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

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

Break The Needle 3

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

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

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


Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

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

Break The Needle


Sabrina Maddeaux

Jul 23, 2024


By Sabrina Maddeaux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communities across Canada, and addicts themselves, deserve better.



Pic. Courtesy Herald Sun

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police must be given the power to apply EM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time the victims don’t have.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inexplicably, Emergency Management Victoria seemed to play no part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the moment, VicPol is responsible.



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

The worst possible outcome is the evolution of vigilantism.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

The continuing ideological bias is blatantly apparent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The need for pragmatic police management is now essential.

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

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

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

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

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

Gathering data for other agencies is another resource black hole.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawbreaking without consequences only escalates lawbreaking.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no mandate for a woke Force.

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

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

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

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

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

Israel-Hamas War Demonstrations Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gay Pride March response.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hotheads cannot prevail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

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

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

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

Plan 100.3 Word Doc

Plan 100.3 PDF



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




30,233 acts of Violence perpetrated predominantly on women by their ex-partners. (HS 9/08/23), and that is only the year to March.

Apart from the suffering of victims, that statistic equates to a minimum of 241,865 police hours consumed by this crime.

The actual number is much higher when more than one Police unit is required, and the processing exceeds the four-hours, which is a minimum.

Clearly, domestics are attended to as a priority as they should be, but the role of the police is to maintain the peace and not become involved in extraneous matters, taking them away from their core function. Particularly at the expense of other pressing police operational issues, like the Road toll, home invasions and juvenile crime, all escalating at an alarming rate and creating further victims at an alarming rate.

Policing these incidents will become more effective when Police have the ability to concentrate on all the components and behavioural variables of the protagonists to keep the peace, a skill poorly understood. It is not in the best interest of either party to the dispute to have police distracted by administration or counselling the protagonists.

Inevitably, Police are dragged into the issue that the rival parties perceive as important, threatening the detachment that Police must maintain to perform their function. This is not the role of the Police but other professionals who are notably absent when their services are most critically needed.

The Road Toll numbers, for example, far exceed the deaths caused in any other Policing category. Still, the police allocation of resources to Road Policing, compared to domestic, is totally inconsistent caused by a Royal Commission’s findings focused on just one narrow but important policing field but blind to the reality and broader demands of Policing.

If you call for help from the Police, the likelihood is that they may have difficulty getting to you, even for a Domestic. Most of their resources are tied up on Domestics.

The secondary heading, “Women die because of relationships”, is true to a point, but what has been overlooked is that many of these women are dying and or are subjected to violence because of Government inaction.

It is evident that despite the exorbitant amount of funds allocated to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the raft of quangos and convocations that have sprung up, and the substantial number of Public Servants operating under the justification of Family Violence, the issue continues to surge.

We must put them all under the microscope as it is now apparent that the issues facing our Aboriginal communities, where huge amounts of money are expended but do not trickle down to be effective and where the purpose of the funding is expected to impact, are paralleled in the development of the Domestic Violence Industry.

Millions of dollars are spent for no appreciable result where the problem exists and no accounting of where the money is going.

It is well overdue for the Domestic Violence entities, Government or Government funded, to be held to account to justify their continued function. If they are failing, the operating costs of these entities must be diverted to where a real difference will be achieved.

The Commission’s recommendations are either not effective in reducing Violence or are being interpreted in a manner that renders the entire endeavour a futile waste of resources.

The Royal Commission heard from a plethora of do-good armchair experts, predominately with only academic experience of the consequences of the damage, with little or no reliable knowledge of the cause, as is now evident by the failures.

The apparent massive surge in Domestic Violence has its foundations in the broader governance of Victoria, as well as adversely impacting the police capacity to deal with the broader issue of Law and Order in this state.

The figures quoted in the Herald Sun articles must be viewed as a symptom of ineffectiveness.

Lawlessness perpetuates lawlessness and breeds violence.

However, the vast majority of these ‘experts’ relied upon by the Royal Commission work office hours, and in today’s environment, they probably work from home. They are not working when the issues are most prevalent and do not attend the scenes to intervene even if called by the Police.

Although early intervention would reduce the risk factors for victims, as far as we can establish, that is not a function of the agencies engage in; why?

They, therefore, have no direct knowledge and do not leave the cloistered environment of the Office and deal with victims in the real world rather than just the sterile environment (Sterile for the Victim) of a consultation approach, operating entirely on what they are told, usually from only one side.

As a result of the Royal Commission, the Police have been converted into statistic-gathering scribes rather than performing their proper function, maintaining the peace.

It is our understanding that the average domestic violence or disturbance attended by Police is a minimum of four – hours and oftentimes substantially longer.

The vast majority of that time is consumed filling out data requirements for other agencies’ statical needs, which does not contribute to the issue at hand and the priority of ensuring the safety of all involved.

The data we are told that they are required to collect is essential for the function of support services. The data is only of limited value to the Police, so unless the police have a demonstrated need, the data required by other agencies should not be foisted on the Police, causing limited resources to be stretched further.

While police are doing this mundane administrative role, they are not ‘keeping the peace’, a concept many do not adequately understand.

If the agencies require data, then they can collect it.



Spent Convictions Legislation is currently under review, and it is essential that a major rethink on this flawed legislation occurs. In its current format, it facilitates or supports the perpetrator’s lying.

The CAA has no issue with people who have committed minor offences having the albatross of a prior conviction lightened; however, not to the degree this Act achieves where expunging a conviction by secrecy is repugnant, exasperated by no mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the legislation.

If asked by a potential employer if they have ever been convicted of an offence they can either refrain from answering or lie. And that includes joining the Police Force.

Spent convictions can either be Minor or Historical; the latter raises very real concern as there is no definition of Historical. A magistrate or administrator may have a subjective view of ‘Historical,’ and that is not satisfactory.

Moreover, innocent victims and others can be caught up in committing offences created by this legislation to protect the criminal. Breaching this legalisation, whether or not it was intentional, is a crime.

Amongst the major flaws in this Act include the secrecy in the administration and legal processes, undermining our legal system, and fundamentally, the legislation is structured to legalise a lie by the very people that the system is supposed to help live a crime-free life. One would think free from lies and deceit.

This is seriously flawed legislation that slipped through without very much public discourse as Victorians laboured through the last three months of the COVID pandemic, with the Act taking effect on the 1st of July 2022.

A cynic would suggest this was deliberate, as now the matter has been raised by the Government again in the form of a review. Hopefully, this indicates the architects now doubt the folly of this legislation.

This legislation is egregious, particularly given the secrecy that surrounds this process.

We have no hope of ever knowing if this program is successful as we watch our crime rate grow. The secrecy prohibits the collection of empirical data to measure the effect.

If a conviction is spent and the perpetrator reoffends, neither we nor the courts or the bureaucracy will know. They will be processed as a first offender. That removes any deterrent effect.

Secrecy is the building block of corruption, and this proposal is one of the most high-risk devised; the anomalies must be rectified.

Review of the Spent Convictions Act 2021 | Engage Victoria  (CTRL + click)

We are very uncomfortable with aspects of the legislation, and we suspect many Victorians would share our concerns when they become aware of it.

Secrecy:          The secrecy around this process is an anathema to us and everybody else who has any respect for our legal system. The openness of our legal system is a defence against corruption and totalitarianism and provides accountability for the Courts. Not undermining a basic tenet of our judicial system.

Corruption:     The system is not transparent, so the potential for the scheme to be corrupted is extremely high. Not only aggravated by dealing with people who in the past have been prepared to break the law, but convictions can be spent by an administrative process, which, in effect, is totalitarianism by the second estate.

Administrative abuse risks.

                       As we understand it, most of the decisions will be administrative (referred to as automated). The automated system will be managed by Public Servants or perhaps contractors, faceless and unaccountable staff; this is a recipe for corruption—convictions spent for a price.

Anti-Victim:     However, a victim must have a right to be heard before a person convicted for committing a crime against them is spent. They could cross paths with the perpetrator in all sorts of circumstances. As a neighbour, in a local town, or a housing complex, in social circumstances or employment, the list is extensive. The onus must be placed on the Perpetrator to avoid these situations and not the Victim. Victim harassment must be avoided and be an offence under this legislation. They have suffered as a victim once; why is the onus placed on them and not the perpetrator? This is a moral anomaly.

No Victim Representation:

It is bad enough having secret Courts with only the Attorney General, and the Chief Commissioner permitted to be represented; it is an indictment on our legal system that the same right is not extended to the victims.

Spent Conviction Time frames:

                       The Act species time frames for the period before a Spent Conviction can be granted. That part of the legislation is flawed, particularly for juvenile offenders.

Perpetrators may not have finished a court sanction (their debt to society) before the conviction is spent. Alternatively, for a large part of the stipulated period, they were either in jail or subject to some other court-imposed sanction. Spent Convictions must be measured from when the Court sanctions expire, not the conviction date.

Restitution:     It seems utterly incongruous that a criminal can have their conviction spent without making any reparation to the Victim. This means that the gains accrued by the criminal and the benefit derived from the crime ensures that crime does pay, and any deterrent effect is lost.

The definition of our legal system is best illustrated by ‘Lady Justice’, our logo; the scales she holds demonstrate the Law must be balanced; however, for too long, the scales continue to be tipped to favour the criminal to the point where the criminals derive more benefit from the ‘legal system’ than the victim. There is something abhorrent about that.

Unfortunately, many see criminals through ‘rose-coloured’ glasses when, in reality, many criminals are not charged with offences, not because they have reformed, but rather because they have not been caught. That is very true with opportunistic criminals.

It is time this was rectified and a more equitable system developed to ensure that victims are compensated for their loss (that Victim could be the Crown), and the benefit of ill-gotten gains enjoyed by Criminals must never be expunged as a liability until settled.

Crime is not supposed to pay.



26th October 2022

In the latest strike in what can only be described as a media blitz, the IBAC Commissioner has again attempted to interpret the law.

The integrity entities are not only colour coding corruption (Grey), but now the texture is apparently relevant.

This is in addition to attempting to create new definitions for words.

In this latest attempt by the IBAC Commissioner to influence the way laws are managed, he put forward ‘Soft’ corruption as an apparent legal reality rather than a Commissioner’s wish to divert attention from the inability of IBAC to perform its function to avoid accountability for IBAC’s failures.

Since when does the texture or colour of a law determine or influence its application?

As part of the Commissioners media blitz, on October the 22nd, it was reported in the Herald Sun that he warned,

‘Victoria’s corruption watchdog has warned the centralisation of power around Premier Daniel Andrews’ private office has created an environment ripe for “soft corruption”.’

This tinkering around with how our Laws are supposed to work must stop.

  • The Coate Inquiry’s ludicrous ‘Creeping Assumptions’ theory,
  • IBAC’s and Ombudsman’s definition of ‘immersed’,
  • The suggestions of ‘grey’ corruption,
  • And now the IBAC Commissioners ‘soft’ corruption

We can only assume that Soft corruption must be akin to the Claytons Theory, famously described as – “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.

There is one common underlying explanation for these inane references – incompetence.

The apparent strategy is, ‘Whatever you do, shift the focus from your incompetence.’

Based on the observations proffered by our integrity organisations, we could therefore categorise other crimes into grey or soft as a pre-emptive justification for lack of effective prosecutions or the need even to address these breaches of the law.

Can you imagine people using terms like ‘grey’ assault, ‘immersed’ in a breach of an intervention order or ‘soft’ drink driving’? According to the integrity guardians, only corruption can be dealt with under these new nuances.

This nonsense needs to be walked back. Corruption is corruption, and it is not subject to colour or textural variations.

We believe this attempt to change the corruption landscape is part of IBAC’s flawed understanding of its role. IBAC is NOT a court. We note that this is the way IBAC identifies itself on its website:

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is Victoria’s agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. Our jurisdiction covers state and local government, police, parliament and the judiciary.

This is clearly about preventing or exposing, not defining, determining or justifying. It appears IBAC is straying from its own stated purpose in attempting to justify not referring matters for prosecution.

Surprisingly, neither the Judiciary nor the Government has not pulled IBAC into line and reminded the Commissioner that IBAC is not a Judicial body.

This State’s failure to detect and prevent corruption is not served well by an IBAC intent on trying to become an adjunct to the legal system instead of an essential and independent part.

Instead of worrying about the hue or texture of the corruption is; how about detecting and referring perpetrators for prosecution?

Instead of asking for money, we, the community, would like to see some tangible results for the millions we already spend on what seems an increasingly out-of-touch IBAC.

Corruption has been colour coded and now defined by texture

Corruption has been colour coded and now defined by texture

26th October 2022

In the latest strike in what can only be described as a media blitz, the IBAC Commissioner has again attempted to interpret the law.

The integrity entities are not only colour coding corruption (Grey), but now the texture is apparently relevant.

This is in addition to attempting to create new definitions for words.

In this latest attempt by the IBAC Commissioner to influence the way laws are managed, he put forward ‘Soft’ corruption as an apparent legal reality rather than a Commissioner’s wish to divert attention from the inability of IBAC to perform its function to avoid accountability for IBAC’s failures.

Since when does the texture or colour of a law determine or influence its application?

As part of the Commissioners media blitz, on October the 22nd, it was reported in the Herald Sun that he warned,

‘Victoria’s corruption watchdog has warned the centralisation of power around Premier Daniel Andrews’ private office has created an environment ripe for “soft corruption”.’

This tinkering around with how our Laws are supposed to work must stop.

  • The Coate Inquiry’s ludicrous ‘Creeping Assumptions’ theory,
  • IBAC’s and Ombudsman’s definition of ‘immersed’,
  • The suggestions of ‘grey’ corruption,
  • And now the IBAC Commissioners ‘soft’ corruption

We can only assume that Soft corruption must be akin to the Claytons Theory, famously described as – “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.

There is one common underlying explanation for these inane references – incompetence.

The apparent strategy is, ‘Whatever you do, shift the focus from your incompetence.’

Based on the observations proffered by our integrity organisations, we could therefore categorise other crimes into grey or soft as a pre-emptive justification for lack of effective prosecutions or the need even to address these breaches of the law.

Can you imagine people using terms like ‘grey’ assault, ‘immersed’ in a breach of an intervention order or ‘soft’ drink driving’? According to the integrity guardians, only corruption can be dealt with under these new nuances.

This nonsense needs to be walked back. Corruption is corruption, and it is not subject to colour or textural variations.

We believe this attempt to change the corruption landscape is part of IBAC’s flawed understanding of its role. IBAC is NOT a court. We note that this is the way IBAC identifies itself on its website:

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is Victoria’s agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. Our jurisdiction covers state and local government, police, parliament and the judiciary.

This is clearly about preventing or exposing, not defining, determining or justifying. It appears IBAC is straying from its own stated purpose in attempting to justify not referring matters for prosecution.

Surprisingly, neither the Judiciary nor the Government has not pulled IBAC into line and reminded the Commissioner that IBAC is not a Judicial body.

This State’s failure to detect and prevent corruption is not served well by an IBAC intent on trying to become an adjunct to the legal system instead of an essential and independent part.

Instead of worrying about the hue or texture of the corruption is; how about detecting and referring perpetrators for prosecution?

Instead of asking for money, we, the community, would like to see some tangible results for the millions we already spend on what seems an increasingly out-of-touch IBAC.



23rd October 2022

Robert Redlich, please cut it out; you are embarrassing yourself and IBAC.

The IBAC Commissioner has recently taken to the media to argue a case for increased powers and funding for IBAC, inferring that the lack of these is the cause of their failures. They may well be contributors, but, just as with many other Government Officials, the mantra of ‘it’s not my/our fault’ is commonplace and the go-to defence to explain their failures.

When our integrity regulator will not take responsibility for maintaining the bar for integrity, it is little wonder nobody in Government will either.

That may well be the primary cause of IBAC’s failure.

Redlich’s media comments seemed like a thinly veiled crack at the Premier. We would remind the Commissioner that he did have the Premier in his’ cross hairs’, but he and the Ombudsman lifted the barrel as the shot was fired.

Being “Immersed” in the ‘Red Shirts’ artifice was the justification for no adverse finding against the Premier, and, with that, a new definition of the word was spawned.

If your Webster’s is not working for you, try your Funk and Wagnall.

It is time for you, Mr Redlich, and your Deputy to demonstrate true integrity and resign by example.

Things have not been too flash for you both in recent times.

Victoria’s Parliamentary Integrity and Oversight Committee released its report on the 6th of October 2022 relating to Public Examinations by IBAC. It can be argued that the report is a very significant slap down for Commissioner Redlich and Deputy Commissioner Wolf.

Both have sought to increase the frequency and availability of Public Examinations,’ Show Trials’, but they could not explain ‘unreasonable damage’, a concept central to the current justification for IBAC to conduct a public examination. A notion the average person would have no problem explaining.

“This is concerning to the (Parliamentary) Committee, particularly considering that Commissioner Redlich and Deputy Commissioner Wolf were unable to provide a clear explanation in the public hearing of the concept of ‘unreasonable damage’ and how IBAC determines what is ‘unreasonable’,” Herald Sun-6/10/22

With this finding, the Committee has nailed the major anomaly in our integrity processes: Bureaucrats with unfettered power and no accountability to the principles of justice.

There could be an argument that it is the Parliament’s responsibility to set out what ‘unreasonable damage’ might mean by way of a definition. Still, IBAC has been applying a definition (or is supposed to have been) to all public examinations to date. Hence, it is totally reasonable for the Committee to ask what their definition might be and be critical because they cannot explain something they have been supposed to be regularly doing.

This also reflects equally poorly on the Victorian Inspectorate, which oversees IBAC and is not performing its task well either.

While Redlich and Wolf seek to gain more power, the Committee is wise enough to halt their power grab.

The CAA strongly believes that Public Examinations are abhorrent and should only be used in the rarest of circumstances, and should never be used to replace competent investigative skills and processes.

The CAA is not challenging the Coercive Powers already available to IBAC, just the ‘show’ part.

The Committee has sent IBAC to the naughty corner to do some homework.

“The committee, which currently has a majority of Labor MPs, recommended legislative changes that require the watchdog to draw up new guidelines clearly spelling out how to decide when this damage is unfair to the person being interviewed.” – Herald Sun -6/10/22

This is a bit like getting the fox to design the security for a hen house, risking devious accesses being installed in the design.

There is, however, a relatively straightforward solution to this issue.

IBAC or any other agencies with these powers should be required to apply to a Court for an Order to examine a witness publicly.

Hearings would allow the witness to challenge the Integrity Body to justify its application.

Remove the power from the Bureaucrats who, by the Committee’s findings, do not understand a fundamental principle like “unreasonable damage”, something one would not even need a Law Degree to understand.

Without being legislated, it should be possible for the bureaucrats, who in this case are both lawyers, to understand the concept of ‘unreasonable’.

However, as they cannot or will not, the Courts must determine the answer for each case; simply legislating a definition will not work, as what may be unreasonable in one case may not be in another.

The Courts can place any restrictions on the examination that it sees serves the best interest of the Law and maintains natural justice for the witness.

We argue that the Public Examination ‘Show Trial’ process is used as punishment or more damming, where poor investigations fail.

Moreover, the chance of a fair trial may well be compromised by public examination where the rules of evidence vary from what a court will permit in a subsequent trial, influencing potential jurors; a risk we should not countenance.

The transparency argument often put forward is also flawed as the logical corollary would be for people before being charged with murder, or other crimes should be publicly examined – an illogical and unacceptable proposition.

There is an argument that ‘Show Trials’ may elicit more evidence against a witness, which has allegedly happened in a few cases.

Former Queensland Police Commissioner Terry Lewis was convicted for corruption in 1991, and Politician Eddie Obeid likewise in New South Wales in 2021. Cases separated by thirty years and in different States are hardly a ringing endorsement for the benefits of ‘Show Trials’ or their usefulness in reducing corruption.

The CAA is not convinced that, although the additional evidence in these two matters may have been important, their subsequent convictions would have hinged on this information alone. We would expect a compelling case would have existed anyway; if not, it should have been with competent investigation.

Fundamental maxims that underpin our legal system diametrically contradict public examinations, arguably the 21st-century version of medieval stocks; punishment without trial.

No less of a luminary than Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States in 1785, said,

” That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved.”

Franklin was echoing Voltaire, pseudonym of François-Marie Arouet, recognised as one of the greatest French writers (circa)1749 who wrote.

“that generous Maxim, that ’tis much more Prudence to acquit two Persons, tho’ actually guilty, than to pass Sentence of Condemnation on one that is virtuous and innocent.”

And further, Sir William Blackstone, in his commentaries on the Laws of England in 1783, said,

“For the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.”

The numbers quoted by these luminaries are immaterial; the Maxim they promote is the key.

The argument for this Maxim is compelling and has stood the test of time, and should not be set aside.

The public examination of witnesses by Corruption Agencies contradicts this Maxim.

Otto Von Bismarck, a former Chancellor of the German Reich, was generally attributed with laying the foundation for the first and second world wars and expressed the opposing view.

“it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape.”

Proponents of the Public examinations tend to favour the Bismarck philosophy, and we are strongly inclined to the Franklin/Voltaire/Blackstone view.

The issue of not using the Police Force and its skills and resources to tackle corruption (crime) in the public sector seems ludicrous and if there is a problem that renders the Police Force unsuitable, then fix the Police Force.

If corruption (crime) is suspected, no matter who it is in the public employ, then the Police need to be the primary investigators.

If the Police need the support of coercive powers currently available to IBAC, a minor amendment to the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004. This would allow Police, on the authority of the Supreme Court, to defer to the Public Examiner, who has and can exercise coercive powers; there is a compelling argument that corruption is a Major crime and should fall within the purview of the Public Examiner.

There will always be a need for an independent Authority to manage corruption involving Police. But such an authority, not saddled with general crimes committed by those on the public payroll, would be more cost-effective.

Victoria’s Parliamentary Integrity and Oversight Committee’s deliberations were motivated by the untimely death of a witness subjected to a ‘Show Trial’. Mistakes like this are completely unjustifiable under any circumstances.

That the Committee exposed that IBAC management could not explain the simple concept of what ‘unreasonable damage’ might be, is damming and highlights a need to consider if IBAC is fit for purpose.

The lack of tangible outcomes is another issue to be addressed. The very last thing we need is empire-building in this space – results would be more appropriate.



POLICE RESERVE – a step closer

POLICE RESERVE – a step closer

20th October 2022

The Chief Commissioner, to his credit, has announced that the idea of using former Police and community volunteers to release more police from non-critical functions is being examined.

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) has long advocated for the reintroduction of a reserve of Police veterans to be used to free up operational members to put more police on the ground in the community.

There are thousands of police veterans in Victoria, and the wealth of their experience and knowledge is usually lost to the community. The ability of veterans to assist junior members and new supervisors at all levels should create improved work ethics for all police and help those at the coal face dealing with the rigours of policing.

Their experience and skills need to be harvested, not ignored.

What concerns us significantly is the inclination to consider community volunteers.

We acknowledge that many would be interested and capable but would have to refer almost everything to sworn officers, partly defeating the purpose.

Wayne Gatt of the Police Association is quoted in opposition to the idea,

“The fact remains when a member of the community attends a police station, odds are, they need to speak to a current serving police officer about a crime or current policing issue,”

He of course is fundamentally correct.

There are many issues that a member of the public would not want to discuss with a civilian volunteer as they would a Police employee who is not a sworn member.

A Police reserve member, however, with their experience, would, in many circumstances, be better equipped to deal with the counter and phone issues at a police station than a trainee or inexperienced police member.

Simply having somebody to answer phones and man the counter is not of great value if everything has to be referred on, that is inefficient.

Amendments to the Police Act will be required to cover and enable the reserve members, but the work to achieve this will reap the rewards and elevate VicPol as the innovative Police Force it once was.

A financial component for Veterans commensurate with their duties must be included because it will put a tangible value on their work and motivate the uptake of the initiative.

We are also concerned that the press article reports a police spokesperson said that,

“explorations are in their very early stages”, but it was looking at staffing models across the globe for inspiration.

Rather than looking at staffing models across the globe, there is a model already existing in Australia that can be easily adapted and will adequately serve the need. The program has been well tested, and modification would be easier and more cost-effective than starting from scratch.


All the challenging work has already been done by the ADF, SERCAT project.

The key to this approach means that the Reserve members will not be an undue continual financial burden as they will be used as a reserve should.

In normal circumstances, there would be one level of engagement, but the capacity to have vastly improved surge capacity for the Force is a highly desirable attribute and well overdue. Again, this is a lesson well demonstrated with the COVID issue.

With the value of hindsight and an adequate Reserve capacity, we can reflect that  VicPol could have responded to the Quarantine issue as the emergency demanded, and 800 lives may have been saved or the loss reduced.

This initiative by the Chief Commissioner is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the failings of VicPol and provide the community with the level of service they are entitled to but are not receiving.

In at least the foreseeable future, the ability to recruit sufficient numbers of quality police is problematic, and rather than drop standards that will have future detrimental consequences, a reserve force is highly desirable and practical.

Every call unanswered, job not attended, or attendance delayed can be seen as a failure of VicPol.

That needs to be fixed.

Whether there is justification or not, it does not help the community if they are not told.

Communication is the key to service delivery; Reserve members could help address this need.



18th Octorber 2022

As we all watched the response of Police to COVID demonstrations, close observers detected an uncomfortable reality was dawning. Is this the new norm?  The community was initially split on the mixed messages that the demonstrators were sending and the Politicians were promoting.

A high proportion of the community had volunteered to be vaccinated, probably encouraged by the fear campaign. However, they made their own decisions and many vaccinated people viewed the anti-vaxers as selfish individuals. People who were willing to put us all at risk. A concept embraced by many Politicians.

As the restrictions increased from what seemed reasonable to what can now be seen as draconian, the mood started to shift towards concern for our freedoms.

Today there is a different community mindset with anger entrenched against the removal of our liberties. The realisation they can be trashed so effortlessly by a fear campaign, Government incompetence or twisted ideology is frightening.   In light of what we now know, it is incumbent on us to keep up pressure on Government to ensure the balance of liberty versus safety is not swayed by Government ideology and fear-mongering.

Police are at the forefront of implementing any Government’s lawful decree. Still, the Police must be protected by ensuring that the Government’s lawful policy is applied with discretion.

A basic tenet of the Office of Constable of Police is discretion and the binding of police to action must only be so in serious situations.

During COVID, the issue of the politicisation of Police has been elevated substantially. How was it that our police force, once respected as the best in the land, become so apparently politicised?

Denials of politicisation from those in authority abound, raising scepticism in the community fuelled by the failure to release the medical advice relied on to justify police responses.

What we do not know is what the objectives of the police response were.

Like all these things, time will eventually expose the truth, and that process has started.

On the same day as Vladimir Putin’s legacy, the Crimean Bridge, was attacked, there was a demonstration in Melbourne led by Bernie Finn MP that will blow up the denials of politicisation of Police and damage our leader’s legacy.

Bernie Finn, a long-serving politician, exposed the truth when he posted the following

Bernie Finn MP  · 

“VicPol has copped plenty of criticism of recent times – including from me – but it’s time to give credit where it’s due.                                    Victorian Socialists and associated ferals set out to “smash” today’s March for the Babies. They were intent on silencing us and didn’t care how they did it.

Victoria Police, under the command of Snr Sgt Katherine Mitchell, did a superb job of protecting marchers and avoiding the violence pro-abortionists were intent on. Even when I was attacked, Police acted quickly to remove the threat.

The boys and girls in blue did a magnificent job, and I thank and congratulate them for their great work.

The three cheers at the end was much deserved!”

The significance of these comments, that we take as genuine on face value, should not be underestimated.

The date of this demonstration was the 8th of October. However, the Emergency Declarations that VicPol was operating under during the COVID demonstrations did not expire until 11.59 pm on October 12, 4 days later.

So, who pushed the button that VicPol would revert to Policing demonstrations in the non-confrontational approach of the pre-COVID era? What was the medical advice that VicPol was operating under on the 8th?

As we have experienced, every pronouncement on COVID restrictions or otherwise are time and date stamped and inflexible, but something may have changed.

Was it the Police or the Government politics that swung this change? Who authorised the ‘softening’ of the Emergency Declaration?

When viewing the footage of the COVID Demonstrations, it has been a puzzle. When assessing the response, we ask:

  • Why were demonstrators herded together, which would presumably be the antithesis of a COVID response?
  • From a COVID infection perspective, why chase people down the streets? Running away from confrontation (dispersing and minimising infection risks) has to be positive.
  • What happened when these people were caught, and pepper sprayed? Was this a sanction being applied, punishment for their behaviour?
  • Why were demonstrators herded into residential areas where there would be added risk to innocent residents?
  • Why did Police continually break ranks and attack crowds?

And yet, on the 8th of October, we have VicPol behaving and responding in a disciplined, carefully planned professional operation intent on maintaining the peace and the right of people to exercise their democratic right of freedom of assembly.

The Emergency declaration was still in force.

As Bernie Finn has indicated, Senior Sergeant Katherine Mitchell did an excellent job, and full credit to her for maintaining proper command and control, but behind the good Senior Sergeant, there is an extensive operational command structure, which is where it gets interesting.

We have suspected for some time that there have been political hawks in the Police Senior command. These people apparently enforcing the will of the Government to use violence. Who was responsible and what was the influence of senior command in the way protests were handled?   It may be only a Royal Commission is the only way this and the other questions will be answered.

This latest demonstration hints that the hawks may have been moved on within the Police organisation, but in our view, that is unsatisfactory as they should be held to public account and not permitted to slink off into anonymity not held to account for their actions.

As we look to the future, we can see hope with the efforts of Senior Sergeant Mitchell and her subordinate team.

We would want to be assured that fail-safes are installed in the process that will avoid the repetition of the hawks or political apparatchiks overtaking responsible Policing.

Independent command and control principles must be guaranteed for the future.

It would seem that only a Royal Commission can provide the community with certainty in the future.

When done correctly, and we assume without political influences, VicPol is very good at what it does.

Although our faith in Victoria Police was tested, we knew they could do it.


National Police Remembrance Day 2022 – 3AW Interview with Wayne Gatt

Attached is a few minutes of an interview by Tony Jones on the 3AW Neil Mitchell show yesterday. He mentioned that the Police Remembrance day is also about those Police who have suffered mental health injury as a result of their job (it’s in the last couple of minutes if the interview). He said when you have a bad day as a Police Officer then it’s a really bad day.

Listen to the interview here:



25th September 2022

Policing would have to be one of the most challenging functions to measure.

Traditionally the public measurement has been the level of crime and or the road toll, but neither of these measuring techniques adequately measure the effectiveness of policing, on their own.

Perceptions also feed into the equation, as do other intangibles that make the job challenging but not impossible.

There is a respect deficit towards Policing in the community, and VicPol must work hard to regain the respect lost because policing is always less effective in a community with a lack of enthusiasm towards its Police.

Without remedial action, a downward spiral will evolve and gather pace to the detriment of policing and the community.

Our well-educated community no longer accepts bland generalist measuring strategies.

The reporting function to the community has seen the introduction of independent crime analysis; however, there has not been significant improvement in content in over forty years; it is time to address the issue; tomorrow is too late.

“You cannot escape the responsibilities of tomorrow by evading them today.”

  • Abraham Lincoln

The information shortfalls leave the community in a void and contradictions of their lived experiences. Whether the view formed is accurate is, to a degree, irrelevant; their experience formulated their view.

If VicPol is to regain community trust, it must fill the void with accurate, timely and frank information. Whether the information is painful does not mean it should not be disseminated, but to do so will demonstrate the genuineness of VicPol and present it as an organisation that can be trusted.

It is also essential that VicPol avoid the communication ‘spin’ trap, hitherto regularly applied; it is counterproductive.

It is all right to say that VicPol is intent on community engagement but unless the tools are developed to make that engagement effective, it may be of limited value and remain just an aspirational goal.

The community needs to know the policing effectiveness in their neighbourhood, what problems exist, and the strategies to rectify the situation.

The Rebecca Judd matter is an example. Ultimately, she was right, and the Force relying on dated or misread Statistics was wrong. It may have happened, but we missed the apology to her.

Therefore, empirical data must be available in a timely manner and easily accessible by anybody.

Measuring data can neither be confidential nor sensitive; it is public property.

Alongside the need for accurate information is the need for proper management, backed by the same empirical data. That includes the ability of managers to decipher statistics correctly instead of trying to manipulate them.

Recently, we have heard senior police referring to allocating resources throughout the State. At first, blush a laudable initiative. However, the problem identified is that some areas appear underserviced while others appear over-serviced in resources.

What concerns the CAA is that the decision may well be made without adequate empirical data, which could be a mistake.

For example, we know that the New South Wales Police undertook significant staffing realignments in times past, achieving maximum staff upheaval for minimal results. Creating many dissatisfied members. The impact on productivity should have been foreshadowed.

The lesson; any changes must be incremental, and the staff taken along rather than forced.


That would create a solid argument for each position within the Force to be advertised and filled by an applicant. Any realignments would be achieved by advertised positions rather than forced movements. Allowing staff to own a position can be an excellent motivator.

Simply looking at broad parameter outputs on a Divisional or Regional level is difficult, as is applying wide-based statistics to a particular police station without examining other factors when, probably, most significant is the service area’s demographics.

It could ultimately turn out counterproductive if a station received extra resources without efforts to determine other issues affecting the station’s performance, starting with the station level management and the output of existing staff.

Before resources are moved around arbitrarily, the stations’ performance needs to be measured accurately so that direct comparisons can be made to other stations’ performances in a similar demographical environment.

If that is not done, how will it be determined that the reallocation was effective?

Unless demographics can be accurately determined and fed into ratings of realistic benchmarking and individual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measuring outcomes, any staffing allocation reshuffle is not likely to provide the desired effect but could have a detrimental consequence on the locations from where the resources are sourced.

We strongly suspect that all the data required to establish an effective measuring system already exists, so more likely than not, it should not further impact the operational police admin workload. Again, harnessing existing electronic data will be the key.

Without empirical and comprehensive analysis to support a final objective decision, it would be naive and wrong to assume problems are foremost resource based because that assumption can lead to flawed decisions.

Essentially, we argue that you have to start from the bottom up.

Unfortunately, optimum outcomes from management mechanisms pushed from the top down usually find resistance somewhere down the chain, causing the optimum outcome to be problematic.

The advantage of the bottom-up approach is that it gives frontline members input, equating to ownership. If driven from this direction, it also reduces the likelihood of increasing admin on front-line members or other unintended consequences.

It is, however, timely to caution decision makers in the words of former Chief Commissioner Kel Glare-

 “In policing, it can be misleading to rely on statistics alone.  The simple fact is that the best policing produces no measurable result. If there is a total absence of disorder, crime and traffic offences, the policing effort may be perfect, but there will be nothing to measure.  One must be careful not to generate frenetic activity and measure that in the guise of productivity.”

There has to be a clear essential objective in bringing management support into the twenty-first century.

Decision makers must be given the tools to do their job. Unfortunately, the dearth of data leads to poor decisions.

Modernising the Force management data is onerous but will also benefit the promotional system as candidates will have empirical data on their ability to meet Force objectives. And this can have a positive impact on transfers and promotions.

If this is achieved, it will remove some of the tedium (in the personnel management area) currently distracting managers from their core function, managing.



20th September 2022

Like most of life’s endeavours, when anybody has a problem, they first and foremost have to come to grips with and recognise there is a problem; denial of a problem only works against a solution.

Enterprises like Policing are no different.

Victoria Police has a trust deficit with the community that must be accepted and addressed.

This deficit did not happen overnight and can be traced back to a number of issues that have all contributed.

The list is long and is not a value judgment on each, but the items as a whole have created the current negativity in the community.

The contributing issues

  • Black Saturday bushfires. – A former Chief Commissioners’ leadership or severe lack of.
  • The George Pell prosecution. – Convicted on what can only be described as implausible and weak evidence. Subsequently overturned by the High Court of Australia.
  • Uniform change– The change to a black uniform (Salute Blue) and generally discarding of headdress, the symbol of Office, has had a substantially negative impact on the Force image and authority.
  • The Gobbo affair- The ramification of some deplorable and corrupt Victoria Police decisions and performance has resonated across all community sectors and is not fading from the community psyche.
  • Quarantine Hotels failure – The public is aware of the efforts by Victoria Police to avoid taking charge of the Quarantine Hotels in the initial stages of the Pandemic. The over 800 deaths may have been avoided if police had taken control initially. That initial role is a Police responsibility, refer to the Police Act.
  • Politicians making false claims– Two politicians made bogus claims on travelling entitlements claiming considerable funds from the public purse. The blatant criminal fraud went un-investigated, and perpetrators were not pursued for their crimes.
  • COVID-19 response- The decisions in relation to much of the COVID Police response were flawed. No matter how often the counterargument has been proffered that VicPol had no choice given the Chief Health Officers Orders, whilst to a degree this is true, VicPol had discretion on how those orders were applied in the field and failed. This feeds the view that VicPol were carrying out these outrageous responses at the behest of the Government.
  • Bourke street massacre– The Court of Public opinion is convinced this matter was handled poorly, resulting in unnecessary loss of life. Generally seen as a Command failure to intervene earlier. Supported by the coronial findings
  • Red Shirts – It is difficult for the community to fathom why all the suspected perpetrators were not charged or not even formally interviewed. – given the return of the money was an admission of guilt.
  • Branch stacking – Although the stacking is not a police matter per se, many actions seem to be criminal, yet police have not instigated investigations.
  • Danni Laidley affair– Like most of the community, we found it improper for police to photograph and distribute photos of Laidley when arrested for Stalking. But the Police response was, for the most part, well over the top. escalating the matter that is seen as petty and a waste of police resources.
  • Slug-Gate – This artifice has still not been adequately investigated despite Police claims to the contrary. VicPol just does not seem to grasp the magnitude of the issue.                                                              The ICooks’ Slug-Gate’ experience is only a part of the story.

No investigation into what public officers who committed misconduct, misappropriation of public money, or conspiracies in this artifice; Although trite, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, you can bet it is a duck.

  • Non-Police duties- The evolution of the Police’s role to assume responsibilities for matters beyond their core business has seen a diminution of Police’s overall function in public safety, preventing crime and disorder.

Additional roles in Domestic Violence and Psych patient management must be resisted and responsibility given back to the agencies responsible.Nothing less than the Police Act establishes the Police role. Subsequent devolution of non-Police roles is an unambiguous contravention of that Act.                          It is well past time for the Police management to push back; the law is on their side.

  • Poor service delivery – in part, but not solely, the misunderstanding of Service delivery, as opposed to Service efficiency has been a culprit but other push factors have contributed.

Of all of these issues, Service delivery, which anecdotally continues to grow seemingly unabated, is the single greatest contributor to the Trust deficit.

The road to recovery will be long and, at times, tedious and perhaps painful, but delaying the task is the worst possible alternative because it will only become harder.

The recently released Corporate Plan provides a guide to the direction Policing must take; however, it is let down by failing to provide measurement strategies to show the community achievements in reaching the goals of the Plan.

We use the word guide deliberately because without clear benchmarking, that is always as strong as the Plan will be.

The first step is, acknowledging that the Victoria police has made errors and vows to address the organisation’s shortcomings for the benefit of all Victorians.

To complete this step, it must be accompanied by tangible objectives heralding change.

A commitment to tackle corruption without fear or favour backed up by action will have a profound and positive impact. Essentially some historical matters need to be resolved; therefore, a line in the sand approach would fail.

As far as operationally possible, no coverups and honest and open communication with the community is essential. No ‘feeding the chooks’ approach so often used.

Focusing on core activities but providing the initial response capacity that Policing is renowned for will take competent management but resonate well with the community.

One initiative that will enable this to be fast tracked will be the development of a Force reserve to give the Force the rapid capacity to respond to Service delivery short falls.

Recruiting in the current environment is problematic where a Reserve force will be a cost-effective alternative with shorter lead times.

With the upcoming Commonwealth Games in a bit over three years ahead this may be the only way to give VicPol the surge capacity to deal with that event.

Additionally with the games spread over a large part of the State reserve members who live in rural centres may alleviate other logistical issues like accommodating Police from elsewhere.

A force-wide attitude of ‘why should we’, needs to be changed to,

If you want help, call us.’



13th September 2022

There is a lot to like about the Victoria Police Corporate Plan, and the community we suggest will be pleased with the directions the Force is taking.

The Force priorities, even in the order they are listed, would undoubtedly resonate positively with the community.

  • Community safety
  • Reducing crime
  • Reducing road trauma and
  • Service delivery excellence.

Of these priorities, the most significant is Service delivery because, without effective Service delivery, the other priorities have a limited chance of success.

For all the excellent work in this Corporate Plan, there is, however, one glaring anomaly that strikes at and severely diminishes the value of this document; the lack of outcomes measurement.

How will the community, or for that matter the Force, know if the plan has worked?

That anomaly will be addressed as part of a further article on organisational management practices.

A failure of police administration’s past has seen confusion evolve with the Service delivery concept. Overlaying the Service delivery function with Service efficiency; two distinct and often diametrically opposed concepts that can constantly work against each other, have gone a long way to disconnecting police from the community.

No better example exists than discontinuing a phone switchboard facility for Police Headquarters, the Victoria Police Centre.

You can not ring Victoria Police Headquarters per se.

The abandonment of this resource would clearly be Service efficiency at a substantial cost to Service delivery.

A clearer example from a CAA member of this failure is unlikely; we hope;

… on Monday, (5th Sep.) I (a Police veteran) telephoned the VicPol number 131 444, to find out a contact point for an acquaintance (who was aware of my previous experience in Fraud matters) who wanted to report a major fraud to the Fraud Squad, after he had tried and failed. All I got was a recorded message to either press 1 or 2. I pressed 1 and was told by a recorded message that my call would be answered in 40 minutes, YES – 40 minutes. I hung up.

This is a clear and dramatic failure of Service delivery and rates up there with the failures to deliver Freedom of Information (FIO) requests stretching out to nine months.

We strongly suspect the culprit is a management one – benchmarking and accountabilities would seem the obvious culprits and must be resolved before the alternative of simply throwing more resources at the problem, the current go-to option, which should never be done without the other drivers being examined.

We will have more to say on these and other management concepts in following articles because the problem is severe.

Addressing these apparent weaknesses will go a long way toward improving the performance of both Police operations and Police management from an output and welfare basis.

Service delivery, however, must be viewed from the user’s (the community) perspective, where Service efficiency is viewed from an organisation’s economic or resource perspective.

Another common fallacy is that an organisation assumes that the consumer knows how to navigate through a large organisation. This often flawed assumption is aggravated by accusing the failure or pushing responsibility to gain access to the user, a critical flaw.

Good communication is the lifeblood of policing, administratively and operationally, so placing barriers across communication channels is counterintuitive.

Private corporations and other public entities have suffered the same clash but are now a wake-up and are making huge improvements. The move from offshore call centres is but one example.

However, we hope that with Service delivery now a priority, we will see vast improvements in policing.

The measurement knowledge referred to earlier is an entitlement the community could reasonably expect, and any broad overarching global statistical response will not reasonably satisfy the public who want to know how the plan has worked in their community; not just the State or some region that makes no geographical sense to the general public.

There are also a number of parameters that the community would want and are entitled to know at a local level not serviced by the usual key factors like crime and road toll statistics.

The failure to provide this information feeds the community’s view of a lack of transparency and accountability of Victoria Police which is contrary to the intent of the Chief Commissioner.

How is it anticipated that community confidence in their police will grow if they don’t know how the Force is responding to their needs?

There may well be internal measuring that, for whatever reason, are not made public, which detracts from the plan’s strengths and feeds the perception of the siege mentality towards the community the organisation has developed.

We know the Chief Commissioner supports transparency and accountability, but it is not being practised when viewed externally, so we need to look at the cause.

The level achieved towards the nirvana of good community relations is directly proportionate to the effectiveness of Policing overall and visa-versa. One begets the other.

The community’s compliance with the law because they want to will always trump compliance because they must.

Equally and most critically, the higher the level of confidence the public has in the Force is directly correlated to the quality, frequency and strength of information flow from the public and voluntary compliance.

So, it is overwhelmingly evident that timely and open communication with the public is the key to the effectiveness of policing.

A void in information causes and encourages misinformation to be promulgated to fill the gap. No better example was the misfortune that the Premier suffered in a fall. The misinformation seen by many as fact, filling the void in information, was extraordinary.

The other side of the coin is the intangibles, where competent management excels and lesser managers fail.

The intangibles like police attitude and enthusiasm to perform their duties are bolstered if they work in a positive community environment. Good communications from police drive that positive environment.

Hence the critical role of effective Service delivery.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 7 – Whistle-blowers, Conspiracy, Perverting the course of Justice, Watts has it all.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 7 – Whistle-blowers, Conspiracy, Perverting the course of Justice, Watts has it all.

9th September 2022

The Watts Report does not instil confidence that all the options of criminality were adequately explored by the integrity units.

Since drafting this missive, a Whistle-blower’s bombshell allegations levelled at Police Command has come to light.

If these allegations, as reported in the media, are true, and we are not suggesting they are or not, the allegations are at least new.Albeit that interference in this and other matters like Slug-gate has long been suspected, these allegations further erode the community trust in the Victoria Police command, adding to the already severe trust deficit that exists post-COVID.

These revelations have cast a dark pall over the entire Command of Victoria Police.

The allegations must be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency if for no other reason than to allow Police members to have confidence in their Command. Otherwise, the capacity of the Victoria Police to perform its vital function will be compromised if a lack of confidence in the leadership is allowed to ferment further.

This lack of confidence is growing in the community. Still, more importantly, the Police members we rely on to protect us will be impacted, potentially adversely affecting performance in the field.

How these allegations are handled will be an actual test of the efficacy of police command. Police are generally very sceptical in these matters, so a misstep in handling this matter could lead to more significant harm. Nothing short of a thorough, competent and independent investigation to determine the veracity of these allegations and identify any perpetrators would be acceptable to the community—a view shared by most serving and former Police.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, the vast majority of police at all levels abhor corruption, so we avoid the term ‘a corrupt Police Force’ as it is overwhelmingly not.

But the question remains, is there corruption within the Police Force, as this Whistle-blower has alleged?

The problem with these allegations is they strike at the very individuals who Police and the community rely on to keep corruption within the Police Force in check. These new allegations indicate the commission of other grave crimes. Perverting the Course of Justice and other conspiracies designed to achieve that perversion is committed by, as yet, unidentified individuals, hence the need for an investigation.

It only takes one or two rotten apples in the police command for all to be tarred with the same brush. Equally the command is also seriously conflicted therefore unable to properly investigate their own, or make management decisions in relation to this issue.

Given their predisposed public views on the Red Shirts, Branch stacking and Slug-gate affairs, we question and strongly argue that IBAC is not the appropriate agency or authority to investigate these claims. They are already, like police command, significantly and unavoidably conflicted, so any further investigation by them would not prove meritorious.

Although we are not privy to the detail, from the information we can glean in the public domain, the investigative capacity of IBAC is subpar even with its extraordinary powers. A view reinforced by their inability to charge (as distinct from gaining a conviction) even one person in the Red Shirts, Branch Stacking and Slug-gate affairs, aggravated by unambiguous admissions by some perpetrators and overwhelming evidence against others.

Millions of dollars, and they have yet to land one glove. So that must be rated as a failure of epic proportions.

There are many examples where many allegations, in Police parlance, are ‘a lay down misère’ or a ‘Slam dunk’ for charges to be laid with a strong possibility of a conviction. We are yet to be graced with any plausible arguments as to why this has not occurred.

However, should merit be found in these latest allegations, it supports our contention that the whole Red Shirts rort and ICooks (Slug-gate) investigations were nobbled. Indeed, if they had been thoroughly investigated in the first instance, then issues like this would have been exposed, and we would not be sifting through the entrails of these and other breaches and abuses of public trust.

While the offence of Misconduct in Public Office has been erroneously, in our view, explained away by claiming that the Premier was only immersed in the artifice, no such explanation is provided for the other perpetrators or why many of the participants have not been interviewed and charged with Conspiracy.

A raft of possible offences of fraudulent behaviour ignites a conspiracy. The Watts report details forgery, deceptions, and Misconduct in Public Office. With these latest allegations, it would seem that Perverting the course of Justice and additional Conspiracy offences can be added to the now very long list.

As for those involved, it could potentially be in the order of fifty or more perpetrators. Spanning politicians, political staffers, political party members, public servants and police, predominately in the higher ranks.

A conspiracy of extraordinary proportions requires extraordinary effort to bring perpetrators to Justice and lift the cloud of suspicion from those in the various sectors who were not involved or facilitators of these criminal endeavours.

The honest brokers deserve better.

It could be reasonably argued that this whole artifice is organised; therefore, the Office of the Chief Examiner, if given power, may be the next avenue for consideration to establish the truth.

Additional to criminality, the people of Victoria are entitled to the truth.

There is enough evidence in the Watts Report for the perpetrators to be interviewed under caution and charged with several offences, including Conspiracy. If that is not done, it would clearly indicate the veracity of the Whistleblower’s allegations. There has been a lot said about the foot soldiers in this artifice, and it is reasonable to conclude they were under pressure to comply, but as many have said, they knew it was wrong, but they participated anyway.

They all had the option to walk away; it is not as though work is hard to find.

We seriously question the role of the Integrity units to make judgement calls relevant to the culpability of participants as they did for the Premier. That call is not theirs to make but the Director of Public Prosecutions. So exercising power, they do not have is a ‘power relevance issue’ afflicting the integrity units.

The actions and degrees of culpability that a perpetrator may have exercised are a matter for the Courts. However, if the Courts think their role is minor or incidental, the Courts have the power to exercise discretion in sentencing, a power the Integrity entities do not and should not have.

There is no doubt while the Integrity entities fail to lay charges against perpetrators of corrupt practices, those practices will continue to flourish.

The Legislators must also move to harness the powers that the Integrity units are bestowing upon themselves. This inappropriate exercising of power is a very dangerous practice and could lead to serious misdeeds, let alone being legally questionable.

The only option for an acceptable solution, apart from the Public Examiner, although remote, is that Victoria Police develop a conscience and undertake a no holds barred investigation honouring their oath.

That would go a long way to rebuilding confidence in our Force.

The most apparent takeout from these ongoing sagas, which would be well behind us if they had been dealt with properly in the first instance, will be the inevitable need for a Royal Commission, which will drag this all out for years to come. Politically, these sagas will be an albatross for one side of politics for years to come. That is not healthy for our government, irrespective of their political persuasion. As these matters drag on, we wonder what the next revelation may be.

Even the most intransigent amongst us must now accept that these matters cannot be willed away or swept under the carpet. The Political class must surely realise that by now, and deal with it properly, no matter how painful that may be.

Policing in Victoria 2022

Policing in Victoria 2022

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc (CAA) has submitted this paper, Policing Victoria 2022, to the Chief Commissioner and has made it available to the political decision-makers of this State irrespective of their ideology.

We intend to publish their responses so the public can have feedback on the attitude of those responsible for our State’s critical decisions.

Additionally, the paper is available to the Media to allow them to comment.

Most importantly, the paper is available to all Victorians HERE.

The CAA has prepared the paper to assist the role and function of policing in this State. It is influenced by over six hundred years of Policing experience and a range of other disciplines, including Legal, Entrepreneurial, Road Safety, Health, Business, Hospitality, Financial, Arts, Ethnic communities and others, with a common goal dedicated to improving the State of Victoria for all Victorians no matter who or what they are.

Some initiatives are processes or procedures that have, for whatever reason, been discontinued but would be of immense value to the community now, and many are new and innovative.

Many areas of Policing have not received comment, although they are no less important; we have tended to focus on structural issues as correcting the structure is integral to the success of rebuilding this proud Police Force.

Rebuilding, because that is what is required. Another inquiry costing taxpayers millions is not needed but what is required is Police management that listens and acts in the best interest of all Victorians and does not pander to the ideological whims of those who would deconstruct policing if given half a chance.

The overarching result is a paper that can provide a future direction for policing in Victoria for the benefit of the Police and all Victorians.

We commend this paper to you and invite your comment.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 6 – The Premiers Evidence

Analysis part 6 – The Premiers Evidence

4th of September 2022

We need to look at some of the evidence as to whether a crime has been committed.

In this instalment, we will deal with the evidence of the Premier of Victoria, Mr Daniel Andrews, or more accurately, such as that evidence made available is. We say this because most of the Premier’s evidence was not published by IBAC. However, that part of the transcript reproduced in the Operation Watts report was made public on relevance grounds. We would have thought that all the evidence the Premier gave was relevant and should be released.

Our comments, therefore, only relate to the published evidence by the Premier, and on that restriction, we believe the Premier has been unfairly treated.

Unfair because there is no ability to understand whether the context of his answers is fairly represented or reasonable, and we cannot understand just what the overall veracity of the examination was. Therefore, we and the broader public can only draw conclusions based on what is available.

From the outset, what has surprised us is the demeanour of the Premier, as reflected in those evidentiary transcripts reproduced by IBAC. The Premier’s usual self-assured demeanour displayed by him almost daily in the media was replaced with stilted responses, repetition and uncertainty.

We may be assessing the evidence unfairly, but the Premier did, in our opinion, give the impression he was a man under considerable pressure during his IBAC examination.

Another surprise to us was the Premier admitting that the Red Shirts and Branch stacking issues staff were employees of the State, used for party-political activities, and he did nothing about it.

Was this not the nub of the whole Watts inquiry?

We regard his admissions as very telling because it raises concerns about the view proffered by the Ombudsman that the Premier was only “immersed[1] in the Red Shirts scheme and that this somehow exonerates him from any liability.

According to the Cambridge online dictionary, ‘Immersed’ means “to become completely involved in something”.

The Ombudsman is an experienced lawyer and bureaucrat. Therefore, we are entitled to presume that the word ‘immersed’ was not a mistake. Nevertheless, this language choice for the Ombudsman raises genuine concerns about the Premier’s involvement in the Red Shirts scheme.

It is therefore relevant to examine the evidence published in the Watts Report in more detail. Set out below is evidence of the Premier accompanied by  italicised CAA comments

Watts Report page 30 Item 146 –

According to the Watts report – Premier Andrews was not one of the MPs found by the Red Shirts investigation to have ‘participated’ in the scheme.

CAA- An unreasonable assumption based on the evidence.

 In our view, IBAC and the Ombudsman have adopted an inappropriately narrow view of the meaning of “participated”, defined as ‘to take a share or part’ (Cambridge), and Mr Andrews gave evidence that he did take part.

By his admission, he was also ‘knowingly concerned’, having referred Mr Somyurek to Mr Lenders, who was administering the scheme for the parliamentary ALP. This admission is arguably ‘mens rea’ (a guilty mind).

The statement also alludes that there were other MP’s who participated in the scheme, but there appears no appetite to prosecute any of them. Raising the issue of why not, if they were immersed?

In his evidence to the present investigation, Mr Andrews was asked about Mr Somyurek’s evidence.

MR ANDREWS: I had a very brief encounter with Mr Somyurek at the end of a caucus meeting. I have detailed this, I think not long after or, sorry, at an earlier point when this was a matter of media enquiry. It was a very brief encounter and I referred him to John Lenders.

That is my – that’s my recount, my recall of that particular encounter, brief and really only an issue of referral, and I don’t believe that he raised anything other than he didn’t – he raised – I don’t even know that he raised concerns, other than that, you know, he might have gone on to raise concerns with me, but I directed him to Mr Lenders.

CAA- The Premier seems confused and vacillating. He points IBAC to Mr Lenders, just as he admitted in his evidence that he pointed Mr Somyuek to Mr Lenders. The Premier knew of Mr Lenders’ involvement, and the Premier is the leader of the State. He cannot absolve himself of further investigation simply by pointing IBAC to the person who administered the scheme. IBAC does not mention the investigative steps it took concerning Mr Lenders. IBAC’s approach does not remotely qualify as a basic investigation but as an abrogation of its responsibility.    

COUNSEL: Did you use an expression akin to, ‘Do you want to win an election or not’?

MR ANDREWS: I don’t believe so. I have a clear recollection, given the brevity of the encounter, and I’m not – that’s not language that I use. I think people who know me would not see me speaking in those terms, would not describe me as someone who speaks in those terms. […]

CAA – The Premier demonstrates an excellent recall of what is described as a brief encounter after a caucus meeting in 2014 5-6 years ago. This dramatically contrasts with other evidence he has given in other inquiries, where he could not recall matters 1-2  years ago, although that is not relevant in this matter. It may, however, have relevance to his character. His failure to recall details of other contentious matters. Must now be questioned

The use of the phrase “I don’t believe so.” is an equivocation on the part of the Premier and warranted a much more forthright examination by IBAC, especially as the Premier then immediately followed those words with the claim to having a “clear recollection” of what he then described as a brief “encounter”. 

In its very best light, this evidence by the Premier is contradictory. On that basis, the Premier should have been required to provide his full recollection to IBAC of the conversation between himself and Mr Somyurek during this brief “encounter”. But he wasn’t because IBAC, for whatever reason, did not do its job correctly.

IBAC appears to have ‘run dead’ on its examination of the Premier concerning what is a pivotal aspect of the allegations lodged by Mr Somyurek.

Instead, IBAC, in essence, allows the Premier to claim that anonymous “people who know (him)” would not see him speaking in those terms. In other words, the Premier claims he doesn’t talk like that. Because of the importance of this testimony to the credibility of the Premier’s evidence, it was important that IBAC test the Premier’s claims exhaustively. Their failure reflects poorly on them.

COMMISSIONER: Do you at the time feel you had an understanding of the essence of Mr Lenders’ scheme?

MR ANDREWS: I probably did. I had no concerns at that time given, you know, I wasn’t acting to stop him doing it. But this issue of whether I spoke in those terms or essentially justified or was unconcerned with serious issues of probity and integrity that Mr Somyurek raised with me, that is not my recollection of that conversation and nor is that the evidence that he provided to the privileges committee at the time. A very brief encounter and I referred him to John. […]

CAA– This response is an unambiguous admission of knowledge of the use of Parliamentary staff. The evidence that he wasn’t acting to stop him (Lenders) strengthens his claim that he had no concerns, which is counterintuitive. He had an understanding of the Lenders scheme but had no concerns – this evidence brings into question the Premier’s competence.

COUNSEL: Were you aware of what Mr Lenders was proposing in a general sense?


COUNSEL: And were you aware that it involved electorate officers doing party-political work?

MR ANDREWS: I’m not sure whether it was – well, I was aware that it was about engaging staff to be involved in campaigning. My recollection is that at no point did I have a sense that what was being proposed was not in accordance with the rules or advice from Parliamentary Services. My memory of it is that it was – pooling arrangements have been part of parliamentary parties for quite some time, our party and others. I expect I viewed it in those terms…

CAA- In this exchange, his omissions become more strident. Admitting he was aware of staff being engaged in campaigning. He further aggravates the matter by alleging everybody else is doing it (the schoolyard defence), but no evidence of that was given. Rather than relying on ‘a sense’, it would have been proper to check with the Parliamentary Services.

As damming as this evidence may be, evidence given before IBAC is generally privileged. This means that it cannot be used in a criminal prosecution of the witness except in minimal circumstances. However, the evidence can be used in an external criminal investigation as an intelligence source for further inquiries that may turn up admissible evidence.

Our Integrity bodies have decided that the Premier has not committed a breach to warrant criminal charges or further investigation.

They have argued that rather than criminality, he was just immersed in the artifice, which somehow absolves him of criminal responsibility and accountability.

The same rationale could be applied to Tony Mokbel with his drug empire or the Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMG’s) leaders. However, those leaders are probably only immersed in the illegal activity of the clubs and should not be held to account for their organisation’s criminal endeavours.

No matter the endeavour, the organisation leaders carry the responsibility and accountability for their organisations.

In our view, evidence published by IBAC and the Ombudsman is sufficient to warrant consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Yet no such consultation ever took place. This raises questions about the joint operation’s thoroughness, competence and integrity. It also raises questions about the lawyers within IBAC and the Ombudsman’s Office acting ultra vires (acting beyond ones legal powers) by usurping a role that was not properly theirs – the prosecutorial decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Whether any of those involved should be held to account in a Court of Law is a matter for the DPP. A Court has the role of deciding guilt or innocence, not Integrity bureaucrats.