30th July 2019
What a challenge for police in Victoria and Law enforcement in general, with the revelations at the Lawyer X Royal Commission. Although there is a long way to go and many more revelations to be aired, we can already draw some conclusions.
The impact on the Victoria Police will be severe and leave a scar that will hang around for decades, as did the Kaye Abortion Inquiry in 1971.
A positive of the Kaye inquiry is that it heralded decades of stable, effective Policing management with Chief Commissioners the ilk of Jackson, Miller and Glare.
Whether it was the Kaye Abortion Inquiry in Victoria, the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in Queensland or the Wood Commission into corruption in NSW, we should be cognisant of those inquires as they all had similarities in their outcomes.
Each of these inquiries resulted in four individuals charged, and the majority of those charged doing substantial jail time. One possible variation with this Commission is that several former Police executives may also be held to account and risk jail time.
The very long list of Police members and others who came under scrutiny in the historical inquiries saw their career prospects evaporate and most resigned or retired prematurely, many to protect their superannuation. Whether this Commission has a similar outcome remains to be seen.
Many current and contemporary former Police are in denial. The mantra that.’ The end justifies the means ‘, ’ they were just crooks anyway’, ‘ the greater good was being served’,’ acting in good faith’ do not survive scrutiny, the tenet of law was being abused.
The denial by contemporary police is understandable to a degree, but Police and former Police are going to have to come to grips with the realities of this Commission
The line has been crossed by those that led the organisation into this morass. When Police ignore the law, irrespective of their excuse, there are often undesirable and illegal consequences.
Police becoming the Law, rather than just enforcing it, if not checked, will lead to a Police State. A police state run by a small number of elites or a clique is a perilous proposition.
It was not only the crooks that were informed on, but also Police, and on the periphery of the Lawyer X matter are examples of absolute abuse of power when investigating Police. If you were on the wrong side of the clique lookout. There are a great many former members who can attest to that and remain silent because of confidentiality agreements, a legal tool exploited to cover up corporate misdeeds.
The Lawyer X Scandal eats at the heart of the system that police officers have sworn to uphold, but it was wrong on so many levels, it had to unravel, it is just surprising it took so long.
It took many millions of State dollars to wage a legal war that was destined to fail from the outset. If VicPol had addressed the problem years ago rather than try to suppress it, the savings to the public purse would have been astronomical and the damage to the reputation to VicPol minimised and the Royal Commission not required.
An extra thousand police instead of making lawyers rich would have been a more desirable outcome in the interest of the community and operational Police know exactly where to place the blame for resource deficiencies.
What sets this Royal Commission apart from the other inquiries is the role of legal practitioners. A positive of sorts for any Police doing Jail time, they will have access to legal advice, potentially in the next cell.
There is no knowing how widespread this practise of using Lawyers as informers against Police and crooks has spread. That is a matter for the Commission, but has put every member who needs legal representation at risk, who can they trust?. It was a very slippery slope embarked on with Lawyer X.
As in the past, it will be a comparatively few individuals, probably less than one per cent, who were blatantly incompetent, stupid, dishonest, criminal, or all four, and an even smaller number ultimately held to account, but for every one of these individuals there are tenfold dedicated police who are not morally or otherwise corrupt that will, ’uphold the right’.
We must support and let the Royal Commission do its job and weed out the malcontent incompetents and rid us of them.
At a time fast approaching, as with all the other police inquiries, there will be a tipping point where the reality of the prospect of Jail will loom large for many, and they will seek to cut a deal about their involvement.
The phrase, ’ every man for himself’, will soon be the norm and it is going to get ugly. Whatever you do make sure you are not in the doorway as the stampede out begins.
Hold on, it is going to be a rough ride.