24th March 2021
Victoria; do not underestimate the importance of the announcement by Chief Commissioner Patton of a Police in Schools Program (PISP) (Herald Sun 24/3/21).
This change in the policing approach is very significant and will have a positive impact on the lives of us all.
The failure of former Police Chief Commissioners to re-implement this important Policing strategy is in no small part responsible for the increased crime rates in past years, particularly in serious crimes committed by juveniles.
The reintroduction of a structured PISP has been the cornerstone and the basis for the formation of the Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) which I have the privilege to chair.
As a group we have worked for six years for this outcome and we unreservedly congratulate Chief Commissioner Patton for reintroducing this program.
It is ironic that this program originated in Victoria and was so successful it was taken up and continues to operate in all other States and Territories.
Former Chief Commissioner Nixon shut the PISP down and every Chief Commissioner that followed her failed to grasp the importance of the program with former Chief Commissioner Ashton actively engaging in trying to thwart attempts by the CAA to establish a PISP using Police veterans.
There were many other very encouraging strategies announced by CCP Patton today. The engagement that CCP Patton has established with the CAA will now ensure that many other strategies both proven from the past and new will be ventilated and considered by him.
Through the CAA the community now has a much louder voice.
We are now entering a new phase of Policing that serves the people of Victoria with a service that the people can influence.
The nirvana of policing.
Kelvin (Kel) Glare AO APM
Chair, Community Advocacy Alliance.
23rd of August 2019
The news of four deaths in a week is by any stretch a pandemic of epic proportions, and it is very unlikely that this will be the end of it, it could get much worse.
Today there have been apprehensions expressed echoing what concerns the CAA, that Judicial Personnel Management (JPM) is at the core of many of these unfortunate outcomes, and has left many other Police in a very unhealthy and perilous mental state.
JPM is describing a procedure whereby Judicial processes are used to remove any member who for whatever reason is perceived to be a problem. It is too common that very weak poorly investigated disciplinary or criminal Briefs are, ’given a run’, through internal disciplinary processes or courts where a conviction is not the major objective, but the removal of the member is.
Like every other member or veteran, we are very dismayed at the terrible blight that is descending on Policing. There is no doubt this has been some years in the making hence our concern it will get worse.
The CAA, although having some trained Peer Support Officers in the group, has at least a number of very senior retired police who have substantial experience. The independence from VicPol and the very nature of the former members in the group may be able to help members.
The CAA appeals to any current or former members who are struggling with mental health issues to contact us.
We were never established as a welfare unit, nor do we intend to be one, but as we would expect of every other member to reach out to a distressed colleague, so should we.
“We would rather sit with you for as long as it takes to listen to what you’re going through than fifteen minutes listening to your eulogy.”
If you need to contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or via caainc.org.au we are here.
14th June 2019
The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) is developing a volunteer Police Veterans in Schools Program (PVISP) similar to the discontinued Police In Schools program (PSIP).
We are inviting expressions of interest from former members of Victoria Police who would like to be considered for this project.
Although previous classroom and PSIP experience are desirable, it is not essential as we will be developing a training program for volunteers and our curriculum is well into development and should be completed in the coming weeks.
It is anticipated that Veterans would only need to dedicate one or two half days a week, and their times and commitments would be negotiated directly with the School/s.
We are confident that the experience of life and Policing that Veterans uniquely posses are a valuable resource that can make the future for children and the community more harmonious.
We propose to have a pilot up and running for the later terms of this school year. Every effort will be made to connect Veterans with schools in their local area.
The PSIP program was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable functions of Policing, and few members left the program unless unavoidable.
You can now enjoy that experience and contribute to community safety again.
For further information and your eligibility, or to express interest, contact Ivan Ray CEO, CAAInc on email@example.com
13th June 2019
The PVISP has ticked off on several issues and progression is excellent.
We now have volunteers coming on board to ensure the success of the program.
Dr Ray Shuey has volunteered to manage the measuring of the project as it develops, ensuring we can as necessary adjust the program to achieve maximum benefits.
Michael Grosvero JP FCPA will manage the finances of the project to ensure compliance and best practice. Working with Dr Shuey, they will develop budgets and projected income demands to ensure the ongoing viability of the project.
The ACNA has accepted the CAA for Registration as a Charity.
The Australian Tax Office has issued the CAA with a Notice of Endorsement for Charity tax concessions effective from the 22nd of August 2019.
To date, the CAA has operated primarily on funds donated by the Board members, however, to augment this we have launched a Go-Fund-me page that has already started to attract donors, and although we do not anticipate that this will be our major funding source, it will provide basic funding in the development stage of the project. Future funding will be sourced by developing partnerships with appropriate entities. Such entities will be carefully screened before accepting their support.
Curriculum and associated matters
As previously announced Peter Jarvis, MOET, Dip Ed, B.Arts, Dip Police Studies, Dip Management, has joined us as our Educational Adviser and he is well on the way to completing the Curriculum and associated material for the project including the training of PVISP Operatives. He is confident that the completion of the necessary material is imminent.
We welcome to the Board retired Detective Superintendent Frank Byrne and retired Chief Inspector Robin Bailey. These two appointees are critical to the project. They are both well qualified and experienced in this type of project and will work closely with our Educational Adviser to get the program off the ground. With one based in Geelong and the other in the East, they can coordinate over wider areas. These members will also be involved in the selection process for suitable former Police members to deliver the program.
All 1900 Primary Schools have been invited to submit expressions of interest to be considered for the PVISP program. This exercise will determine the size of the market we need to service, and although the invitations were only circulated on the 13th of June Replies have already started.
Former Police participation
Locating and inviting former Police to participate is somewhat more difficult as there is no reliable database available so we will be initially relying on social media but as soon as we have sufficient funds we propose to run advertisements in print media to let the former members know of the project. We have already secured several volunteers, but we are realists and understand that we need many more.
We are currently negotiating to Insure the volunteers as ‘Voluntary workers’ We expect that currently, we will not be able to cover this cost which we would anticipate is substantial, however, the Policy will be negotiated to a stage so that it can be activated at short notice.
The identity and branding of this project for uniforms etcetera is currently under consideration by a partner organisation, and as soon as this matter is resolved, advice will be provided, and the design and style of a uniform will be undertaken.
The Project will be launched at a time to be determined, but it will be when we are at a stage that a tangible function of the project can be demonstrated.
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6th August 2017
“The Hub”, is a designated building designed to house several Police related Not for Profit organisations and critically to provide a purpose-built base for the operation of the Retired Police Peer Support Program.
The Retired Police Association (RPA) Peer Support Program (PSP) has only been operating for less than two years and has cobbled together sufficient funds to train up 41 Retired (PSP) staff who operate purely on a voluntary basis throughout Victoria and also cover their own and clients out of pocket expenses.
In this very short time frame, the group are looking after 400 ex-police varying in need from the company to serious mental health issues including depression, PTSD and addictions to gambling, drugs and alcohol.
The group are finding the same experience as the Department of Veterans Affairs where issues, particularly of PTSD, are manifesting later in life.
The CAA has recruited the recently Retired Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Mike O’Meara who has extensive experience in administering the Psych services of Defence to advise the CAA on the administration of these initiatives and to assist the RPA.
Based on world practises, we can assume that fifteen per cent of ex-members will need some assistance with mental health issues after they cease employment with VicPol.
This probably is replicated with other emergency services, particularly the Ambulance Service. To say that the RPA has seen but the tip of the iceberg is a statement made in fact. It is not unreasonable to warn the Government of a tsunami of mental health issues for ex-police that is not far away and the early intervention of a Peer Support Program may lessen the impact and cost when it arrives.
Funding is a pressing necessity with the program only having sufficient funds to see them through to mid-2017. Apart from the meagre funds of the RPA, the group have received funding from the Police Association to assist with training however the financial viability of the program for the long term must be addressed relatively urgently to allow the practitioners to get on with the job rather than worrying about funding. I am at a loss as to how PSP has been so successful to date given that they have achieved their success on such a minuscule budget and what they have achieved and is testament to the dedication and ingenuity of the Retired members running the program.
Of a much more pressing necessity is the establishment of ”The Hub” facility which ideally will provide suitable accommodation for the PSP operatives and their administrative support but also house Clinicians to back up the program and act as a referral for some of the more dire cases handled by the PSP.
One of the problems is the stigma either real or perceived that people suffering mental health issues experience.
To that end, we propose to establish a commercial coffee shop as the front door of the services. A space people needing help can attend without fear of stigma. I am important that the Coffee shop is a commercial venture catering for the public to assist with the anonymity of people to access the resources.
The PSP has identified the security of the PSP operatives as a major concern as they are not permitted to attend private dwellings and currently their only option is to meet at local coffee shops. This is proving unsatisfactory by not offering the clients some confidentiality but also by the lack of security should a client have an episode.
We have identified a surplus Government building on the corner of Coventry and StKilda Road, South Bank, adjacent to Victoria Barracks. The building has been vacant for many years and originally housed the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatients Psych Service.
We understand that the building has either been or is in the process of being transferred from the Commonwealth to the State ownership and we understand that part of the ownership process is a condition that the Veterans Art created as part of the rehabilitation within DVA has a permanent display gallery.
We have not inspected the building, but it is highly probable that the needs of the “The Hub” could co-exist with the Gallery. Until we have access to the building, we will not know the suitability.
The concept of “The Hub” requires the ability to develop a commercial coffee shop so location is important, good public transport and car access is essential and sufficient room to provide administration for RPA PSP, Blue Light Vic., CAA, Blue Ribbon, Police Legacy, Operation New Start, Police in Schools, Police Games Administration and clinical services to support RPA PSP.
We would be interested in accessing any alternate surplus Government Buildings preferably reasonably close to but not necessarily in the City.
Bringing all of these organisations together will have the bonus of improving their capacity to perform their various NFP functions and also add to the anonymity of ex-members going to the facility to seek help or undergo treatment.
It will also allow for easier access to these organisations by VicPol and the Government.
We would be pleased to discuss any options in relation to this initiative.