GOVERNMENT FAILS 20,000 VEHICLE OWNERS

GOVERNMENT FAILS 20,000 VEHICLE OWNERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Break the Needle 2

Break the Needle 2

Yet another insightful article from Break the Needle.

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

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

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

…CAA comment.

………………………………….

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘That attraction is horrific’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW YOUTH BILL TO WEAKEN YOUTH LAWS.

NEW YOUTH BILL TO WEAKEN YOUTH LAWS.

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

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

A plan that promotes ideology over pragmatism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bill misses the mark by a long way.

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

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

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

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

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

 Nutrition

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

 Technology

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

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

Impact

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

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

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

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

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

 

HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE?

HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE?

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

 

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

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

The government response was reported as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Victoria Police response was,

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

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

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

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

Here are a few suggestions,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ROLE OF COURTS IN CRIME CRISIS

ROLE OF COURTS IN CRIME CRISIS

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

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

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

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

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

Legislating sentencing issues can have unintended consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To these functions, we would add,

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

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

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

ALLAN GOVERNMENT DUMPS PLANS FOR 2ND MELBOURNE INJECTING ROOM

ALLAN GOVERNMENT DUMPS PLANS FOR 2ND MELBOURNE INJECTING ROOM

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

WOULD THE BONDI EVENT BE HANDLED AS EFFICIENTLY IN VICTORIA?

14th of April 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Service Efficiency substantially improved as will, Service Delivery.

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

Providing additional cars is cheaper than additional Police.

This system works very well in Los Angeles.

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

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

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

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

HALLELUJAH! A VOICE FOR THE VICTIMS AT LAST

HALLELUJAH! A VOICE FOR THE VICTIMS AT LAST

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

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

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

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

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

Abolish the committal hearing process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Victorian Law Reform Commission recommends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criminals are scamming the system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sentence for being a Victim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is now a priority.

POLICE ALLEGED BLUNDER RAISES SUSPICIONS

POLICE ALLEGED BLUNDER RAISES SUSPICIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things just seem unfathomable.

DRUG INJECTING ROOM – LIFE SAVER OR DESECRATOR?

DRUG INJECTING ROOM – LIFE SAVER OR DESECRATOR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A white grid with black text Description automatically generated

A graph of death deaths Description automatically generated with medium confidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLICE RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION – Part 2

POLICE RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION – Part 2

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

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

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

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

The critical issues required to achieve this outcome are,

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISSUES

  • COVID Impact on Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Roads Policing

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

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

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

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

Police allege,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where did they materialise from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples of the CAD system as it should be,

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

Contrasted with

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

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

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

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

  • Service Delivery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tactical deficiencies affecting IR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Technological agnosticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • G-Tags

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

Fitted to all vehicles, the G-Tag can,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLICE OPERATIONAL BIAS

POLICE OPERATIONAL BIAS

The breaking down of law and order in Victoria has been evident for some time, but recently, this concept has accelerated to a very worrying level.

The past is only relevant to identify patterns; the future is the worry, as it seems nothing is being done to arrest the decline.

Currently, the situation where demonstrators, seemingly with impunity, do whatever they can to intimidate another sector of the community, instilling gross fear on any part of the community, is unacceptable on so many levels.

Worryingly, is that the intimidation is so vitriolic it is only a ‘hair’s breadth’ away from violence.

The seriousness of the situation cannot be downplayed, and yet the Police, who are responsible for maintaining law and order, seem ineffective through bias.

This is not the Australian way.

The bias by Policing has been developing for some time, and we suggest it has a lot to do with the failure of the principle of the ‘Separation of Powers’[i], a long-held presumption that has been eroded, and the management of public order is where it most obviously manifests.

The failure of this principle, where the decisions and responses to public order are tainted by Political bias, is a two-way street.

The blatant direct involvement of politics in decision-making has become far less obvious, but we are sure it still occurs; what has evolved is a far more insidious, unconscious bias. A will to please political masters or those who support the government without direct interaction.

The Police have no role in allowing partisan views to influence responses but must respond on the basis of maintaining law and order, and that includes protecting vulnerable groups and all citizens; the issues and reasons for disquiet must never influence the operational response.

Some of the disquiet in police ranks that has provoked industrial action recently has been attributed to the Forces’ obvious bias.

This move toward partisanship with the government of the day has been an attempt by Governments to own police powers and have a far greater say in the operations of Policing, a repugnant concept that might seem fine in theory, but, as we have seen, makes Policing ineffective.

The current demonstrations against Israel by pro-Palestinian groups supporting Hamas are a case in point.

The basis of the demonstrations is those allegedly opposed to Israel’s response to the attacks, hostage-taking and murders committed by Hamas. The role of Victoria Police must not be influenced by the reasons for the demonstration but by providing a Police response to maintain Law and order and should be as concerned with protecting the abused Jews as they should be for those who identify as Pro-Palestinian.

The accusation of police bias is a ‘hot button’ issue sure to raise the ire of Police executives. Be that as it may, the matter is immensely serious, and the issue of the breakdown of the ‘Separation of Powers’ and biase must be corrected.

To ignore the issue will be a blight on the capacity of Police Senior management as this issue lies at their feet.

The following list of incidents indicates beyond doubt that bias is at play and must be addressed.

  • Black Lives Matter – passive police response acting as spectators.
  • COVID-19 – aggressive police response including use of firearms on demonstrators – aggressive role extending over numerous occasions for two years, including chasing and dispersing demonstrators using defensive weapons like pepper spray as an attack weapon. Tea bagging protestors to make them breach the COVID rules.
  • Sundry environmental demonstrations – passive police role acting as spectators.
  • Pro-Palestine (Hamas) demonstrations -passive police response acting as spectators.

We do not support unnecessarily aggressive responses but demand the Police apply the law without fear or favour, malice or ill will, absolutely, irrespective of the issue at hand.

Following this principle will rapidly improve and rebuild the image and confidence that the community had in its Police, and the police members will be able to return to the non-partisan positions they once were able to hold in their professional capacity, improving the morale within the organisation so that the workplace again becomes non-partisan.

We acknowledge, however, that the government has a lot to answer for by diluting the Police power to manage these issues by repealing the ‘move on’ Laws.

It has seriously diminished police authority to perform their task.

By removing those powers, the closest analogy is a law to remove the ability of doctors to carry a stethoscope when working in Emergency Rooms (ER).

The Victoria Police can and must do better operationally, free from Government pressure and interference.

[i] In Australia, the power to make and manage laws is shared between the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. The separation of powers avoids any person or group having all the power. https://peo.gov.au/

 

WHEN IS ENOUGH REALLY ENOUGH.

WHEN IS ENOUGH REALLY ENOUGH.

The State of Victoria is in a terrible mess and is deteriorating before our eyes; not a day goes by without more bad news.

We have a rapidly climbing crime rate in the worst categories.

  • A Road Toll is off the Richter scale,
  • Domestic Violence is out of control,
  • Youth crime is at levels never seen before,
  • The burgeoning drug problem ruining lives on an unprecedented scale,
  • Rampant Cybercrime,
  • Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG) and Organised Crime gang strategies failing, all operating with a degree of impunity,
  • A broken legal system, taking years to resolve straightforward cases and with little or no empathy for victims,
  • A biased legal system with serious crimes going unprosecuted based on who the perpetrator is rather than impartiality applied,
  • If you need Police in a hurry, any chance of a response is problematic.

A crisis seems an understatement.

Additionally, the mooted Police industrial action currently confronting the community aggravates the overall perception that this State has an ineffective Police Force, which feeds into accelerating the further decline of the issue being confronted by us all.

The government must do what it takes to resolve this industrial matter quickly.

We do not criticise the Police members, and although we oppose the Police industrial action on principle, there are compelling issues that have caused this current industrial dispute.

Amongst the issues,

  • High levels of staff turnover,
  • Poor recruiting outcomes,
  • The Force being overmanaged – top heavy at the expense of the front line,
  • Unrelenting repetition of certain policing demands without solutions,
  • Police members over-committed to non-core functions, reducing their ability to perform the task of policing,
  • Understaffing of frontline policing,
  • Staff burnout,
  • Lack of support from the Courts and the Government,
  • Unnecessary tasks sapping resources,
  • The breakdown of the ‘Separation of Powers’ politicising Policing.

We should also include management capabilities as that is no doubt a contributor.

We do acknowledge there are pressures on police management due to outside factors. It is hard in an operational sense for management to service all competing demands with insufficient staff who have generally become less motivated by the nature of the irrelevant tasks they are required to perform.

Police are continually attending domestic conflicts at an alarming rate, sapping the majority of Police resources, and whilst there was a Royal Commission into the problem costing many millions, the outcome has not achieved any reduction in the levels of violence or frequency of police demands to attend domestic disputes but rather the issue has exponentially exploded in demands on Police resources.

Causing substantial negativity among Police members, their plight is generally ignored, with more demands on their time with fewer police to do the policing and no appreciable effort to arrest the decline.

These problems did not manifest overnight but are a consequence of factors that should have been dealt with a long time ago.

The issue is complex, but the reality is that the rising crime rates are the consequence of sustained inaction by the state and, in particular, the denigration of effective Proactive Policing that has all but disappeared. Although portrayed as functional, the police proactive strategies have failed to play a fundamental or effective role in policing.

Failure to stop crime before it happens has fed substantially into the current community malaise.

The issue is plain and simple: we are becoming a more lawless society, not a more tolerant one, as pundits try to portray.

An ideological bent towards a more progressive ideal is actually a misnomer. Generally, progressive philosophies create regression, and we all suffer, particularly the most vulnerable in society.

Examples that stand out,

  • Medically Supervised (Safe injecting room) Injecting room,
  • Decriminalising public drunkenness,
  • The Koori parallel judicial system,
  • Abuse of the ‘Separation of Powers’ convention,
  • Weakening of various criminal statutes,
  • The failure to modernise the archaic legal system that is now unfit for purpose.

There is a void in leadership in this State, across a broad spectrum of management, fed by an insatiable appetite to never accept blame for failure. A sentiment throughout Government and also now appearing in the corporate sector.

This all leads to a lack of accountability, the nemesis this State faces.

If you have had enough like us, sign our petition demanding these issues be urgently addressed. https://www.change.org/p/when-is-enough-is-really-enough

Enough signatures and we can demand change.

DEMONSTRATIONS – ARE POLICE BIASED?

DEMONSTRATIONS – ARE POLICE BIASED?

The debate and allegations of police bias in the management of demonstrations have again been raised.

Bias concerns have indeed been more frequent and strident over recent years, and central to the community angst is the reported different responses to different causes.

The unavoidable comparisons of the police response are drawn between pre-COVID, Black Lives Matter (BLM),  COVID Demonstrations, Pro Woman’s Rights and more recently, pro-Palestinian/Hamas demonstrations.

Police acting as spectators to the BLM demonstration, as opposed to Rubber Bullets and O/C Spray against COVID Demonstrators, a scenario VicPol will not be able to move away from for many years, if ever.

Hence, the CAA’s position on water cannons which are at least consistent.

Now, the issue relates to the police response to the pro-Palestine/Hamas anti-Jewish demonstrations.

The first principle of Policing demonstrations is consistency so that an allegation of bias cannot be levelled at the police; irrespective of the cause, people are exercising their right to assembly and free speech.

It is understandable that many in the community have doubts and feel Victoria police show bias, influenced by the subject matter of the demonstrations.

These latest demonstrations could become more problematic and facilitate anarchy by extremists hijacking the demonstrator’s actions from either side of the debate. A lack of Police action toward demonstrators who are breaking the law is a major cause of violence escalating because the behaviour is unchecked.

What has occurred seems to be inconsistency in applying the law as it stands. This inconsistency implies that the police policy moves with the subject matter of the demonstration, hence the allegations of bias.

It was widely reported that a Senior Police spokesperson said, “Protesters could not be stopped from unfurling hateful banners and performing anti-Semitic rallying cries”.

But there are specific laws to deal with these matters.

In Victoria, it is against the law to vilify a person or group of people in public because of their race or religion. Vilification is behaviour that ‘incites or encourages hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule’ for a person or group of people because of their race and/or religion.

It is also against the law to behave in public in a way that is racially offensive or abusive to a person or group of people because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin

. https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/racial-vilification-and-acts-racial-hatred.

It is, therefore, not a question as to whether the perpetrators, and there were many exposed by news services, have committed Vilification in breach of the Law, it is only their individual guilt or innocence that is the question, necessarily determined by a Court, not the bias of individuals within VicPol.

That the crime has been committed is beyond doubt.

Another statement attributed in the media to the Senior Officer was,

“Police are aware of recent chants and banners at these rallies, and while they might be offensive to ‘some’, unfortunately, they do not always constitute a criminal offence.”

So, the police pick and choose the ‘some’.

That is bias and not police exercising discretion, which individual Police have the power to do.

The further claim that Police can only act within the confines of the law” is a truism. However, it implies that the actions we see are within the confines of the law – a highly debatable proposition because, equally, the police have an obligation to enforce the law. There are a number of potential offences that the Police can take action against for those breaching them, which in part supports the politician’s views that police have adequate powers.

Offences regularly committed by demonstrators that are not prosecuted,

Obstruction, Trespass, Unlawful assembly, Anti-mask laws, Offensive behaviour, Besetting, Offences against emergency workers, Violent disorder, Affray or property damage.

https://fls.org.au/law-handbook/rights-activism-and-fair-treatment-at-work/community-activism/common-charges-associated-with-protests/

We accept that at times, for operational expediency, some minor offences should be overlooked (exercising police discretion); however, when demonstrations occur without any arrests and blatant offences are being committed, beamed into our living rooms on the nightly news, the authority of the State and the Police is undermined as is the confidence of the community, something from a policing perspective that is essential for the overall effective policing function.

That some perpetrators are prosecuted post-event is not a disincentive for participants where an arrest during the demonstration is. The lack of arrests can promote an attitude that police are weak and ineffectual, the deterrent effect is lost, and more social unrest is guaranteed.

While weasel words to attempt to justify police inaction and or bias may placate a minority, the vast majority of the community sees through the spin.

Fair, impartial and effective policing without fear or favour is an underlying foundation principle of policing.

VICTORIA POLICE A BASTION OF INTEGRITY – OR IS IT?

VICTORIA POLICE A BASTION OF INTEGRITY – OR IS IT?

16th November 2023

The Victoria Police ‘Prior History Guidelines’ published on their recruiting website https://www.police.vic.gov.au/police-entry-requirements raises considerable doubts about the integrity of the Police in this State.

The guidelines are an exhaustive list of offences that a person can be convicted of and still be recruited. This list will shock many.

Albeit that there are exclusion periods attached to each conviction. It is wrong on so many counts.

Not the least the lack of empathy extended to victims who may be confronted with their perpetrator in Police uniform.

Five or ten years may seem like a long time, but to the victims, their pain can be an eternity.

Simply having an arbitrary exclusion period does not mean that the applicant does not still hold a biased disposition to the values they held when committing the crime.

At best, it only determines that during the exclusion period, they have not been caught, not that they didn’t continue to offend.

The application of this policy, which has been in place prior to the appointment of the current Chief Commissioner, may go some way to explaining the difficulty in securing and retaining staff and the lack of confidence that has evolved in policing generally.

Police were once looked up to as pillars of society; this policy trashes that notion.

It allows people with pre-dispositions, attitudes and values not consistent with the high integrity expected by police to negatively influence the culture of the organisation.

Amongst a raft of offences, it is possible that the police member attending to investigate your issue has been previously convicted of that same offence and could have served jail time for that indiscretion.

Irrespective of time elapsed, that police member will have a disposition that may be counterproductive to good policing and affect their judgement. It would definitely not instil confidence in victims that this possibility exists.

Not too many people would be pleased that a convicted felon is the police member dealing with their issue. The principle of ‘set a thief to catch a thief’, is a principle that is unacceptable by any measure in policing.

An example of offences that applicants to VicPol can be convicted of and still be approved to join the police Force,

‘Theft, deception, criminal damage, serious assault, or other serious offences.

Dishonesty, assault, property damage or any offence against an emergency services worker, trafficking, possession or using illicit or illegal drugs.

Driving in a manner or speed dangerous, DUI, drug-impaired driving including refusing to undergo an assessment or refusing to comply with the requirements of testing,’

Surprisingly, the list also includes Insolvency with a five-year exclusion period. This shows scant knowledge of the realities of business. We have just come through and are still feeling the effects in the corporate sector of the COVID pandemic and now fiscal headwinds with Government policy responsible for many insolvencies, not poor character by directors.

Many businesses face insolvency through no fault of the Directors.

This policy is counterintuitive, discouraging these people, who are generally highly skilled people of very good character, from the Police Force.

Probably the most inane offence is the inclusion of ‘any offence against an emergency services worker.’ What sort of ‘numb nut’ would include the possibility of approving an application of somebody who has been convicted of belting a Police or emergency services worker?

It may be that this list is moot because it will conflict with the new legislation for Spent convictions. A person whose criminal offending has been ‘Spent’ will not be required to disclose the prior conviction in the first place. Unless Victoria police have secured an exemption, it will mean that they will not have to disclose spent prior convictions irrespective of Police policy, which says they must.

The number of people who are accepted into the Force with prior convictions for any crime, let alone serious offences, is irrelevant.

That they can be accepted is the issue that undermines the integrity of all Police and the Force generally, community confidence and the culture of Victoria police.

It is incumbent on the Chief Commissioner to rescind this Policy and require the Government to provide an exception to police on the issue of Spent Convictions.

Integrity is the cornerstone of effective policing, if not it should be.

SEPARATION OF POWERS  – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CORNER

SEPARATION OF POWERS – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CORNER

There can be no argument that Victoria is a standout State in Australia for all the wrong reasons, but why?

In trying to identify why things in this State have deteriorated so dramatically in recent years, it is notable that the Separation of Powers concept has all but disappeared from public discourse.

The CAA is strongly inclined to the view that this State’s decline, with no sign of abatement, all stems from a failure of the principle of the Separation of Powers.

That was clearly and intensely evident during the COVID pandemic, with the Police response seemingly dictated by the Government.

What has evolved is a massive block of Labor’s apparatchiks, achieved through ideological nepotism, throughout the public service and all Government authorities.

It would seem appointments are made not on the ability of the individuals but on their ideological bent. Structured in a way, they are beholding to the greater good, the ideology they all share, not the State citizens they are responsible for serving.

This has allowed the evolution of the ideological mass that has achieved the critical level of avoiding independent thought, the mass that has lost its independence of thought and rolls on engulfing any who get in its way.

Shades of the mythical ‘Blob’.

The power of this mass is frightening, deliberately caused by the Premier and those around him seeking ultimate power and control.

What the architects of this mass have underestimated is that the mass appears to have developed its own ability to grow and engorge the designers who are losing control, hence the more outrageous machinations of parts of the Legal system.

Initially, an attractive proposition for any Government putting people in key positions that have compatible ideological values, rather than competency for their function, which means that every decision is made through an ideological prism rather than a pragmatic reality that good governance requires.

The worst possible thing that can happen to any society is the removal of the safeguards that are the cornerstones of democracy.

The Separation of Powers is not a concept that is front of mind to many. However, its importance cannot be overstated.

Public officers are required to implement the Policies of the Government of the day, but that should not diminish their obligations granted under the various legislative Separation of Powers, bestowed on them to give critical and independent advice, particularly to Government Ministers.

Police are a critical example. A sworn police Officer cannot be directed to charge somebody with an offence if they do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that a Court will convict. Equally, a Court must determine its findings in criminal matters based on the evaluation of the veracity of the evidence, not political ideology.

This concept is repeated throughout the Legal system, and the failsafe, the Separation of Powers, must be protected.

There are very strong indications that the ideological mass has permeated the legal system and, in particular, the senior people appointed to critical decision-making positions.

We have seen many instances where serious charges have been dropped without explanation and where what appear to be obvious serious criminal offences have not been prosecuted, again without explanation.  The community are not privy to the reasons behind this turn of events and are entitled to know.

Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

This begs the question as to why the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerry Judd, is unwilling to keep the public, and, perhaps, more importantly, victims informed.

No better example of the failures was the decisions made by high-level bureaucrats in relation to the non-prosecution of the main alleged architects of the Gobbo fiasco.

An example of where the Separation of Powers, political and State administration, may well have collided, and because of the severe lack of transparency, the public does not know why these decisions have been made.

They may well be quite proper in the exercising of the authority of the bureaucrat but morally reprehensible in practice, allowing those who are of the ideological mindset of the government to avoid proper scrutiny and accountability.

The CAA implores all politicians for a bi-partisan approach to reviewing the application of the Separation of Powers to be undertaken.

It must surely be attractive to all politicians to have the bureaucrats being held to account for their administration rather than the politicians who can focus on Policy.

We are not opposed to amendments to Ministerial Accountability rules to achieve joint responsibility for the functions of the administration from the relevant Minister to the head of the Department with the ability for sanctions to be applied for failures.

Furthermore, it does not serve us well that Departmental heads can hide behind their Ministers, or the lines are so blurred as to the Separation of Powers – the loss of checks and balances will lead to more problems, and, inevitably, corruption.

To be clear, the dilution of the Separation of Powers for Victoria Police was created with the Police Act of 2013. This legislation was introduced by the then minority-conservative government.

There is little doubt that the unintended consequences, as they have manifested, were unlikely to have been anticipated.

A by-partisan examination and review of the Police Act is also essential to remove anomalies that currently exist.

 

 

POLICING BY THE NUMBERS

POLICING BY THE NUMBERS

It is not the number of Police that makes a difference, but how you use them; that is the key.

Victoria Police are allegedly understaffed, which means that radical and surgical work must be undertaken to maintain Law and Order, something the average citizen sees slipping away.

The most common gripe from Police members is the role that they have been forced to play in the Domestic conflict situation. Taking multiple crews off the road for periods often well past the end of their shifts and into overtime.

The priority of Domestic disturbances impact causes every other function to be adversely impacted, and functions assessed on the lower end of the scale of importance can wait many hours for Police to attend, if at all.

Often forgotten in the prioritising regime is people do not contact the Police for no good reason. Whatever the incident, it is important to them. Although administrative assessments of importance occur, the victim has no such luxury.

The biggest casualty is the inability of the Police to provide a highly visible Police presence, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Backed by a Royal Commission, the role of the police in domestic incidents has gone well past their primary function of maintaining the Peace and enforcing the law, to become glorified statistic accumulators, marriage guidance experts, conflict resolution councillors and welfare managers.

Sometimes, even Royal Commissions get it very wrong, as in this case. The Commission’s terms of reference would possibly be where the error lays as the consequences of their recommendations on the broader question of the role of the broad function of Police were unlikely to have been examined and, therefore, not properly considered.

That anomaly must be adjusted.

Unintended consequences of the Commission findings could be the major driver in Police leaving the service and or suffering stress-related illness through work overload.

If not the major driver of police dissatisfaction, it is a significant contributor.

From a policing perspective, attending a Domestic that takes up a high proportion of their daily duties, day in and day out, is something they did not sign on for.

As part of their job, it is their responsibility to prevent any breach of peace and prosecute offenders; they accept that. However, they are not qualified, nor should they be expected to handle the matter beyond that. Their expertise lies elsewhere.

There is a plethora of highly paid public servants in a number of departments supported by a large ‘Domestic industry’ of consultants and clinicians that has been built up around this issue, but their service is restricted to office hours and office environments inconsistent with the realities of parties they are working with, that falls to the Police.

Highly paid Lawyers also feed off the Domestic carcase, but they all have something in common with the confluence of all the ‘Domestic industry’ functions. They only operate by referral and appointments and are rarely, if ever, available to help with intervention while the situation is active.

If half the experts who derive an income from this industry were required to provide a 24-hour response capacity of sufficient numbers to deal with the fallout of half the reported Domestic disturbances in any given shift the impact would be extremely positive, firstly for the warring parties and additionally on the capacity of VicPol to perform its roader function.

There would be no expectation that the Domestic response units be exposed to danger as the scene must first be controlled by the Police, but the early intervention of a response team will achieve better outcomes for the parties to the dispute.

Critically, where children are involved, the response teams can remove them, temporarily out of harm’s way, changing the focus on the warring parties and enabling early effective intervention.

Professional consultations at a sterile office miss a critical component from the equation only achieved by visiting the scene, providing context.

The bonus to all Victorians is to free up Police to perform their broader function.

In this current fiscally stretched environment that the State is facing, it might be very clever to make sure that police are relieved from Domestic situations as soon as possible by the ‘Domestic industry’ players.

As a bonus, this might just see a reduction in the exits from Policing, and Police dealing with the broader Policing function rather than predominantly only one.

A reduction in crime and public disorder would be a just reward applauded by the community.

At no additional cost to the public purse; just a realigning the deck chairs.

 

HOW COULD WE BE SO WRONG

HOW COULD WE BE SO WRONG

The current strategies being developed, and some implemented to deal with two of the social blights of our society, Drug and alcohol abuse, have and continue to fail, causing substantial disquiet, and a danger to the rest of the law-abiding citizenry.

On the one hand, we send people, of yet-to-be-determined capabilities and skills, onto the streets to recover drunks and remove them to somewhere safe to recover (Drunk Tanks) and on the other, we facilitate drug addiction at safe injecting rooms (MSIR) accounting for a comparatively very small number of addicts, but the majority are just left on the streets to rot where they fall. A classic, ‘being seen to be doing something’.

Perhaps misguided compassion at best or an underlying strategy to minimise an adverse impact on the illegal drug trade, we do not know, but something is terribly wrong with the current approach.

High on the list of ‘wrongs’ is picking up drunks.

Whoever these people are performing these tasks, they will be at high risk of personal harm or high risk of litigation if somebody they are dealing with is harmed. Before the project sees the light of day, ‘Work Cover’ may have something to say about risks to their responsibility.

While it may sound benign in theory, the reality is that a large percentage of the ‘Drunks’ are not only suffering from alcohol excesses as they did 40 years ago, but today’s drunks are more likely to have achieved their state with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol – the ultimate party pack.

This cocktail approach increases the likelihood of belligerence, and the risk of outsourcing this Drunk recovery mechanism, is absolutely fraught with danger.

The Drunk Tank concept is, at best unnecessary and, at worst, placating to a small number of vocal groups that are blind to reality (focusing on the individual) rather than focusing on the overall impact on society.

It is very easy to take one aspect, in the case of drunkenness, the risk to the drunk, and ignore the other aspects of this behaviour.

If we are only talking about Drunks that are comatose and a response from them cannot be elicited, then it is a medical issue and a role for an Ambulance. If they are responsive, then the traditional four hours in a Police cell is perfectly adequate. Albeit that the provision of support services immediately when they sober up would be an enlightened improvement.

The other and most important aspect of managing people who are affected by alcohol is the common propensity for them to become belligerent and often very hostile to either people in authority first and foremost, or anybody in the vicinity.

The greatest risk of this behaviour manifesting is in the domestic situation and is surprisingly common. Drunkenness and drugs are a huge problem, not restricted to the public space.

The so-called safe injecting room (MSIR) is a political stunt and is presented as a solution; however, the facility only claims, on disturbingly questionable data, that they believe they have saved 63 lives.

When you add those alleged saved lives to the irrefutable statistics, there has to be a substantial question mark over this spurious claim. Because of the nature of the question, there can never be a definitive answer- so at best, they think/claim they may have saved 63 lives.

However, the real question is, does the injecting facility, the MSIR, actually reduce harm or elevate it?

The statistics from the Coroners Court, which are empirical, conclusively show that since the introduction of the MSIR in 2018, there has been no appreciable reduction in drug overdose deaths. Moreover, the trajectory of the increase in deaths, apart from the hiatus caused by COVID, has not altered but has accelerated.

G-TAG AND THE PRIVACY DEBATE

G-TAG AND THE PRIVACY DEBATE

Autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles are on the horizon. That technology will have the capacity to take control of vehicles away from drivers. Currently in the advanced stage of trials, which seem rather benign; nevertheless, the impact of this technology will be profound.

Touted as a Road safety initiative, the cost is going to be horrendous and will end up being a cost-benefit tragedy. The G-Tag will be a fraction of the cost and a motorist may only need to spend less than $150 to upgrade their current vehicle as opposed to many thousands for autonomous upgrades, if they are at all possible, forcing people to upgrade their vehicles. Their current vehicle will be valued based on recoverable scrap value.

As annoying as that might be, the bigger problem is that an initiative that transmits or receives data creates a risk of being compromised and used for illicit purposes.

As anticipated, the proposal of a G-Tag https://caainc.org.au/the-g-tag-that-can-save-lives/ has faced a mixed reaction. Although supported by most, several people have expressed unease about the privacy aspect of the proposal, ironically a view we share.

We are cognisant that the development of this initiative will take some work, not only the development of the program’s infrastructure but also the management of the Privacy issue.

The key to privacy issues is to restrict the use of data to strictly defined purposes.

The G-Tag takes on a new priority of late, given the alleged staffing issues of Victoria Police. Using Police resources more efficiently becomes a very high priority.

Technology can reduce risks to Police as well as increase efficiency.

People being better informed will see the advantages of a properly managed G-Tag system far outweigh the risks.

To bring perspective to the privacy issue, we must look back to 1981 when Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the first international meeting of this type in Australia.

Initially, over twenty (20) CCTV cameras were installed and monitored by the Police; terrorism was a very real threat at that time.

After the event, and based on the issue of privacy, all but five (5) cameras were removed, and the control of the cameras was moved from the Police to Melbourne City Council to appease objections.

Currently, there are well over twelve (12) thousand in the City of Melbourne, and that is not counting cameras privately commercially operated. These cameras generally operate with no accountability for what is done with the data collected. Is this a matter of ignorance or something else entirely?

https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

As with CCTV Cameras, the operation of the G-Tag has no adverse effect on privacy per se; the raw data is benign, the issue is how the data accumulated is used.

The G-Tag does not take pictures but is designed to locate and monitor target vehicles. Showing their location on maps gives the direction of travel and previous travel for a predetermined period.  Police would have the capacity to shut the vehicle down if it posed a threat to the community.

Logically, stolen vehicles could be located when they were reported, increasing the chances of recovering the vehicle immediately and perhaps catching the perpetrator.

Using this system to protect the community from random attacks using vehicles could be minimised.

The very recent murder of criminal heavyweight Gavin ‘Capable’ Preston as he sat having breakfast involved no less than three cars used by the assailants and possibly more.  At least two of them were reported to Police prior to the hit.
A G-Tag system operating on a relevant algorithm could have identified a pattern, of stolen car locations and given police a heads-up, something was happening.
Additionally, the perpetrators would have an uncomfortable shock returning to their planned getaway car to find it is immobilised.
We should be very concerned over this killing as the chances of a criminal War is very real, it was only good luck that an innocent patron of the café was not killed or maimed.

To protect privacy, every vehicle that is tagged or prompts a response, irrespective of the nature of the vehicle’s behaviour, must be recorded with the justification included for any future reference.

The use of cameras and other monitoring tools has become widespread, albeit with minimal impact on privacy. It is essential to establish strict regulations around data management to mitigate any negative consequences and promote transparency. This will instil trust among the public that the system is acting in its best interest, will not cause harm, and is accountable for its actions.

The real harm of these technologies is not the action of collecting data so much, but how that data is used and how it is stored and retrieved. Essentially, encryption of the data will protect it from Hackers and misuse or other unauthorised access for nefarious reasons.

Cameras have come a long way and are a part of life. https://www.theage.com.au/national/every-step-you-take-20050726-ge0kta.html

But cameras are not the only intrusion that we have accepted.

Anybody who,

  • Owns a computer.
  • Shops at a Supermarket.
  • A car
    • Owns, leases or hires.
    • Uses freeways, tollways or major highways.
    • Parks in a major shopping mall.
    • Uses a commercial car park.
    • Insures or registers a car.
  • Uses a card, either loyalty, credit, or other card functions.
  • Has a bank account.
  • Uses medical services.
    • Has Private Health Insurance
    • Has Medicare
    • Any social service interaction.
    • Employment
      • Union Membership.
      • Payee Taxation
    • Has a passport
    • Travels on public transport
    • Any interaction with the Tax Office
    • Interacts with Local Governments
    • Uses services utilities.
    • Attends any educational institutions.
    • Plays sport.
    • Belongs to any social or sporting club.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it shows that just living in a modern society comes with some privacy baggage.

What is important to realise is that, by and large, most of the data collected is benign, and it is largely unregulated, but the collection of this data is not the issue; it is the use of the data that is where things can come undone.

In the design and development of the G-Tag system, as much care must be applied to protecting privacy as goes into designing the operations.

The G-Tag is capable of monitoring any vehicle on our roads, and that is what causes some angst, but your individual privacy is assured by the following safeguards.

  • There are over five million vehicles in Victoria, so the best system could only track targeted vehicles, so the average motorist has nothing to fear.
  • Vehicle tracking must have an expiry date, and the tracking justification must be retained securely.
  • The unauthorised release of data collected by the system needs to be a criminal offence.
  • A vehicle driver, either a missing person or an overdue traveller, would, in many cases, use the G-Tag system. Police can safely intercept them to check their welfare. It would be up to the driver whether their details are passed to those who made the original report. This will avoid obvious misuse of the system.
  • Only sworn Police can operate the system or access data. (Police are the most accountable and suitable for the task).
  • All data must be encrypted to avoid hacking.
  • An independent Board including Police executives, Government representatives and an equal number of non-aligned members of the public to provide a monitoring and evaluation function.

If, however, you own or drive a car that is ten years old or younger, the chances are that you are already being monitored by the manufacturer, and the Limp Home Mode function or the capacity to shut a vehicle down already exists in vast numbers of the Victorian fleet.

The question posed is, would you rather be covered by a transparent authorised function in Victoria or the unregulated actions of overseas manufacturers and perhaps dealerships?

Today, most transport fleet operators, hire car firms, and many Government departments and authorities install tracking devices in their vehicles, often unbeknown to the driver.

Although, that data is managed in Australia, how do you feel about using a car that transmits unregulated data to another country? Probably not an issue with friendly countries, but what of the countries that are not?

It raises concerns for national security that a foreign power could potentially track and shut down large portions of the vehicle fleet or individually targeted vehicles in the country as an act of aggression or terrorism.

With all the risks we are exposed to, the G-Tag proposal is somewhat innocuous.

VIOLENCE ON THE STREETS OF MELBOURNE: WE NEED A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY

VIOLENCE ON THE STREETS OF MELBOURNE: WE NEED A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY

If you speak to former senior police officers, they will tell you they fear an outbreak similar to the drug wars of Mokbel, Williams and others in the 1990s and the bike gang wars in the 2000s.

The murder last week of a former bikie and convicted killer, in one of Melbourne’s most prestigious and famous suburbs barely 3 km from the heart of Melbourne’s CBD is an ominous sign.

What leads someone to flagrantly walk up in a well-lit area (albeit late at night,but maybe not for the nightclub scene) and brazenly shoot a person who is walking with another in what is a busy part of Melbourne?

Put aside the personal animosity and/or financial motives that encourage this type of brazen behaviour, it is a total disrespect of our laws that concerns us most. This disrespect has been brought about by very poor government policy at both the state and council levels. We have at all levels of government a soft-on-crime policy that simply encourages people to disrespect the law, the police, and worse, their fellow members of society.

And it is not just one bad policy decision but a combination of many that drives this behaviour. If you are shown that there are little or no consequences for breaching the law, then many bad actors will breach the law.

We now have this on a scale I have never seen before, and the last straw has been the Spent Convictions Act.

This is perhaps the craziest piece of legislation I have ever come across. Sure, spent convictions for minor offences, especially when committed whilst young, is good policy. But to allow a person convicted of a serious offence, violence, robbery/home invasion or fraud to apply for their convictions to be spent secretly is bad policy.

The hearings (if at all as a magistrate can act without a hearing) are private and only the Attorney General, Police Commissioner, and the convicted felon appear. But what is crazy is that not only does a victim of a crime have no say but it is a crime for that victim ever to mention the conviction.

So, a person who was beaten up by their husband has to endure that person living next door to them when they are released from jail and cannot say to anyone (without committing an offence) that they are petrified of living in the same street. They cannot even disclose their fears to a treating medical practitioner. Ditto for a sex offender. Whilst working for children, disclosures are allowed under the legislation; as we have seen recently in Queensland, sex offenders will game the system. And if you are a victim, you can say nothing!

Any criminal can apply to have their conviction spent (provided they spent no more than 5 years in jail.). Why worry about being caught if you can get your conviction spent. The policy is bad for public safety, accountability and recidivism prevention. It disregards victims’ rights and justice and will be exploited by criminals.

Then let us turn to raising the age of criminal responsibility. Initially it is being raised from 10 to 12 and then in 2027 to 14. We have all seen in the USA that children are capable of committing horrendous crimes through accessing firearms. We see the same here with knives and blunt objects. Worse, this simply encourages adults to use children (just under 14) to be criminal mules. They will invade homes, break into cars, sell drugs and set upon rival gang members with no fear of facing the criminal justice system. All to assist their adult controllers.

We have also had the crime of public drunkenness removed. This was a tool used by police to ensure public safety, including the safety of the drunken person. It was used sensibly. It got what could turn into an ugly situation into a controllable situation, often with the intoxicated person going into a lockup for a few hours and then being released.

We cannot have our streets full of drunken persons, young persons encouraged to commit crimes because of no recourse nor homeless, drug dealers and petty criminals. But this is happening. We can see it every day as you walk through the streets of Melbourne. And those charged with keeping our streets safe are losing the tools to do so.

I finish with the “safe injecting rooms”. This is council and state government policy that has ruined parts of Richmond and will do so in the CBD. It will encourage dealers, street prostitutes and all sorts of criminals to fill our streets. It will discourage people from visiting the CBD and be a disaster for local businesses.

Bad policy delivers bad results. Rather than being soft on crime as our politicians have shown to be, we should have zero tolerance for crime.

REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY – A DISGRACE

REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY – A DISGRACE

29th July 2023

In 2018, the full High Court found  – “Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [Gobbo] to do as she did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer”.

Of course, they could not do that on their own and needed the support or involvement of Officers of the Court – Lawyers.

The Herald Sun July 27, 2023, pp1, 6-7, refers to a number of Justice figures demanding a review of the decision not to pursue charges in the Lawyer X case and notes that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, had represented former Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, in legal proceeding raising concerns about a serious conflict of interest. The calls for a review of the decision are supported by Senior legal officials, including a former Vice President of the Victorian Bar Council.

It should be noted that former High Court Judge, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, has expressed serious concerns about the decision of Judd not to bring prosecutions.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc., (CAA), since January 2020, has published several articles on our website relating to the Lawyer X scandal, highly critical of the conduct of Gobbo and senior police involved in this fiasco and calling for those responsible to be held to account.  We are in total support of the calls for an independent assessment of the evidence, and if that assessment supports the laying of charges against police or anyone else, demand that this be done expeditiously.

Only then can we, the public, be confident that justice is not only done but seen to be done.

The current status puts perpetrators above the law.

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Extracts from our articles are set out below with links to full articles.

YOUR MOVE PREMIER -LAWYER X

CAA | Jun 25, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/your-move-premier-lawyer-x/

When Law enforcement becomes law-breaking, there must be accountabilities. The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History…

LAWYER X FAILURE TO PROSECUTEAN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

CAA | Jun 22, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-failure-to-prosecute-an-absolute-disgrace/

Once again, we see the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) refusing to act on clear and compelling evidence of the commission of criminal offences.

When the Special Investigator, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy, recommends prosecutions, one could reasonably think that the evidence of the commission of criminal offences must be clear and compelling…

LAWYER-X ACCUSED MUST FACE COURT

June 23, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-accused-must-face-court/

The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History. How can it be that nobody is going to be held accountable?

LAWYER X – IT’S NOT JUST THE COPS

CAA | Dec 6, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-its-not-just-the-cops/

From the outset, it must be made clear that the CAA does not support the use of lawyer Gobbo by the Victoria Police in the way it was done; it was unlawful, and Gobbo and the executive Police responsible must be held to account before the Law…

LAWYER X – THE AFTERMATH

CAA | Sep 2, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-the-aftermath/

Nobel cause corruption’ (the ends justify the means) is as unlawful as the normal interpretation of corruption. It diminishes the role of the Police in our society, as has the behaviours of the Police executive who promoted and or failed to manage the Lawyer X calamity and whose leadership was lacking throughout…

MANAGING POLICE INFORMERS LIKE GOBBO & ALLEN

CAA | Feb 9, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/managing-police-informers-like-gobbo-allen/

Failing to recognise a loss of objectivity is evident in the Gobbo matter and a damming indictment of the police executives’ lack of competence. The buck, however, stops with the Chief Commissioner and in this protracted affair, no less than four Chief Commissioners failed to resolve or wheel in this train wreck, and each of them took the same Oath to the other Police involved…

THE GOBBO SHOW ROLLS ON…

CAA | Jan 4, 2020,  https://caainc.org.au/the-gobo-show-rolls-on/

Many Victorians were sceptical of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants. As the process started, most public sentiment towards the Royal Commission was, it is a waste of time because even if the Police tactics were not kosher with lawyers, the end justified the means.

After all, we are not talking about the pillars of society, but murderers and drug lords being locked up, and that is a good thing, isn’t it?

As many Victorians have watched the evolution of this Commission, attitudes are changing…

****

The community is quickly realising that the old adage, ‘whether you are a prince or pauper, saint or sinner’, we are, and should all be, equal before the Law. Although in Victoria, depending on who you are, that principle is corrupted.

Culpability must also extend to those executives that conspired to cover up the actions of this artifice, whether by use of the legal system or otherwise, that only served to extend and exacerbate the original reprehensible behaviour. In many ways, their behaviour is more reprehensible than the original architects.

They all must have known what was going on. It is fanciful to suggest that authorising or orchestrating a cover-up without knowing what you are covering up beggar’s belief.

It is also bordering on fanciful that lawyers, particularly those who conspired with Victoria Police to hide the Gobbo matters using the Courts, didn’t know what was going on. Remember that lawyers are Officers of the Court, and with that goes obligations that some may well have breached.

Equally, there are no doubt senior Police Officers, many still serving, who were totally cognisant of what was happening and the criminal and moral culpability but chose to support or take no action against the perpetrators and are therefore equally complicit.

The Police’s disgraceful and conscious dismissal of their principles in their oath of office brings great shame on them and all Victoria Police, serving, and who have served – something they will have to live with forever.

The only way to deal with this matter is to purge the culprits and give genuine Police, Lawyers and the community some reason to have confidence in the Legal system by removing this dark shadow.

We can only hope and encourage that the day of reckoning is sooner rather than later.