2nd November 2020
The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in many people feeling palpable anger towards the Government, and Victoria Police has copped its fair share as the visual function of the Governments decrees. Some of the criticism of Police is justifiable and regrettable, but, when looking at the facts, perhaps the community should not judge Police so harshly.
The first waves of backlash against Police started with the Back Lives Matter Demonstration response. Predominantly that was the Government offering tacit approval leaving Police in an invidious position.
The establishment of the Quarantine Hotels came next, and it has been well ventilated that the then Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton played a ‘part’, in Police not being used. The depth and acumen of that ‘part’, will be judged by others and is probably central to the Quarantine management issue.
The view of the CAA is that the Police should have been used, at least initially.
The Premier formed a Cabinet Sub-committee of eight to manage the Corvid Hotel Quarantine initiative. That the services of the body trained to deal with all crisis situations, Emergency Management Victoria, was almost wholly ignored was in our view, a grave mistake.
Clearly, many in positions of authority do not understand the difference between the Primary responders and the Disaster management functions. The blurring of the management of this disaster by ad hoc arrangements has a lot to do with the failures.
The response to disasters, if you want the best outcome possible is, leave it to the experts and keep the Politicians out, they have a crucial role to play in Disaster response, but that does not mean running the Disaster Coordination function.
Every part of this disaster response was done, ‘on a wing and a prayer’ by people without any disaster management training or experience. What could possibly go wrong with that approach? Police were left to pick up the pieces.
The function of a Police service, as their charter demands, it to protect the safety of the community and not to do so is an abrogation of their responsibility. The community was rightly angered as it became known that the COVID spike was caused by a failure in the Quarantine security process when using Police could have mitigated the problem.
Police did not design the restrictions that were placed on the community, the Government did, allegedly operating on Medical advice. Even the draconian Curfew was not instigated by Police; albeit that Police were initially blamed for requesting it. A Claim later debunked.
Police were left to enforce draconian restrictions, on the instructions of the Chief Health Officer which Victoria Police were obliged to enforce under the rules of the State of Emergency and the Declaration of a Disaster by the Government.
Penalties to be imposed on those breaching rules were decided and imposed by the Government. The now Chief Commissioner, Shane Patton was personally evaluating fines, and where appropriate exercising discretion, leading by example.
However, there was little room for the exercise of Police discretion in many incidents Police were faced with, and that was totally down to the individual’s behaviour.
With the litany of errors in the management of this disaster, it is understandable that Police were, on occasions, not prepared to use their discretion should they be held responsible for the further spread of this virus. Police were doing their duty, and they should not be derided for so doing.
The Chief Commissioner has said recently, that he is unable to determine how many prosecutions will ultimately occur because the Force is currently evaluating a large number of ‘pleas’, from those who feel they were treated harshly or those who simply cannot afford to pay the fine.
The CAA is proud to stand beside the Victoria Police members who did and continue to do, a magnificent job in exceptional and totally unprecedented circumstances.
Could the police members have done better? Probably. Did they make some mistakes? Yes, and the organisation and members regret that, but when considered overall, it was a top effort by our Victoria Police.
Gee I think you have whitewashed over the Police forces actions against the people of Victoria.
You have failed to mention the on again off again attitude to the right of protest. You have also failed to mention the harsh force used against protesters, who for the most part where socially distancing but where corralled so close together that they were forced into breaking the CHO rule of 1.5 meter distancing, thereby giving the police the justification ( in their eyes ) to proceed with brutal arrests, often times perpetrated on some of our most vulnerable citizens, namely the elderly, who also have the right to peacefully protest.
Nice try, but maybe you should reword you glowing review of VicPol.
If Senior Sergeants of the NSW police force can criticise their own. Then so should a few good Police officers in Victoria, do the same and so should you.
The tacit approval of the BLM rally and lack of Police action was inexcusable.
The participants in that rally knew it was unlawful.
The participants in the rally you refer to also knew that their actions were unlawful. The police did their job as they should have at the BLM rally.
The cause is irrelevant if people break the law there should always be consequences or otherwise, anarchy will prevail.
The right to demonstrate has not been challenged by the Police, only unlawful ones.
Whether they are lawful or not is determined by the government.
The argument that the demonstrators were social distancing is a moot point and did not make the gathering lawful.
If you disagree with the law then target those who made them.
To avoid any repeats obey the law.
So When Dan Andrews says peacefully protesting is a human right. the Chief Commissioner at time finally saying is and then as I described above people peacefully and legally protesting you now say they protested illegally ?
I think you must be thinking of another protest. The protest I refer to was much more recent. Do I really have to reiterate what I have already written to show you the police were in the wrong? They used sneaky tactics ( corralling ) and then made brutal arrests. This action is not right.
Lyle any protest that was held during the COVID State of Disaster was deemed unlawful by the Chef Heath Officer- the legality is not with the intention of the protestors it remains with the Government. If you disagree with Police tactics that is a separate issue to the legality of the demonstration.