17th February 2020

In a letter to the School Principals, blatantly designed to undermine the Police Veterans School volunteers. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton sets out a wide raft of mainly reactive claims that allegedly are applied somehow to schools.

The problem is, schools generally know nothing about it. It can only be described as spin.

School principals that have contacted us are either angry or confused because what Ashton claims to be happening, they never see. That is why they had embraced the Police Veterans In Schools Program (PVISP).

The PVISP attraction to Schools is that it is designed to serve their needs and can become integrated into the school community.

Chief Commissioner Ashton, if you had engaged with the CAA as we have continually invited you to do, you would know that;

  • While some veterans have been out for years, many of our Veterans have retired recently.
  • The PVISP is a curriculum-based initiative with well-developed Lesson Plans (Designed by a highly qualified educator); engagement would have allayed any concerns of what was proposed to be taught,
  • With engagement, you would also have known that the PVISP is targeting Year 4 students, and we are yet to find a nine-year-old student that would comprehend the Police policies and practices that you are concerned about.
  • You would also know that the schools we have spoken to have gone to considerable trouble to engage with the Local Police, but at best, receive very inadequate, spasmodic and ad hoc interactions of limited long-term benefit,
  • In short, what you claim to provide doesn’t happen in any meaningful way, but if you had engaged with CAA, you would already know that.
  • Every school has different issues, some ethnic-based and all are behavioural with the common thread of a lack of long term and planned engagement with positive role models, that is measurable, but by engaging with us, you would have that knowledge.
  • You would also know that engaging with nine-year-olds in the year or so before they are first exposed to gangs might just be smart. A better option than chasing around trying to lock them up later. We would suggest the Community may have something to say on this, had you asked.

Above all else, by engaging with the community, you would have discovered that telling schools what they will have, rather than asking them what they need, is a flawed VicPol strategy.

Your Spin Mr Ashton does not square well with reality.

Your letter has also angered the Veteran volunteers who without any pre-determined agenda are prepared to give up their retirement time to help the young people of Victoria

That sort of commitment should be applauded, not undermined and disparaged as your instructions to Station Commanders imply.

Chief Commissioner Ashton, can we respectfully remind you that in four months you will be joining the ranks of the Veterans you now deride.

Perhaps you might consider giving up some of your retirement time to help the youth of our State by joining the PVISP program?