has evolved over the last couple of decades, where any action to achieve a conviction is acceptable. This flies directly in the face of the principles of good investigations.

Moreover, in part, it puts policing above the law.

A notion rejected by the overwhelming majority of serving police and those who have served.

To blame a few rogue detectives is a nonsense; this concept is a cultural one that senior managers have not addressed, and it is they who are responsible.

A Royal Commission is now being touted as justified because of the failure and ineptitude of Policing in Victoria as an organisation.

There have been a plethora of incidents over recent years that are building pressure for action to be taken.

VicPol has not challenged this growing body of justification for an inquiry, so we can only assume that the police executives are resigned to the inevitability of a review of some type.

A Royal Commission, however, in our view, is not the answer as the answer lies within VicPol itself.

Nothing will change until one or more Senior Executives are held to account and suffer the consequence of their ineptitude.

It is incredulous that some of those involved in the Gobbo debacle still hold senior positions in VicPol, and elsewhere, enabling their incompetence, or more disastrous their policing values, to be further promulgated.

This raises the question of what some inept, incompetent managers must do to be held to account.

It seems whatever they like, it just won’t happen.

The reality is that many who have acted corruptly in the Gobbo matters will have retired and accessed their comfortable Superannuation by the time charges are made. Culprits will not face court as police, effectively shifting the responsibility from VicPol.

Draining the executive swamp is one alternative, but fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, there are a number of executives whose services are of considerable value.

The ball, however, is now squarely in the Chief Commissioner’s court.

His response will determine whether the Government is forced by public pressure to hold an inquiry or Commission.

There is a growing air of inevitability.

A VICTORIA POLICE EMERGENCY

A VICTORIA POLICE EMERGENCY

12th July 2022

On many issues, the CAA is in lockstep with the Police Association (TPAV), but sometimes that step is out of kilter a little bit, as is the case with the TPAV recent announcement as a solution to the dire staffing levels at Police Stations,

 ‘New police numbers, together with MOU to send police back into stations’.

The research that the TPAV has done is identical to the feedback that the CAA has received about the appalling situations in many stations that are just unable to perform their critical functions because of staff shortages.

This is not just a COVID problem; although it has exaggerated the issue, it was evident before the pandemic.

The common issue is that on paper, the staff levels seem solid until you drill down to the actual availability of the members of a station to perform station duties.

The stations cannot maintain patrols, and closing a Police Station for a shift is now a regular occurrence across the state.

Pleas for help from the community are ramped; sound familiar.

The appalling reality is that the delivery of reactive services are failing and any hope of even basic proactive policing remains a dream.

Where we are out of step with the TPAV is the solution.

For all those members who are doing it tough with a never-ending cycle of night and other less palatable shifts because there is nobody else to do them, the two-year wait for extra numbers and the TPAV meeting with VicPol twice a year is hardly encouraging or even looks like a solution; a bit of kicking the can down the road at best.

Looking at what has been done, it is actually nothing.

The TPAV supports, as we do, a move to preventing crime as a priority. Still, there is no hope of fulfilling this objective unless a solution to the staffing problem is found rather than the protracted, possible, maybe approach accepted by the TPAV. They were sold a pup.

Our greatest concern, equal in importance to service delivery capability, is the welfare of members. Those members left at stations carrying an unfair workload will continue to fall, succumbing to health issues, including burnout.

Standing by while members are falling is not in our DNA.

The current number of members counted on station rosters who require flexible or part-time arrangements will continue to escalate and is the primary cause of the problem. The TPAV did not seem to address this issue.

We are aware of one station, and there are many like it, where ten members, or a third of their staff, are on flexible hours, making them unavailable for specific shifts and duties. But they are shown on the roster as full-time members.

It is no small feat balancing, Maternity, Paternity, Annual, Special, Military,  Study, Sick and Long Service leave impacts and family commitments on a Station Roster. Still, when that is exacerbated to the degree of adversely affecting the ability of the police station to provide a modicum of service delivery, the problem is dire.

Meetings, plans and forward projections will not alleviate the inevitable continued decline of station staff numbers and, as a consequence, the ineffective policing of the state.

Hand wringing is theatre, not a result.

The much-lorded Capability Plan has turned out to be a dud, but as we said at its launch, it had pretty pictures.

If the plan worked, how come the capability position is as it currently is?

As more members burn out, the numbers seeking either sick leave, flexible hours or part-time work will increase; this phenomenon has built inertia that will exponentially grow.

Meetings and promises that may be achieved in two years are all things the hard-working members have heard before; they need the confidence that the issues will be addressed now.

This problem is an emergency, and if action is not taken immediately, expect a further decline to where VicPol is theoretically insolvent in Service delivery, unable to repay the debt it owes society.

We call on the Chief Commissioner to establish an Inspectorate to address the staffing issue at Police Stations, among other administrative problems.

The first and urgent role of the Inspectorate is to identify members in positions who can be seconded back to Police Stations in exchange for members whose time availability is compromised.

No part of VicPol should be quarantined from this process.

This process will be unpopular with some members, but the overwhelming majority of members currently carrying excessive workloads are entitled to the consideration.

We are not proposing altering current arrangements with individual members, just their work location and function.

This is a significant staffing reset; however, it is critical if the force is to retain staff and reduce the impact of burnout. The focus up until now has been on the rights or work-life issues of those who seek special conditions.

We have no difficulty with that concept; however, it is time to move the pendulum back to protecting the police who protect us, and they should receive the full support of VicPol and all Victorians. Their welfare is also a priority.

To be effective, the Inspectorate has to be independent of any line authority that may impact or try to influence its work, and it must be pragmatic. Hence, the Inspectorate Commander must report directly to the Chief Commissioner.

This radical plan is not a total solution but may set benchmarks to avoid the current level of difficulty replicating in the future.

There is nothing new in this dramatic approach. New South Wales Police had a problem with a dearth of experience in the metropolitan area, although that is where the most crime and disorder was. The experienced police had vacated to the country, and a major realignment of personnel was carried out to bring experienced members back into the areas of most need.

When faced with extraordinary problems, it requires extraordinary solutions, and this issue must be addressed before any more members crash- this is a Victoria Police emergency.

Safe injecting room – gang cartel connection?

Safe injecting room – gang cartel connection?

10th July 2022

The so-called ‘safe injecting’ rooms are just part of the evil problem of drug  addiction and the long-term physical and mental health issues that the Government is not prepared to tackle.

The CAA has long advocated targeting the business models that the drug trade, particularly the Bikie and Middle Eastern Drug cartels rely on, and do not depend solely on enforcement with outdated, ineffective laws.

Consider where the customers of the injecting rooms get their illicit and dangerous drugs; in the main street dealers. Where do the street dealers get the filthy drugs from, bikie and middle eastern crime gangs?

It is a complex business model with dangerous workplace issues,  such as being shot, bashed or overdosed (Hot Shot).   The Government turns a blind eye to this, often celebrating the questionable success of the safe injecting rooms. The claim of success is reducing calls to ambulances. That claim acknowledges that the rooms do not mitigate the problem or improve the likely rehabilitation of addicts.

The other claim of reducing overdoses and possible deaths only relates to the small percentage of addicts/users who use the facilities, not the broader drug community.

It was not that long ago that injecting room staff were convicted of drug trafficking?

It is not a spurious argument that the Government is complicit in the drug trade, which may explain the inaction?

Interestingly the drug Cartel business model has taken a dire turn; they are now shooting at each other in a turf war. Inevitably innocent public will become collateral damage.

Whilst the Government looks at other locations for injecting rooms to appease the suffering residents of Richmond, which has now been turned into a thoroughly depressing and disgusting place.  Witnesses report to us addicts defecating in Victoria Street, the main thoroughfare, and this is part of Melbourne, a most livable city?

So the wicked problem continues without accurate statistics supporting its continuation and without broad thinking about the other impacts on government services.

It does, however, raise the question of the nexus between the Governments inaction and the growth of the drug Cartels in this State.

The Bikie gangs did not move south for the weather.

We are not alleging a direct link between the Cartels and the Government, but the Cartels would very favourably view those pushing for safe injecting rooms. Whether that translates to direct or indirect succour needs investigating.

We now have another eighty police, in addition to the already established Task Forces; Echo is but one, focused on bikies and middle eastern gangs who now chose to shoot at each other; that is just the tip of an iceberg.

The CAA calls for a commission into where the drugs come from.

It is time for the politicians to educate themselves and not be led by the nose because of their naivety.

It is easy to test sample drugs from the clients at the injecting rooms to compare that to drug seizures from+ middle eastern crime gangs and bikie gangs.

If truth be known, the Government already knows from wastewater (sewage) testing; they just do not make it public.

Let there be some truth about the drug impact, no more lies.

How many young women and men are being prostituted?

  • How many kids are being traumatised by violence at home?
  • How many police are now focused on bikies rather than community safety?
  • How many Domestic disputes have a drug component?
  • How many fewer druggies do we have in Victoria because of the injecting room?
  • How many of the homeless have drug addiction issues?
  • How many have mental health issues from drugs?

Drugs like gambling and prostitution are wicked problems, but when Government looks for remedies to wicked problems, they tend to select the path of least resistance.

Perhaps the first move is to educate the politicians. They should first spend time in the vicinity of the Richmond room (after hours) before opening another and visit the drug factories in the suburbs to see how the cartels are making drugs, accessing precursor ingredients and then selling them for use in the injecting rooms.

When addicts start defecating in Flinders Street (proposed new injecting room site), the Government may at last take notice.

Interestingly the announcement of that new site’s suitability is delayed until after the election. If it is so good, why wait?

Let’s have the new injecting room in the dining room of Parliament House instead of Flinders Street. At least there are no pre-schools around the area and no community amenity to disrupt.

Déjà Vu – look out bikes, again.

Déjà Vu – look out bikes, again.

7th July 2022

The announcement by the Chief Commissioner of a new task force, Viper, to tackle outlaw motor-cycle gangs had a familiar ring but hopefully a better outcome than a previous attempt.

Even so, some similarities are a worry.

In 2013 Chief Commissioner Ken Lay announced, under the headline

TOP COP’S WARNS OUTLAW BIKIES, ‘WE HAVE A GANG TOO’

Lay announced that a ‘hard-nosed investigator Superintendent Brett Guerin was to take over the Razon Task Force, “Take on the Bikies”.

Targeting the Night Club industry, the only reference we could find was that Task Force charged three Bikies with selling Alcohol without a license.

It was reported that Superintendent Guerin is a man with an engaging laugh and a quick wit. Mr Lay has identified him as the right man for the job.

The lilt of one’s laughter and wit seem strange attributes for a Bikie gangbuster.

Lay failed to say or had not found out that Guerin was the infamous Vernon Demerest and Clive Howlett- Jones, two of the most infamous foul-mouthed nom de plume racist trolls who could best be described as extreme right-wing fascists on social media—allegedly using police computers to troll.

The head of the Professional Standards Command, as an Assistant Commissioner, his career ended abruptly when he was exposed as a troll.

The similarities with Viper, however, do not relate to the character of the police in charge but the comparison of the Government actions for both Razon and Viper.

The Legislation does not match the Bikie creed of extreme violence to achieve their objectives, so being unable to deal with the Bikies in the traditional way aTask Force would seem the only alternative.

To cover the Governments’ failings to legislate enabling powers for police, here we are nine years after Razon, faced with the same issues and the same Government without lessons learned.

We fear the problem will be just as bad in another decade, and Viper will not have been the magic bullet the politicians hoped would avoid them having to do their job.

Sometimes we wonder if our community leaders are ‘in awe’,infatuated’ or ‘afraid’ of the Bikie culture, making them unprepared to tackle it.

It is ironic that the drugs that swill through the Safe Injecting Rooms are most probably  sourced via the Bikie Gang networks, make of that as you will.

The Government again resists to tackle the issue properly, and as in 2013, it will all be left to the police to try to resolve with one hand tied behind their back. And if they fail, guess whose fault it will be – the Poilce?

If the Government and community leaders are serious, the Legislation in America called Rico-Law enacted in 1970 would be a good template to start. It is very successful in combating organised crime, which regular Legislation fails to do.

Those Lawmakers understood the tentacles of organised crime, which this law addresses and is not available in traditional Legislation.

The exodus of bikies and organised crime from Interstate to Victoria was not solely because of the efforts of interstate Police or any lack of effort by Victorian Police. It was the Legislation, or lack thereof, in Victoria.

One question we ponder, is we have been sold the value of the Echo Task Force that has existed for some time as an anti-bikie operation; why do we need another Task Force?

This Government failure will cost us.

This Government inaction has taken eighty police from the front line protecting us to focus on a problem that the Government, it seems, is not at all interested in resolving.

It is simply not good enough to take any police from the frontline, General Duties and the Road policing areas in particular, as they are already under-resourced dramatically, this directly and adversely impacts us.

When you call the police, and they do not come, or the road toll soars, you will know why.

Crime will always escalate when the Policing function at the grassroots is compromised.

Perhaps some may be replaced, but that will inevitably by recruits, in the fullness of time, a euphemism for ‘maybe whenever’.

These newbies will not have the mentoring of more senior and experienced peers to learn from to keep us safe and, just as importantly, keep them safe in a dangerous occupation – the experienced are all in the Task Forces.

This bikie culture is attractive to those inclined, so why do we immortalise them when in reality, they are predominantly Middle Eastern Crime gangs and Crime families, in part using the Bikie culture as a front for extortion and protection. The Bikie image built by the media serves them well in the extortion rackets.

It would be helpful if the media took some responsibility.

It is time to provide the horsepower for policing at both ends, starving these organisations of their most valuable resource, members, by focusing on the feeder youth and targeting the support mechanisms organised crime relies on with Rico-Law.

For the feeder youths, where diversion does not work, incarceration for a period when they are young may avert their direction in life.

We all abhor the idea of incarcerating young people and the argument that it is counter-intuitive to acceptable social norms we would like to support.

Based, however, on lived experiences, this does not always work.

The solution is yet to be found, but nobody is seriously looking, least of all our community leaders.

This issue must be pragmatically examined as a matter of urgency, or in a few years, another Task Force to deal with a problem that police have not been able to resolve for a decade will be created.

The first step is for the Government to take responsibility and ownership of the problem- then do something about it.

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

27th June 2022

With about eighteen thousand sworn Police in Victoria, the question of ‘where are you?’, is totally legitimate.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has received numerous complaints about the lack of service to Victorians by VicPol.

Complaints range from police simply not being visible generally, to police stations being closed, to non-attendance of police to incidents, and calls for help from the public, and too few foot and mobile patrols.

This phenomenon is exacerbated by a complete apathy to their task by many police, particularly at Police Stations. The most egregious complaints relate to laziness and the lack of interest of police members, failing to even make a basic effort to police. In many cases, police do not even make excuses.

The answer is complex and multifaceted, but when one looks at NSW, a State that is geographically three and a half times larger than Victoria and has approximately two million more citizens with two thousand fewer police. The police there seem to be achieving remarkable results, if it is purely a numbers game.

Perhaps it is not the numbers but how they are used.

All the much-heralded increases in police numbers in Victoria have not seen an increase in the quality of Service Delivery experienced by the community.

Thankfully, there are still many dedicated and effective police looking after us. To them, we are greatly indebted, but their efforts are often thwarted by the less than enthusiastic, lazy, or just plain apathetic colleagues.

Competent police continually having to work more of the less than desirable shifts carrying the bulk of the workload while their apathetic colleagues receive the same allowances and benefits will eventually wear down the most committed who are likely to move to the other side for their mental survival.

Apathy is contagious; this easier option can eventually sway the most dedicated.

Major issues faced by the inability of the police to perform their task are structural and cultural by nature and feed the apathy epidemic sweeping the force.

These issues are not limited to but include,

  • Service delivery

From outside the organisation, it appears that Service Delivery has been transposed with Service Efficiency.

  • Training

The demise of much of the face-to-face learning based on a false argument of efficiency has compromised the effectiveness of training. The efficiency is questionable, but all the non-formal tangibles of face-to-face training are lost. This reduces training effectiveness and the capacity of police to compare themselves to their peers, an invaluable benefit. Competition is healthy.

Too much reliance on online training provides the apathetic with an excuse to hide on a computer (training) and is counterproductive to a good Police Force.

  • Police mobile patrols

As far as the CAA resources would allow, it has been established that many Police Stations are only capable of maintaining Night Shift Patrols that are numerically the same as thirty years ago. Additionally, with the new policies around Domestic Violence reports that take a minimum of four hours per incident (often longer), many areas are left at night with no patrol capacity.
Any wonder the community feels unsafe.

  • Task Forces

Including all other special efforts or dedicated Policing groups is the antithesis of good policing. Each of these groups and there is a need for some, highlights a Police failure. The crime should have been prevented in the first place. Task Forces or similar groups are routinely inefficient in a global sense. The staffing of these groups has to come from somewhere, and that usually means the General Duties Police, further reducing their capacity to prevent crime, so the vicious cycle perpetually expands.

Management finds it easy to set up a task group but not so easy to shut it down as the staff become comfortable in that environment, explaining why many groups last for years.

  • Poor supervision

This failure extends far into the rank structure and is a significant contributor. Police Managers are not held to proper account for staff failings, a major flaw and an area where blame-shifting is endemic. Lazy managers create lazy subordinates.

 

The bottom line is that the organisation has turned its back on its core function and motto, “Tenez le Droit” (Uphold the right).

 

These are just a sample of the issues identified by the CAA as significant contributors to the failure of policing in Victoria.

 

The CAA is concerned that unless a pragmatic and realistic approach is taken to these and other issues, the decline in Policing will accelerate.

 

As if we as a community needed more pressure from crime.

THE NON-LETHAL BEAN BAG MYTH

6th of June 2022

Recently the Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) criticised the use by Victoria Police of Bean Bag projectiles in crowd control. We stand by that criticism. https://caainc.org.au/bean-bags-and-plastic-baton-munitions-are-not-the-way-for-crowd-control/

In our view, they must never be deployed in crowd control situations like in Elizabeth Street and the Shrine during COVID related demonstrations or where people are undergoing psychotic episodes. And then only when all other avenues are exhausted, and there is an imminent danger to Police or others.

It has been alleged that many Police were injured in these demonstrations, hence the justification for Bean Bag munitions.

If they were, it had more to do with poor or ineffective Command and Control leaving Police vulnerable. There was substantial evidence on the nightly news that Command and Control were regularly failing, and when it does, that is when most Police are injured.

The police executives are singularly and solely responsible.

The Victoria Police has a sophisticated surveillance capacity and can live stream detailed action to a command center in real-time. But unfortunately, the executives either didn’t bother to look or didn’t recognise the failings unfolding before them and how to deal with them, incompetency.

Repeat performances showed that they clearly took no action. But it is unclear if the Bean Bag use was authorised or who authorised their deployment.

As with the Bourke Street massacre there appears to be a deliberate policy for the Executive Command not to take a leadership role. With the plethora of executive level Officers in VicPol, surely the lessons would have been learnt from Bourke Street and any number of other Police incidents that effective Operational Command and Control is essential and delegating that responsibility totally to the lowest ranks is a unacceptable and an abrogation of responsibility.

The Elizabeth Street foray was not a few random shots but allegedly sustained and repetitious fire of many rounds, a yippee shoot requiring additional ammunition to be sourced.

Bean Bag projectiles are munitions that can cause serious injury, with the possibility of fatal consequences.

They are not simply a corduroy shoe polisher filled with beans instead of fabric. They are twelve-gauge shotgun cartridges with nine-shot lead pellets and various other materials depending on the brand of the round used.

Marketed by suppliers as non-lethal, they can only be described, at best, as potentially less lethal; they are serious munitions.

The graphic photographs depicted here show just how dangerous these projectiles are and the damage that can be caused to one person by just three rounds of the six fired, reinforcing that these rounds are wildly inaccurate, making unintended outcomes a severe risk.

The extreme danger of the proximity to major organs and arteries cannot be discounted.

Leg wound

Leg wound

Post op arm wound                              

 

Nearly 100 pellets removed from the arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stomach wound.

While the incident resulting in these wounds was not crowd control related, the physical harm suffered by the individual concerned, who was heavily intoxicated and undergoing a psychotic episode, amply illustrates the recklessness of using Bean Bag munitions as the go-to weapon.

Victoria Snelgrove, a twenty-two-year-old student bystander to a Boston demonstration, was shot in the eye with a bean bag round and died shortly after. The Officer involved claimed he was aiming at somebody else.

Victoria Stengrove

 

https://www.police1.com/police-products/less-lethal/projectiles-launchers/articles/emtragedy-in-bostonem-the-impact-projectile-death-of-victoria-snelgrove-pOAEJHNfvAivymNj/

We also reject the defence of the use of bean bags when dealing with patients undergoing a psychotic episode, that psych services are not readily available in the real world of policing; this is an operational reality that management must address and resolve.

Standard operating procedures mean Police are often screaming at a suspect for compliance, which exacerbates any psychotic episode. We accept that Police do not always know if a suspect has the propensity for such outbursts, but part of the police procedure should be to make an effort to find out.

Although it is not always practical, expeditious resolution of an issue where nobody is in direct threat of harm should not be the objective. Instead, the safe resolution for the Police, the community, and the patient/perpetrator must be the primary consideration.

Most importantly, Executive Officers, theoretically the most experienced and capable, often do not assume command in serious incidents; why not?

This is yet another example of where the Executive is letting down the Operational members by not ensuring they are adequately resourced and supported. In these operational matters, a lack of psych resources and effective command and control could be the difference between life or death for the Police or the patient.

Police must be satisfied that all other available resources, including de-escalation techniques and Mental Health Services, are deployed before using these weapons.

The use of containment, not engagement, must be the first option.

The CAA again calls on the Victoria Police to review their policy on the use of potentially lethal weapons where Police members or others are not at imminent life-threatening risk.

On the matter of policy, and to properly inform, we have made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to view the current policy on using these munitions. The information is not operationally sensitive and should be within the knowledge of the community.

We have been told that the information requested will not be available within the statutory four weeks but hopefully within twenty-seven weeks.

Over six months is a deliberate strategy designed to make inquiries disappear or lose relevance.

If they cannot be dealt with in the four weeks, then it is another management failure by VicPol, and nothing will change until the responsible Executive is held to account, not some clerk.

RULE, LETS THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG ON SLUG-GATE

RULE, LETS THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG ON SLUG-GATE

1st June 2022

Andrew Rule, in his Herald Sun article 22nd of May 2022, ‘Was ‘slug-gate’ a slimy trick to divert public money?”. Has well and truly, let the ‘cat out of the bag.’

https://omny.fm/shows/life-and-crimes-with-andrew-rule/the-slug-gate-saga-deepens#description

This is the most egregious and far-reaching corrupt enterprise to be uncovered in this State.

There will be many very nervous people in the Health Department, Police, Local Government, and a couple of politicians who will face awkward questions about corrupt behaviours. As will the Auditor General, the State financial watchdog, who will need to answer some confronting questions about his efficacy, as he was across the ‘Community Chef’ books showing the failures effectively from the start.

The big question is how did he not detect insolvency.

This is all about a meticulously contrived plan hatched to create a cash cow for recipients not yet revealed.

Simply set up a catering business with government funds in the aged care and hospital food supply chain. The owners of the enterprise ‘Community Chef’, local government, and the Health Department can also be the major customer base.

They also happen to be the industry’s regulators, so the few competitors in this specialised area would rapidly drop off.

The equivalent of having ‘Hungry Jacks’ regulate McDonald’s, what could go wrong? Especially if you disregard gross conflict of interest and criminal conspiracies.

The significant job losses by closing these businesses is an oxymoron to the rationale of establishing ‘Community Chef, to create jobs. The net effect was overall job losses in this sector, one of the most significant smoke and mirrors acts ever perpetrated on the Victorian public

The plan started to look shaky when not all the players in the catering field followed the script. Instead, their nemesis became ICooks, who steadfastly refused to acquiesce to the conspirator’s grand plan. And year after year, ‘Community Chef’ continued to need more cash injections than ever to keep afloat. A basket case enterprise of epic proportions.

The architects of the conspiracy, now with concern almost panic for the future of ‘Community Chef’, moved into arguably illegal actions to achieve their objectives to stave off insolvency, which was arguably evident and covered up for many years.

One of the strongest motivators for the conspirators was the technology that ICooks had developed.

Texture modified food is a technique of processing food, modifying the texture, and then presenting it in its original form. Designed to replace the vitamised muck that people unable to eat solid food have traditionally endured.

When the conspirators launched their offensive against ICooks, we believe it was no coincidence that I Cooks were well advanced in securing a series of multi-Million-dollar contracts for their technology locally and internationally.

The value of this business was heading towards the triple-figure million-dollar levels. Yet, all the contracts ready to complete, worth somewhere north of $20 million, were cancelled because of local government and State bureaucrats interventions. As a result, homegrown technology that was in demand by the world’s markets was lost.

If ICooks could be forced into liquidation, the conspirators could pick up the patents at a bargain price, and the future of the ‘Community Chef’ as a cash cow would be assured. ICooks never liquidated.

The ubiquitous and converted main prize in the game was lost to Community Chef.

‘Community Chef’ has now gone owing millions, absorbed with all its debts by the Health Department currently claiming under-resourcing for health failures in this State. Perhaps spending more wisely would help their current crisis.

The conspirator’s intelligence was a bit like Russia’s intel on Ukraine. They underestimated the resolve of their enemy. Ian Cook refused to quietly accede to the market pressure created by the conspirators. This forced the conspirators to resort to risky strategies, like slugs, to achieve their aims

Amongst ICooks supporters are two retired detectives who have worked pro bono for over two years, putting together volumes of intelligence and evidence in this case. Their dossier exposes conspiracies and a raft of other criminal activities.

The two detectives achieved what the responsible Government entities did not bother, or could not do, to see off this artifice called ‘Community Chef’ and sever the money pipeline that bled the company of millions.

The location of the other end of that pipeline is pretty evident to all involved in this matter. The detectives are now working on converting intelligence gathered into evidence.

The ex-detectives helping ICooks, have lost none of their skills. Although retired you can take police out of policing but not their loyalty to their oath, which is innate.

Slug-gate is heading inextricably and rapidly towards the ‘bring down’ of the perpetrators, their minions, and Kama for the victims.

The infamous Red Shirts Rorts, still being investigated (we think), pales into insignificance. The taxpayer was rorted for $388k, compared to the Slug-gate scandal, which is circa $50 million at a minimum—ultimately heading closer to $100m.

From the first briefing, the Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) received the CAA formed the view that this was a profoundly serious criminal matter of epic proportions. Further briefings reinforced the initial evaluation.

The failures by responsible agencies are numerous, and the individuals are sure to be exposed.

At the top of the list must be the Auditor General’s Office, who was across the ‘Community Chef’ books but either did not understand what they were looking at, incompetence, or something else.

Not far behind is Victoria Police, who we suspect, given the average lack of knowledge within Policing of corporate operations and governance, did not recognise the issue’s magnitude. However, elements within VicPol who did know acted corruptly.

IBAC has also been very tardy. Given that their inability to investigate the matter was claimed to be manpower, the offer from the CAA of a number of former detectives to investigate on behalf of IBAC pro bono was rejected.

The Slug-gate artifice is a huge issue with tentacles reaching far and wide; this probably understates the reality.

Once the scabs are torn back, what will be revealed will be monumental, leading right to the door of the most powerful leaders in the land.

We strongly encourage Andrew Rule and others to continue to investigate and expose the treacherous conspirators and their criminal misdeeds.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

WE NEED YOUR HELP

15th of May 2022

The CAA has been operating for over seven years, predominantly funded (90%) by the contribution of membership fees.

We are now entering an election phase in the States political cycle, and we know that the issues we have championed have a better chance of support when politicians are focused on an election.

Preceding the last election, the CAA exhausted its funds on promoting the various CAA causes via social media, and we propose a similar strategy for this election.

Every election is important; however, this one stands out as an election about our fundamental rights to exercise the freedoms that democracy is supposed to offer and the accountability of the Government to the people. Yet, that freedom is challenged by government intrusion into our lives, and we are all damaged by the associated high levels of corruption.

The CAA is not aligned politically, favouring the ideological bent most closely aligned with our values.

To enable us to be heard, we need your help to invest in broadening our reach, currently over 30k, to more Victorians and influence their voting by taking into account the matters we raise.

Our objective is to achieve a Government with Integrity and transparency at its core regardless of the politics. If that is not fulfilled, all the promises are worthless.

Our fight against corruption needs financial support to increase our effectiveness in the public interest. Transparency International estimates corruption to cost $4000 per person per annum. Your support will help us fight corruption and consequential injustices.

To donate, go to https://caainc.org.au/how-to-become-a-donor/

HALLELUJAH A BREAKTHROUGH?

13th May 2022

The announcement by the Ombudsman, Ms Deborah Glass OBE (Herald Sun 11/5/22), that an outsider will probe cronyism is the first sign of cracks appearing in the wall of corruption that is endemic to Victoria.

Corruption can only survive and grow when those who hold positions of power can act in concert, only achievable by widespread cronyism, nepotism and indebtedness.

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) fully supports this initiative and congratulates the Ombudsman on her response to the Government referral.

This chink in this hitherto impenetrable corruption wall will knock out the foundations to bring that edifice tumbling down.

The importance of this announcement cannot be understated.

Once the collapse starts, it will inevitably lead to the breadth and depth of corruption in Victoria being exposed as the conies fight for survival.

A pattern is already evident with the exposé by those involved in the political branch stacking issues. You can expect that pattern to be replicated many times over.

Once the ‘penny has dropped’, that most cronies will suffer financial pain at least, and some may end up in jail; there will be a mad scramble to want to talk to the inquiry. Many realising the ‘jig is up,’ and those who have had their careers and lives ruined by cronyism.

Government entities use the selection panel process to mask cronyism, but a compliant or corrupt selection panel is not a defence but an extension of cronyism.

All Victorians must support every effort to fight this corruption pandemic that costs each Victorian $4000(est) every year and remove those who serve their selfish self-interests instead of the State.

The fewer cronies that survive, the greater the benefit for us all.

The CAA will be making a comprehensive submission and invites input for consideration from members and supporters.

For further information, go to https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/our-impact/news/politicisation-of-the-public-service-issues-paper-and-request-for-submissions/

WHERE TO FROM HERE CHIEF PATTON?

WHERE TO FROM HERE CHIEF PATTON?

6th May 2022

The Victoria Police and the Chief Commissioner have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot. With their latest effort, they have managed to shoot both feet.

Some of the baggage inherited from the reign of Chief Commissioner Ashton provided some initial cover for current Chief Shane Patton. He is well on his own now. Not only must he wear shortcomings of his own administration but failings and deficiencies of the previous regime.

The CAA provided support for Mr Patton and has been subjected to substantial criticism for that position, however, we are now concerned our faith was misplaced.

We had been contemplating the improved change in what we saw as positive approach by VicPol to demonstrations against the deportation of criminal detainees.

Our hesitation was the cause being pursued.

A cause of the extreme left of Politics, raised in our view doubts that this change was not an awakening by VicPol on how demonstrations should be managed but a change influenced because of who was demonstrating, a partisan political stand by VicPol.

The police response to civil unrest is bookended by the Black lives matter and the latest refugee demonstrations with the COVID response in between.

If the Government or the Chief Commissioner thought that the disquiet created during the COVID demonstrations will dissipate over the use of capsicum spray, bean bag rounds, riot shields, demonstrators thrown to the ground and many arrested, they have miscalculated badly, they have just poked the bear.

Any doubts as to the political status of VicPol have now been put beyond doubt by the inaction of the Chief Commissioner to the ranting unhinged behaviour of Lidia Thorpe, a member of Parliament and the Greens party.

Her tirade at the police, who showed amazing restraint, was inexcusable on any level but aggravated substantially because of her position as a sitting MP.

That Mr Patton did not immediately come to the defence of the Police members, and the Force to condemn Thorpe’s behaviour is inexcusable and any efforts now will not be considered as authentic, the moment has passed for Patton.

Other than a few police who have a similar political bent, the overwhelming majority of police will be feeling badly let down by their Chief Commissioner to a degree that may not be recoverable.

Equally culpable was the Police Minister Neville. She was conspicuously absent as was the Premier. Yet it was Premier Andrews who relied on those same Police to implement the draconian and unpopular COVID policies that police on the ground wore the brunt of, professionally and privately.

Policing is a thankless job, but when the community leadership collectively fail the Police on the frontline that is a damnable disgrace.

Chief Commissioner Patton now has to be careful that he is not faced with a ’vote of no confidence’ from the Police rank and file, the ones getting abused, assaulted and spat on, as police anger is palpable.

It would be a grave error to assume that will not happen. Pervious Chiefs Reg Jackson and Mick Miller faced a ‘vote of no confidence’ so precedents do exist for such an extraordinary move by Police rank and file. This matter is much more sensitive and coming as it does hot on the heels of the way the COVID Police response was handled. This latest may be the catalyst for discontent to boil over.

As this latest demonstration confirms that the variable responses by  Police on the ground are dictated by their command, not the individual police.

Not to be forgotten this misstep comes right on top of the debacle and mishandling of the Sergeant Bruno Staffieri matter. I this matter Sergeant was charged with disciplinary offences and the perpetrator of the abuse of the Chief Commissioners’ own Inclusion Policy was his own deputy. Deputy commissioner Paterson thus far has escaped accountability and the Chief has remained mute.

That Deputy is the same officer who as an Assistant Commissioner appeared before the Royal Commission into Police Informants. At that appearance Mr Paterson admitted on oath that he had failed to tell the Royal Commission for six months that the prime subject of the Commission , barrister Nicola Gobbo had been previously registered as a police informer in 1995.

This action raises the question of a contempt of the Commission. Why no disciplinary action was taken against Paterson for this egregious failure is beyond comprehension when there is no doubt a lower rank would have faced scrutiny without hesitation.

Patton promoted Paterson to Deputy knowing his embarrassing failure before the Royal Commission and the potential for him to face contempt charges.

Getting promoted after misleading a Royal Commission, how does that work?

The relevance of these assorted issues brings into sharp relief the competence of the Chief Commissioner as it can be fairly argued he does not support his rank and file, provides cover for the executive, his lack of ability to select competent people for promotion and his relationship with the Government. Raising the sceptre of promotion by allegiances to Political doctrines rather than competency.

Victoria Police is without doubt politicised and that is not good for the community irrespective of any political views, for that sin we are all victims.

The classic police idiom applies to the Chief Commissioner – Your move Sergeant.

Exposed – IBAC chasing ratings not corruption

4th May 2022

Damian Johnston in the Australian (25/4/22) has ‘blown the whistle’ on IBAC.

The CAA has long held the view that the ‘show trials’ conducted by IBAC were not a big step away from the medieval stocks, an instrument of the medieval 1300s, where alleged miscreants were exposed to public ridicule without conviction or a trial.

The only difference is that these IBAC ‘show trials’ do not include rotten tomatoes for the masses to throw at the hapless victim.

Operation Sandon, where the former Mayor of the City of Casey took her own life three days after receiving an interim finding from IBAC is something that is inexcusable in our alleged civilised society.

Amanda Stapleton had the indignity of being exposed to an IBAC ‘show trial’ and the most serious allegation put to her was she allegedly failed to declare a $25k political donation. Hardly worth a life but the degree of humiliation seems to have caused the loss.

It is alleged that no new information was achieved by the ‘show trial’ and the destruction of witnesses. Therefore, the exercise was one of humiliation, not examination.

A simple basic tenet of law applies,’ Innocent until proven guilty’ but apparently this does not apply to IBAC.

IBAC bragging about its social media exposure is a disgrace and should of itself be justification for its demise. This has been severely aggravated by the most recent leaks where it would appear that the IBAC media image trumps due process.

What has been amazing is just how quiet the legal fraternity is on this issue given these bastions of traditionalism of the Law are so vocal on any other deviations that impact the law, but holding people to ridicule, a severe punishment in itself, without a conviction or any due process is not challenged.

IBAC should be judged like a famous fish cannery slogan “It is the fish that John West rejects, that makes John West the best

By applying that slogan to IBAC’s failure to take action on the Red Shirts, COVID Hotels, Racist recidivist Police executive white supremacist rants, politicians travel rorts, Health Department indiscretions, Police executive travel rorts, Police executive bullying, Gobbo affair and Slug-gate are the ones that IBAC rejects and should be judged unmercifully.

How this criminality is allowed to be ignored is a crime of itself.

It seems however, IBAC are well capable of applying substantial resources to a witch hunt called branch stacking. Much more Political than criminal but is an insight into what now must be seen as part of the political apparatus.

Moreover, what this issue also raises has to be the competence of IBAC and their need to resort to their extraordinary powers so, poorly applied.

Clearly, their investigative skills are compromised severely either by a lack of competent investigators, poor management, or both.

Serious consideration must be given to disposing of IBAC and replacing it with a new entity because above all else there is no evidence to suggest that IBAC is reducing corruption by simply picking off favourite cases to pursue. On that basis, they should really be kicking goals.

The latest alleged leaking of an interim report of matters under investigation exacerbates severely the ineptitude of IBAC and given the état d’esprit of IBAC towards the media the probability, that this document was deliberately leaked, is a genuine consideration. If that is so, that must mean the end of IBAC. It does not matter who made the leak, that it happened within IBAC must be worn by the organisation.

There should be no ‘that’s him over there’s problem’ in this one.

The failures are not only of IBAC itself but an even greater failure of the Inspectorate responsible for overseeing the entity and in turn the Parliamentary Oversight Committee. Overall, it is a catastrophic failure morally and at Law.

The CAA has proposed an alternate and a solution detailed at https://caainc.org.au/library/?doing_wp_cron=1650872927.2962388992309570312500   VICTORIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR

Although “show trials” should be referred to as public examinations. It is that process that is so damaging to both innocent and guilty alike. Like any criminal investigation, the due process of law must be followed and importantly individuals must have their guilt or innocence determined by a Court, not by innuendo or public servants by a public inquisition, where the victim is unable to defend themselves.

The whole process smacks of, ‘we know you did it but because we cannot prove it we will destroy you anyway’.

Even with the ability to pick and choose targets IBAC’s track record is abysmal, they would be unlikely to take on a case that they would lose, but that is probably explained by the criteria now exposed for taking on investigations; Media ratings potential.

The plaintive cry over funding would have to be tested against performance because simply providing more funding will not solve endemic issues within the ethos of the authority.

More funding will exasperate and amplify the problems and corruption will go on unabated.

CHRISTIAN BELIEFS AN OFFENCE IN VICPOL

CHRISTIAN BELIEFS AN OFFENCE IN VICPOL

2nd May 2022

An unholy spat unfolded within Victoria Police last year between a Sergeant with Christian beliefs on the cusp of retiring and a Deputy Commissioner who is openly gay and is not too subtle with his aspirations for the top Police job.

The spat has spilt into the public domain.

When Police join the Force, they take either an Oath or an Affirmation to serve, “without favour or affection, malice or ill will…”  The vast majority of Police take this undertaking very seriously.

Concurrent with this, Victoria Police has published the following Inclusion Policy:

Victoria Police is committed to a workforce that embraces diversity and inclusion and our vision for this is: Our policing services are provided through leadership that fosters a diverse, inclusive and respectful workforce, better equipping us to work together to understand and respond to the Victorian community

In 2021, Victoria Police embarked on actions that bear a strong resemblance to the persecution and bullying of one of their own, a Christian, who expressed concerns about using police resources for the apparent promotion of a Gay agenda by one of the force’s most senior officers, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson.

Mr Paterson has been instrumental in promoting the inclusion of LGBTQI people into Victoria Police and he applied multiple sworn police to the 2021 Australian LGBTQ+ inclusion awards submission, which resulted in a Silver Award. The Victoria Police submission was undertaken despite the peak of the COVID Pandemic severely stretching Vicpol’s most valuable asset, manpower. To question this resource allocation in the circumstances is reasonable.

Mr Paterson appears to have overstepped the mark with his apparent biased gay agenda bullying of Sergeant Bruno Staffieri, over the latter’s respectful comments and concerns.

No ‘Inclusion Policy’ worth its salt excludes individuals based on their religious beliefs and nor can it be at law.  Yet Mr Paterson appears to have done just that, based on what appears to be his response to a respectful and courteously worded dissent expressed by Sergeant Staffieri on the Police internal social media platform.

Last year, Deputy Police Commissioner Neil Paterson posted on internal police social media celebrating that “Victoria Police is proud to have been recognised as a silver employer at the 2021 Australian LGBTQ+ inclusion awards.”

In response, Sergeant Staffieri responded: “Yes I agree. Great achievement. But if the public knew how much time, effort and taxpayer dollars went into this, they would also be demanding why we didn’t get a gold.”

Mr Paterson defended the campaign and said it had not received significant public funding.

Sergeant Staffieri responded: “Sir, I totally value and respect your opinion and your rank, I simply ask that you value and respect mine.”

Mr Paterson, the state’s second highest-ranked police officer, fired a public broadside at Sergeant Staffieri, suggesting he consider looking for a new job.

“I don’t respect or value your views as they are offensive and there is no place for those views in Victoria Police…. Either limit your comments on Yammer to comments that are respectful of everyone or consider your employment options,” Paterson posted -source https://www.advanceaustralia.org.au/this_victorian_copper_is_a_bloody_aussie_legend

 Sergeant Staffieri displayed a respectful tone while expressing concern over the resources which went into achieving recognition of Victoria Police for its inclusiveness.  Mr Paterson, on the other hand, was bullying and anything but respectful or inclusive in his response to the Sergeant.

 

Sergeant Staffieri has since been subjected to a protracted and ongoing investigation, as a consequence of this exchange and has apparently been charged under the Police Act and has now after two years been advised he will be suspended.

 The aggressor and person who would appear to have breached the Chief Commissioner’s Inclusion Policy appears not to have been disciplined.

We applaud Victoria Police for seeking to include LGBTQ+ people into the organisation.  But inclusion does not mean giving them a place of pre-eminence over others.  Inclusion also does not mean forcing out others because they seek to politely voice their beliefs respectfully, influenced by their religion.

The Deputy was responsible for escalating this matter into a religion versus gay spat. That he did not think through the impact the spat would attract, brings his judgement into serious question in addition to his deliberate breaching of Force Policy.

We find it hard to accept he is so naive that he would think the contentious comments published on an internal VicPol Social page available to 22,000 police staff, would not find a way into mainstream media and be widely circulated on public social media. We strongly suspect the action was either wholly reckless or deliberate.

If you don’t want it to get out, don’t write it.

So how has such an experienced senior officer as Mr Paterson fallen into such serious error?  Could it be that ambition plays a part?  Ambition for the LGBTQ+ community or ambition for himself?  Mr Paterson appears to have made LGBTQ+ inclusion, his personal agenda and in doing so appears to have lost objectivity critical to his role as one of the most senior leaders in a major Australian policing agency.

As a police leader, he must lead for all, not just some.  Mr Paterson appears to have failed significantly in his most important duty – leadership.  This brings into question his suitability to remain at that very senior level, let alone progress to higher office when the Chief Commissioner’s Office becomes vacant.

We should also be concerned over the apparent inaction of Chief Commissioner Patton in this debacle from whom we hear nothing.  Most significantly because this egregious breach of force policy is the Chief Commissioners’ own Policy.

Paterson has thrown down the gauntlet to Patton, in a not too subtle challenge to the Chief Commissioners’ authority. A blatant act of dissension that cannot be tolerated in any circumstance from any Police member let alone somebody of Paterson’s rank.

Mr Patton holds the highest office in Victoria Police and therefore, arguably, the highest duty to lead his police. Mr Patton is singularly silent in this matter, apparently preferring to leave it to others in Command to mount what looks, from the outside, alarmingly like a campaign of religious persecution against Sergeant Staffieri for daring to respectfully dissent.

All this is against a backdrop where Victoria Police have serially neglected their duty in a range of very serious investigations including ‘The Red Shirts’ and ‘Slug Gate’.  It seems that the police no longer catch real crooks.  They prefer to ‘catch and kill’ their own.

To think this all could have been avoided if the Deputy had shown a modicum of Leadership and called the Sergeant in for a cup of coffee and an informal chat to avoid any spat engulfing VicPol and now the Chief.

The actions of the Deputy have left the Chief Commissioner in the untenable position, to either side with the Deputy, or allow this breach of his authority to stand, alienating a sizable proportion of his workforce and the community.

So, what should happen? Chief Commissioner Patton must show the leadership of his position and immediately intervene.

The discipline charges against Sergeant Staffieri must be immediately withdrawn. If the Sergeant’s conduct is in error, he should be counselled and provided appropriate supervision and training. Or he could be allowed to continue on long Service Leave and retire with dignity, as was his intention after having provided 35 years of fearless and exemplary service to the people of Victoria.

Yes, Sergeant Staffieri was actually on Long Service Leave leading to retirement when he was brought back to duty, interviewed under direction, and advised he was to be suspended from duty.

Mr Patton has little choice but to refer the conduct of his Deputy Mr Paterson to IBAC for investigation during which time Paterson should be suspended. That precedent has been set by the way Staffieri has been managed.  Mr Paterson’s potential breaches of Sections 342 (Adverse Action) and 789FD (Bullying) of the Fair Work Act (Cth) were apparent in his ‘public’ diatribe directed at Sergeant Staffieri. The singling out and charging of the Sergeant also arguably amount to further ‘Adverse Action’ by Victoria Police against Sergeant Staffieri.

An apparent power struggle by Paterson against the Chief does VicPol no favours, his continued service is untenable.

It does seem as though some 11th hour sanity may be being applied with the Sergeant now advised that he will not be suspended. This should be the precursor to the charges being dropped. However, this does not detract from the serious breaches by the Deputy.

We can hope the Chief has stepped in and will stamp his authority on the force by terminating Paterson.

VICPOL’S WOKE YOLK BROKE

24th April 2022

An ex-police detective Shane Reid who took a photo of former AFL coach Dani Laidley in custody has been cleared of all charges leaving a fair amount of egg on the face of the Victoria Police, which must be severely embarrassing.

If not, then it should be.

Severely embarrassed because VicPol with all the resources applied to this matter VicPol could not work out that there was no criminality on the ex-Detectives part.

Poor management prioritisation grinds with all Victorians who have waited for Police never to arrive to deal with their problems and the failure to prosecute blatant criminality in the Red Shirts and Slug-Gate matters.

A matter of woke trumping responsibility.

The issue of whether Dani Laidley is a cross-dresser is of no concern to us. Examples of cross-dressing date back thousands of years in various cultures, it is not something of particular import.

But what does greatly concern us are the priorities to which VicPol applies its resources. In this case to a non-offence.

After a long investigation and a two-day Court hearing, the magistrate found that,

“The prosecution had failed to establish the ex-detective’s actions were criminal behaviour rather than workplace misconduct.”

Dismissing the charges, the Magistrate ordered that the Chief Commissioner (us) pay ex-detective Reid’s costs.

We agree that the photographing of Laidley was inappropriate, unprofessional and aggravated by passing it on, albeit to a closed social media site and deserved disciplinary sanctions but whether that included suspensions or dismissal, we doubt it.

What has been overlooked by all the hullabaloo about the Police action is that Laidley was in the Police Station to be charged with “Stalking” offences. Stalking can be a horrendous experience for the victim and given the nature of the stalking, as reported, it would be on the higher end of the scale. Ultimately pleading guilty there is no doubt Laidley’s behaviour was abhorrent.

Seven police employees were suspended and another six were transferred to other duties over the incident.

“Assistant Commissioner Shane Patton described it at the time as appalling and unlawful criminal conduct.” https://www.afl.com.au/news/524813/former-north-coach-dani-laidley-avoids-conviction-for-stalking#

It is unclear if he is referring to Police or Laidley, we hope the latter.

Now that the behaviour is identified by the court was not criminal, the thirteen officers should now be returned to active duty albeit that some disciplinary issues may need resolution but given the dire need for police on our streets and with the Court finding ratcheting down the outrage any residual disciplinary matters should suffer the same treatment.

We cannot afford to lose any of them, they cost too much, and it is our money after all.

This exercise by VicPol was clearly motivated by wanting to appear woke and no matter how much they wished that the matter was a criminal offence it was not, and wishing it so makes it more of an embarrassment.  Interesting to know what diminutive part of the community they were trying to impress, it certainly was not mainstream.

VicPol needs to focus on their function not trying to be woke social progressives at our expense, in dollar terms and service.

Remember it is our money, not yours to spend on social whims.

All in all, much to do about not very much except the cost to us.

Time to get back to the real job at hand.

VICPOL CRISIS IN EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT?

20th April 2022

Commentating on matters associated with Victoria Police is fraught with difficulty as we are often faced with conundrums that are particularly hard to decipher.

The current issue gaining community traction is the ‘crisis of trust’ in VicPol, and is a ‘case in point’.

We have all seen and been dismayed at the blatant criminality passed over by Vicpol but minor internal misdemeanours, are pursued with unbridled vigour, albeit many are not malicious.

This leaves the community lamenting why that vigour cannot be applied to blatant and more serious crimes.

Ironically, the current level of leak traffic to the media is directly proportionate to the disquiet of the police members. Police talk when frustrated and people listen, people talk to the journalists and that is how most information is leaked.

Police live in and are part of the community. Something often overlooked by Police Executives.

There appears to be a culture amongst Police executives that they live in a bubble and operate on flawed assumptions. Media letters from the public support this hypothesis.

The consequence of the ‘Bubble effect’ in policing is inward-looking policing rather than the obverse, which is the most effective Policing model, where community expectations are measured and met.

Although community Policing plays an important role in building a Trust surplus, creating an aura of politicisation by assuming a legal role beyond their remit negates these efforts.

Policing is a function for the people, not the few who run it. Trotting out the most inane spin or even worse, non-information, creates conjecture to replace facts within the community further fuelling the Trust Crisis deficit.

From the CAA’s first meeting with Shane Patton to recent times, an oxymoron has evolved. What was said and what we see do not gel.

There have been a number of own goals that have eroded trust but paradoxically they can be resolved and act as a net positive; all it takes is good management and leadership.

The Red Shirts and ICooks (Slug-Gate) matters could be resolved and converted overnight by simply having the matters bought before the Courts and having the Courts the arbiter, not VicPol.

Based, we assume on poor advice, VicPol hunkered down on these two matters but significantly and even at his stage it would not be embarrassing to change tack and properly investigate both matters and put perpetrators before the courts.

That would be leadership, something that the public believes is sadly lacking and will respond to positively.

The other hot issue in the community is the Policing of Anti-vax, Anti-lockdown demonstrations during the pandemic.

This hurt will not heal any time soon.

The community is divided on whether or not the demonstrations should have occurred, but united in condemnation of many of the police tactics.

It would be foolish to assume that opponents of the Police actions are only from the anti-vax lobby.

Rather than have this issue fester away VicPol should exercise strong leadership and acknowledge the community’s anguish and undertake its own public inquiry into the issues with the intent of shaping Police policy. Allowing the public to vent their anger may not be palatable for Police but would lead to effective policy changes.

Patton certainly has had multiple opportunities to right some wrongs, but it gives the appearance that he is not running the show.

For everybody in the CAA who had the privilege of meeting Patton and listening to his blueprint for the future of Policing, we are disappointed in the reality of that commitment.

We strongly suspect an informal cabal of executives similar to when Ashton was Chief is effectively holding sway because VicPol has continued on a similar trajectory from the previous administration to the current one. with little meaningful change apart from some peripheral rhetoric,

Whether that cabal is identifiable as an entity or is a linking of like-minded individuals is difficult to identify. It could be based on social, political or some other commonality but these movements are usually spawned by a leadership vacuum.

The seeds of this problem were cast before Patton’s tenure making the malcontents in the Executive easy to identify.

However, the excuse that it is a big ship to turn around is no longer valid.

There is a risk for Patton that the Government may decide to shorten his tenure so that all the negative aspects of policing, Gobbo, Red Shirts, Slug-gate, Cardinal Pell, some COVID failures, poorly managed Demonstrations, applying Vax mandates and several other issues can be brushed away with his demise.

His best defence is to resolve them.

If he doesn’t he could get to carry out the political baggage before November.

The Government has a strong track record in this dark art.

A newly minted Chief, a political apparatchik or one that has a high profile as a social progressive capable of moving Policing in that direction would be inevitable.

We are told the chatter in high places along these lines is mooted and advanced.

A strong and independent Patton is far more desirable than what the alternative may throw up. There would be no doubt he would know who the underminers are and he should show strength as a leader and remove them.

It is time for Patton to decide whether his legacy will be as a bag carrier, or will he be the Chief Commissioner that turns the ship around and be held up in perpetuity alongside other luminaries that have held this high office.

BEAN BAGS AND PLASTIC BATON MUNITIONS ARE NOT THE WAY FOR CROWD CONTROL

12th of April 2022
There is undeniable community angst about the Police response to certain anti-Vax, anti-Mandate demonstrations in this State. Much of that anger is directed at Police Command and we do not intend to argue justification, because we believe there is none.

If this was one isolated case, then that is one thing, but this behaviour was exercised time and again over an extended period aggravating people into even more social unrest.

The complete antithesis of what good police strategies should be.

What concerns us is the failure of our system of Government.

Apart from the Police making operational command decisions that aggravated the whole issue we ask what the Police Minister, the Premier and the Emergency Cabinet were doing, not to intervene because they have accountability in this matter equal to the Police command.

It was their rules police were required to enforce.

The most effective Policing strategy for demonstrations is passive resistance, holding a line, not the guerrilla warfare approach where individual police are allowed to break away and make strategic lunges into the fray.

These ill-disciplined high-risk forays degrade the police to no better than the demonstrators and may well be just as unlawful.

This latter strategy, of which there is overwhelming evidence, places both the police and the demonstrators at huge risk of injury and is never likely to achieve the objectives, which to this day remains unclear.

We have never understood why the Police Association did not intervene over the risk to their members whose interests they should be representing.

Putting Police in situations with badly flawed strategies at such huge personal risk is unforgivable.

Apart from the overall strategy failures, there were specific failures within the morass of Command, that need to be highlighted.

The CAA understands that it was the Victoria Police Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) who deployed ‘bean bag’ and ‘plastic baton’ (Rubber Bullets) munitions against crowds during the unauthorised COVID marches in Elizabeth Street and at the Shrine of Remembrance.

It has been reported to us that CIRT Police fired so many rounds at the Elizabeth Street incident that a car had to be despatched back to CIRT for resupply of ammunition. We have not confirmed this report.

We understand that CIRT makes a specific reference in its training that these weapons are not to be used in crowd control situations. Yet it is our understanding that both projectiles were indiscriminately deployed by CIRT against multiple targets during both incidents, contrary to both policy and training.

‘Bean bag’ rounds are shotgun projectiles fired from the Victoria Police Remington shotguns on issue to CIRT. Plastic ‘baton’ rounds (sometimes mistakenly called ‘rubber bullets’) are projectiles fired from 40mm grenade launchers. Both are usually used by specialist police, including CIRT, in the resolution of critical incidents such as Armed offenders, Terror or Hostage situations

These munitions are known as ‘less lethal’ because they are usually less likely to cause death than conventional ammunition fired from traditional police service weapons. Neither bean bag nor plastic baton rounds are considered totally ‘non-lethal’ as bean bag rounds have been known to penetrate targets causing wounding and death. This raises significant and serious questions as to whether their use at both Elizabeth Street and the Shrine constituted ‘reasonable force’ under the Crimes Act.

It is the CAA’s view that bean bag and plastic baton munitions should not be deployed for crowd control purposes. Both projectiles suffer from accuracy problems when used against moving targets or over distances greater than 15-20 metres. Both munitions can also cause very serious injury and, as seen overseas, lead to deaths if they strike vulnerable parts of the human anatomy. It follows that their use should be restricted to extremely limited circumstances.

The CAA acknowledges that these munitions are essential in certain high-risk situations against dangerous offenders. It is our view, however, that demonstrations and crowd control are not appropriate situations.

The CAA notes that demonstrators often use physical contact with Police as a technique to elicit an adverse response from Police to make their point and/or to gain media attention for their cause. That said, we fail to see why Force Command does not negate these actions (prevention) and reduce the risk of physical harm to Police and demonstrators by using proven tactics, like appropriate chemical agents and Water.

Euphemistically called, Water Cannons they should be procured urgenlty and deployed for these events as a matter of course.

https://caainc.org.au/?s=Water+cannon&doing_wp

Drenching people in an unlawful assembly will dampen the enthusiasm of all but the extremists bent on lawlessness, who can then be dealt with by the full force of the water.

It might be smart to acquire a couple of modified Bushmasters (locally built) that can have a dual purpose during the fire season making the deal cost-effective.
With water cannons, big is not always best, two midsized vehicles would give flexibility to commanders and the ability to interchange to maintain pressure while refilling.
A former Commissioner from another state has lamented that his police force had a Water Cannon, but it was never used.
Perhaps having it was the reason they never had to use it.

ABORIGINALS – VICTIMS OF SLUG-GATE

ABORIGINALS – VICTIMS OF SLUG-GATE

5th April 2022

As a Nation, we have the privilege of knowing who our continent’s first peoples are, and we can share in their culture that has helped build Australia into the country it now is.

With the millions of dollars spent on these people each year, it is a national disgrace that many of them seem to live in abject neglect.

With all the much-publicised disadvantages these people endure, health is by ‘far and away’ the most important, surpassing the populist issues promoted by many who have no real empathy for these people but appear to be on self-promotional jaunts.

If health in the indigenous communities is ever going to be addressed properly then the basics need to be addressed and without argument, Nutrition has to be the key first building block.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The role of hygiene is not far behind but if people are not getting proper nutrition, they are less likely to be concerned or have the will to address other needs like hygiene.

The same needs apply to a raft of other issues that these people are confronted with. Children not accessing good nutrition are less likely to develop well and be more susceptible to disease and less likely to receive an education of value. Poor nutrition plays a part in substance abuse or the will, to create a better life for their family.

The activists who we mostly hear from are generally of the extreme left of politics, both white and black so it is therefore very surprising that the Victorian Government stymied what could be the single most significant innovative strategy devised to turn the fortunes of the indigenous people in a most significant and practical way.

The tyranny of distance, lack of resources and knowledge, including access to appropriate food, was about to be addressed when the Victorian State Government intervened and on spurious grounds closed down the business developing the technology to address these issues without the slightest consideration of the consequences on two groups, the aged and the indigenous.

The day that the representatives of the Derri Aboriginal Corporation from South Australia arrived with cheque in hand at the ICooks Factory in Dandenong for a meeting to ‘ink the deal’ which had been negotiated over many months, the State Government had closed the factory by Health Order. The Derri people were confronted with a taped-up business with Health closure notices pinned to the door. They had no choice but to turn around and go home, deal blown there and then.

But what was this deal that had these aboriginal elders travel thousands of kilometres to secure?

ICooks had developed a patented process of texture modification of food so it was easily digestible, maintained its heath properties and was easy to store, transport and prepare. Pasteurised in the manufacturing process it was also very safe.

Technology was tested and capable of providing traditional foods appropriate for the indigenous people of a geographic area. Crocodile and turtle may be preferred in the Northern realms where freshwater fish and Kangaroo may not, but would be preferred in the more southern areas.

We have no real idea of the preferences and simply provide these examples of the potential of the technology also recognised by The Derri people.

The deal centred around a partnership/share arrangement between ICooks and the corporation to establish the capacity for texture modification of Native food in South Australia providing work for Indigenous people in the supply and sourcing of suitable food and if necessary, explore the ability to farm produce to establish reliable supply inputs. Preparation and processing through ultimately to distribution would provide substantial employment opportunities.

All undertaken by a company they had equity in.

As it was presented the Cooks deal would not only facilitate a new facility in South Australia but would have a continual link to ICooks to ensure local staff were trained in how to operate the equipment for a sustainable long term enterprise.

The vision of the Derri people and ICooks was the possibility of creating a national network of texture modification facilities tailored to the region they service.

Any good chef will always admit that presentation is as important as the flavour and the ICooks Texture modified product is easily digestible and prepared without compromising the benefits that each food group provides. This is particularly suitable for people that have dental issues or other issues making it difficult to swallow.

Using this process and making it available through Supermarket chains with more traditional foods could also be attractive.

The current option in medical facilities is that food is Vitamised and when presented to the patient (Victim) it resembles bodily waste and is as appetising.

Although a problem in indigenous communities the broader application in the general population of good nutrition is essential particularly when people are recovering from Medical interventions, disease or age-related decline.

That society as a whole has been deprived of this technology is a disgrace and those responsible must be held to account.

It is time that the Federal government intervened to sort this mess created by the Victorian government and get it implemented.

Policing expert critical of Victorian force oversight

22nd March 2022

Melb. Age March 20/2022  False level of assurance.

Here we go again; the only corruption in town must be the coppers.

But in reality, it does not matter where you look; there is corruption everywhere in Victoria. Known as the State of Corruption, we need to focus on the Police because they investigate most of the complaints against themselves, an outrageous situation that must be stopped immediately.

How dare we have a system where; miscreants are investigated by their peers? It must be prevented because that is apparently the problem.

While we are looking at the Police investigating Police, we should also look at these professions,

  • The Judiciary,
  • Academia,
  • Medical Disciplines,
  • Scientific Disciplines,
  • The Armed Forces,
  • Politicians,
  • Clergy,

And all entities in the private, public and NFP sectors we deal with every day.

But somehow, Policing is the only profession where this process is vilified but paradoxically, they possess the best skill sets to undertake the task.

The reality, however, is that the entities, over time designed for this task, Police Ombudsman, Office of Police Integrity (OPI) and IBAC, have all failed because they were nothing more than name changes with most of the staff moving with the name (taking incompetence with them) and a bit of tinkering around the edges.

Doing the same thing today as you did yesterday and expecting a different result is the height of absurdity, but that’s what has happened.

The near-universal rules barring the use of Police investigators by these entities are a large part of the problem. These entities need the best investigators available, and bureaucrats are nowhere near up to standard.

Many Politicians and Bureaucrats think they know how Police think; Police, on the other hand, don’t think they know; they do.

Dealing with the article’s headline issue, Nicolo Gobbo, that matter has been and is currently being dealt with through the legal system. While there is no debate that some Police acted improperly and even criminally, what is often overlooked is that there was one Policeman who attempted to deal with the matter.

His career was terminated for his efforts. The then Deputy Police Commissioner, Sir Ken Jones, took the issues to a senior Jurist and then a Deputy Ombudsman. The failure of those he sought assistance from cost him his career for his efforts, and the Gobbo affair rolled on unchecked.

Incidentally, the support for Ken Jones amongst Police, both serving and former, was and remains very high. He is seen as a leader with integrity.

Arguably, the failure of the Judicial officer and the Deputy Ombudsman makes them as culpable as some of the other perpetrators exposed by the Royal Commission. But as we have learned, the focus is always on the Police, and these two responsible Officers’ failures were apparently not examined.

The other references in the article do not indicate a corrupt Police force but that there is corruption in Victoria Police, and only a fool would argue that there is not.

But guess what, corruption also exists in the other professions listed earlier.

Central to this piece are the comments attributed to Dr Maguire, the former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland.

“The reality is if you make a complaint against a police officer, 98 per cent of cases are going to be investigated by another police officer. And the powers of IBAC [Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission] dealing with criminality is limited. What does this say about trust and confidence in policing itself?”

Well, Dr Maguire, it does not say all Police are corrupt and within the 18,000 members of the Victoria Police currently serving, and the many thousands of former Police who also served this State with honour and integrity, only a tiny proportion are or have been found to be corrupt. That says a lot about trust and confidence in policing itself.

Given their function in the community, they are remarkably uncorrupted as a group, which some of the other professions cannot lay claim to.

Additionally, Policing has been subjected over many years to more scrutiny, including external inquiries and Royal Commissions, than any of the other groups.

The lack of resources within IBAC is sighted as a significant issue. Still, a cursory look at IBAC shows that rather than not having sufficient resources, they have major management failures.

To emphasise the incompetence, recently, there has been wide publicity of the effort of IBAC in investigating Branch Stacking within the Australian Labour Party Victorian division. In private and public hearings, the use of expensive covert tactics and the application of the IBAC powers compelling witnesses was exercised, and no doubt many other resources were applied to this investigation.

The irony is that, albeit there is perhaps some criminality, the major victim was the Labour party itself, not the more general population of the State. Yes, you can try to argue that it impacted the governance of the State but nowhere near as severe as the suspension of the Democratic processes that have been suspended within the party by its own leaders.

Of course, a cynic may say that this whole IBAC investigation was to pull down power brokers within the party not aligned with the current executive of Government.

A Political power struggle with IBAC the weapon. What better way to quell your ‘frenemies’ than using IBAC. We are not suggesting this is true; only, it could be viewed that way. If it is true, then IBAC is complicit in corruption.

Now while the IBAC was ensconced in that investigation, a small matter of Slug-Gate reared into the light. A small business subjected to corrupt Government Officials put out of business to try to save a competitor that just happened to be owned and financed by the Government.

Forty-one people lost their jobs in a vain attempt to save the Government business gifted over twenty million dollars ($20m) that had operated for nine years without turning a profit once. The Victorian Auditor-General, who we would have thought was charged with making sure our taxes were not wantonly fritted away, turned a blind eye to what would appear to be a company operating while insolvent for close to nine years. But that is all ok; it was a Government-sponsored business.

What really shows up the incompetence or misguided management of IBAC is that the CAA offered the IBAC Commissioner the services of a number of ex-detectives with intimate knowledge of the Slug-Gate case Pro Bono.

They were prepared to work under whatever conditions and rules the Commissioner may apply. The IBAC Act provides the Commissioner power to accept the offer legally.

We suspect there are other (political) agendas at work, so the cries of insufficient IBAC resources should be treated as not worth the salt.

Perhaps it is not Politicly comfortable to have the corruption around the Slug-gate affair determined and aired. With a number of suspects closely aligned to the current Government, IBAC may not be looked on kindly exposing the rot.

Rather than always looking for how the Police can be further scrutinised, so-called experts could apply some effort to address corruption by preventing it.

They would instead prefer to work at promoting the cabal of corruption fighters to build their industry rather than address the more difficult prevention question.

It is a sad indictment on the media that they do not see this for what it is.