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

50,000 eyes = ‘Road Watch’.

50,000 eyes = ‘Road Watch’.

Very interesting statistics reveal that drivers in this State are being watched by over 50,000-eyes by concerned citizens who are prepared to report bad driving behaviour to the police through 000.

The problem is the bad drivers don’t know it.

Unfortunately, there is a disproportionate response from VicPol to these community efforts, with only .09% of calls acted on, or only 45 calls in 12 months.

Of those 45 calls, several very serious offences were disclosed, and drivers were charged.

Whether data is collected incorrectly, the Police switch off these reports due to other priorities, or they are not explicitly allocated the task (accountability), so no one does anything. These are management matters that VicPol needs to address.

These figures are shocking and, if true, are an indictment of VicPol’s priority for road safety. We accept that the number responded to will always be limited as the caller is vague or similar, but not 99%.

Anything less than a 50% response would not be acceptable and raise serious concerns, but .09% is very serious.

We accept that many reported incidents are written off as ‘No Offence disclosed’ (NOD) or ‘Gone on Arrival’ (GOA), but not 99% without investigating the over 50,000 reported incidents. This is outrageous if anywhere near accurate.

This negative must be turned into a positive, hence ‘Road Watch’.

A ‘Road Watch’ community Police initiative will enable drivers who are perceived to be dangerous to be targeted.

Irresponsible drivers will be unaware of the number of other drivers watching them, and the old driver’s habit of watching the rearview mirror for police has long waned, simply due to the inability of the police to maintain a high profile on our roads.

There is a high probability that this effect is directly proportionate to the lack of police activity on our roads and the increased reliance on technology.

Whether the lack of Police on our roads is due to a capability issue, lack of resources or how the resources are used, VicPol must wrestle with these things. Nevertheless, the roads would be safer if all drivers knew their bad driving could be reported to the police.

The promotion of this initiative will warn drivers that they will not only have to look out for police, but there are 50,000 eyes in the community watching them and potentially reporting their behaviour behind the wheel, but they will not know which other vehicle on the road is a ‘Road Watch’ participant.

We are consistently told Police presence on the roads, particularly the highways, is very poor. With community help, bad driver behaviour can be influenced throughout the State, augmenting the lack of Police resources.

Significant flaws in the current process relating to failed service delivery need to be addressed urgently.

  • All calls must be allocated to an operational unit member; albeit the traditional overarching ‘Keep a look out for’ may be appropriate, the job still needs to be assigned and investigated. Keeping a lookout cannot be measured as an outcome.
  • The responsible member must contact the person making the report as soon as possible to enable the matter to be investigated. (Information from members of the public may not have been effectively passed via police comms.)
  • The outcome must be logged for management functions.
  • All data collected must be automatically cross-referenced to all reports to identify any driver patterns requiring attention.
  • All calls from the public about bad driving must be given a much higher priority and, with that, ensure greater accountability.

Moreover, how is it known whether the complainant has additional information, perhaps Dash-cam footage, that may help identify a driver if they are not contacted after their report? All these matters must be investigated.

This is all part of the Service Delivery Matrix, or should be.

The effectiveness of any Police Force is directly and intrinsically linked to the level of information from the public. Without public support, the Police become ineffective.

Public information and support regarding road users is critical.

The failure of the Police to contact all citizens motivated to contact the Police on 000 about bad drivers with an outcome for their efforts and to thank them for their diligence is inexcusable given its importance.

Not communicating with callers is counterproductive to fostering further help from the community and developing better and more productive Police Community interactions.

Informing all drivers that they are being watched will lead to better compliance.

‘Road Watch’

The CAA makes the following recommendations.

  • VicPol must respect the community’s efforts by elevating responses to callers to a higher priority.
  • All callers be advised to expect a phone call from the attending police.
  • All calls where a driver or vehicle is identified must be automatically cross-checked to other databases, enabling Police to take action against recidivist perpetrators.
  • VicPol immediately review the information gathered on 000 calls to provide accurate data.
  • All calls about bad drivers must be specifically allocated to members to investigate.
  • Members allocated calls must contact the complainants to
    • Discuss the incident for investigative reasons and
    • Thank the caller for their interest.
  • For management efficiency, the priority of all 000 ‘Road Watch’ calls must be allocated to a Highway Patrol unit, the Force traffic experts to investigate the issues.
  • Develop a high-profile Road safety campaign highlighting ‘Road Watch’ and the 50,000 eyes watching and reporting bad road users.

This last recommendation will inevitably motivate more community members to participate, which is a good outcome for reducing the frequency of impaired driving and promoting more respect for Police from the community.

The Road Toll can be directly attributed to impaired driving, so targeting this area is logical and sensible. With community support, a reduction in the toll is achievable.

Even if the outcome of an identified driver does not disclose an offence, a knock on the door from police to advise (rather than accuse) that their driving is inappropriate and was reported by other road users will suffice to correct many imperfect drivers.

It makes sense that Police efforts to reduce the road toll are targeted at bad drivers, who are inevitably the primary cause of the raging Road Toll.

‘Road Watch’ -50,000-eyes can be an effective weapon.

To all readers of CAA articles.

To all readers of CAA articles.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) regularly publishes articles on our website on a variety of issues we see as important and in the public interest.

Comments from readers of our material help us judge whether we are on the right track.

We ask for and encourage you, the readers, to provide us with feedback that is essential to our endeavours.  In this way we can direct our efforts to matters that concern you most.

If you care to donate to the CAA, whatever the magnitude, the means of so doing is on our website.  The stronger our finances, the greater our reach and influence.

No members of the CAA hold paid positions.

POLICE PRIDE MARCH A VALUABLE LESSON.

POLICE PRIDE MARCH A VALUABLE LESSON.

To see police involved in a fracas  at the recent Pride march is deplorable. This outcome was inevitable, and police should never have put themselves in this position.

Irrespective of who was the instigator of the melee, the Police, instead of performing the police function to solve a social problem, were part of it.

The seeds for this outcome were sown some twenty years ago when the Police moved from policing the event to being part of it.

The CAA logo features Lady Justice, who is depicted as blindfolded, showing Justice is blind.

The meaning is profound and forms the basis of our Justice system, which includes the Police.

Police must never become part of the issue and remain independent to exercise their powers in a dispassionate way, not showing favouritism or bias to the problems they are policing.

Being part of this march destroys impartiality and undermines the fundamental role of the Police.

We also noticed Police uniforms adorned in trinkets supporting the pride genera. These displays, supporting a particular cause, would be irreverent to many and detract from the impartiality that Police should project and preserve.

These displays must not be worn on uniforms or, for that matter, any clothing while a police member is on duty. It is a matter of professional pride.

It also could be argued that this police activity is in breach of their Oath of Office.

…that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign as a police officer in Victoria in any capacity in which I may be appointed, promoted, or reduced to, without favour or affection, malice or ill-will for the period of [ insert period ] from this date, and until I am legally discharged, that I will see and cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and that I will prevent to the best of my power all offences, and that while I continue to be a police officer I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties legally imposed on me faithfully and according to law.

This issue has nothing to do with the personal preferences exercised by any member of the Force in their private lives. That is their business, and if they want to march, they have every right to participate, just not in uniform.

In many ways, this clash was inevitable.

According to reports, there has been anti-police sentiment for a long time, and leadership should have been taken to avoid the inevitable confrontation.

In this event, participants dress up gregariously, as is their right; however, by high-level participation by the Police, they are relegating the uniform to fancy dress.

There are always huge risks when police favour one particular group, and we are confident that the Police Command would not tolerate uniformed Police marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, anti-COVID, Union movement, anti-government, environmental or the myriad of other special interest groups.

The test may again come as those who support Palestine become more vociferously anti-Israel as that war drags on.

Police, like all Australians, are entitled to exercise their right to lawful assembly, just not in uniform.

We encourage Victoria Police, in the interest of fair justice for all, to issue a direction that police on or off duty cannot participate in any demonstrations or cause in uniform.

Demonstrating a bias for or against any particular interest group is counterintuitive to effective policing.

CALL TO ACTION – YOUTH CRIME

CALL TO ACTION – YOUTH CRIME

30th Jan 2024

Youth crime is out of control in Victoria. What is the Government and the Courts doing to curb the current crime pandemic?  Absolutely nothing.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) warned of this almost nine years ago.  Sadly, our warning was ignored.

People in Victoria do not feel safe from youth gangs and young, aggressive, violent, offenders. Violent home invasions, carjackings and theft of cars in endemic and serious assaults, often involving knives, have become commonplace.

How can this blight on society be curbed?

Firstly, the idiocy of raising the age of criminality to fourteen must be abandoned. It is ideology overriding common sense.

Secondly, the Judiciary must adopt a more realistic regime on penalising youth criminal behaviour.  Repeatedly bailing young offenders without imposing strict, enforced conditions is lunacy.  Curfews and electronic tracking must be immediately introduced. Prohibiting contact with co-accused is also necessary to break the cycle of peer pressure.  Home detention instead of jail is a viable option with an exception to allow attendance at school which must be mandatory.

Thirdly, a proactive regime of crime prevention is required.  Making arrests is reactive not proactive.

Victoria Police, as part of its mandate, is required to fight, reduce and prevent crime.

In 1989 Victoria Police introduced a Police in Schools (PISP) Program.

This program was delivered by police trained for the purpose.

PISP – The aims of the program were:

  • to reduce the incidence of crime in society;
  • to develop a better relationship between police and youth in the community;
  • to create in young people an understanding of the police role in the structure of society;
  • to extend the concept of the crime prevention into the Victorian school system;
  • to equip young people with the necessary skills to avoid dangerous and threatening situations.

Along with these specific aims, behavioural objectives were set, and after participation in the program, young people were able to:

  • demonstrate the values, responsibilities and obligations current society deems valuable;
  • state the consequences of a person’s actions regarding unlawful behaviour;
  • demonstrate sufficient self-esteem and skill to avoid or reduce and delay the uptake of illicit drugs and resist engaging in anti-social behaviour;
  • engage in positive interactions and consultation with police members:
  • state the basic role of police and the legal system in Victoria.

In order to achieve the above aims and objectives, the program delivered a core structure of seven themes, namely:

  • the role of police in society;
  • the legal system;
  • rights, rules and responsibilities;
  • consequences of our actions;
  • keeping ourselves and others safe;
  • drug and alcohol education;
  • personal development.

In a reintroduced PISP there should be three further themes added:

  • anti-bullying strategies;
  • domestic violence avoidance;
  • road traffic safety;

All of these ten themes would closely interlink with the school curriculum thus enhancing the relevance of the program to the school community and the learning of the young people concerned.

Students, following their participation in the PISP, were able to:

  • demonstrate the values, responsibilities and obligations current society deems valuable;
  • state the consequences of a person’s actions regarding unlawful behaviour;
  • demonstrate sufficient self-esteem and skill to say no to drug abuse and other antisocial behaviour;
  • engage in positive interactions and consultation with police members;
  • state the basic role of police and the legal system in Victoria;
  • develop a better understanding between police and youth in society;
  • gain an understanding of the police role in the structure of society;
  • be equipped with the necessary skills to avoid dangerous and threatening situations.

The PISP was a resounding success as confirmed by an academic review conducted by Monash University, the results released in 2004.

Where the PISP operated there was a sharp reduction in graffiti, other acts of vandalism, petty crime and anti-social behaviour.  Violent home invasions, carjacking and serious assaults were unknown or very rare.

Many teachers reported that those in their charge were more respectful of them, each other, and were better behaved in class and easier to teach.  Many teachers also reported that they felt safer in the school environment.

Curbing disruptive behaviour in classes also ensured the education of students wanting to learn was not interfered with.  This was and is an important consideration.  The current youth lawlessness also contributes to the drop in literacy standards in our education system, as this lawlessness inevitably seeps into schools.

In 2006 the then Chief Commissioner, Nixon, in an act of proactive policing vandalism, abolished the program after an internal review reported the program was producing excellent results but was poorly managed.

The CAA demands the Government immediately address the youth crime issues by:

  • Abandoning the move to raise the age of criminality.
  • Requiring the Judiciary to adopt a more realistic regime on penalising youth criminal behaviour.
  • Requiring the Victoria Police to reintroduce a PISP and properly resource this Program.

If no action is taken, it will be inevitable police will have to be stationed in schools to maintain law and order, enabling schools to function.  A reintroduced PISP is by far the better option as part of the education process.

We, the citizens of Victoria, have had enough of juvenile crime.

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST A BETTER WAY.

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST A BETTER WAY.

The drug issue in Canada has become so bad the headline’ Canada is Dying’ has resonance. As they desperately try to save their Country, we need to learn and act before the Canadian experience is repeated here.

The CAA has been trying to convince those who make decisions on the drug issue their directions are wrong with little success. As frustrating as this may be, sometimes you are exposed to the effort of others, which reinvigorates. Their experiences and successes confirm that we are on the right path, and the popular theory of ‘Harm Minimisation’, or more accurately, the ‘Drug Facilitation’ strategy, is badly flawed, having been hijacked by the pro-drug lobby.

The ‘Harm Minimisation’ pro-drug lobby will loudly and forcefully defend the strategy, and they have led governments both here and overseas in this failed direction, with many jurisdictions trying to walk back from this concept as the drug issue grows beyond control and the death toll and the suffering of addicts escalates at an alarming rate. Not to mention community harm, which grows expediently with the explosion of addicts.

This heightened problem with drugs is directly attributable to this misused ‘Harm Minimisation’ strategy, with its centrepiece being Drug Injecting Rooms.

Bringing about a change to the three pillars strategy, Education/prevention, Law enforcement and Treatment, is not going to be easy because the Pro Drug lobby is well organised and viciously vocal.

The illicit drug industry is the only beneficiary of the continuing strategy of ‘Harm Minimisation as it is currently applied. How facilitating drug use in Injecting Rooms is ‘Harm Minimisation’ is a mystery.

There are possibly those who are genuinely convinced that the Drug rooms and the ‘Harm Minimisation’ strategy are in the best interests of addicts, but the false benefits of this approach have skewed their views.

Every time you are exposed to the screeching of proponents of ‘Harm Minimisation’ attempting to lay collective guilt on the community, those proponents are delivering the pro-drug strategies of dark forces.

There is only one way to address the problem we face: dump the current failed approach and embrace the ‘Three Pillars’ strategy, which will save lives.

We have previously looked to Canada to see the effects of the various strategies, how they evolve to deal with the market variables, and, importantly, what we can expect looking forward.

The Drug lords and Organised Crime cartel’s insatiable appetite for rivers of gold will be motivation enough as new combinations of drugs are more profitable, easier to manufacture and harder to detect.

Given the loud advocacy for the status quo, the pall of suspicion hangs over many of those pushing the failed strategy. We wonder whether the rivers of gold enjoyed by the drug Tsars have tributaries finding their way into the pockets of ‘Harm Minimisation advocates’.

Canada is currently dealing with a significant influx of Fentanyl. Combined with other drugs, like Ketamine, it can also cause other serious physical impairments, afflicting users with terrible infections, abscesses, strokes or paralysis, the horrific effects of which can sometimes require amputation and can lead to an excruciating death, hence its nickname: the zombie drug.

More than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid overdoses since 2016. The root of this crisis lies in the proliferation of the manufactured opioid fentanyl, the culprit in more than 85 per cent of these deaths.

Fentanyl is far more powerful than many older and more familiar opioids; it is 40 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Beyond its addictive properties, fentanyl is cheap to manufacture, very hard to detect, and twice as addictive as other drugs.

A long overdue examination of whether the palatably named ‘Harm Reduction’ has morphed into its nemesis see the latest findings of Injecting Rooms efficacy. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ucp-supervised-consumption-site-review-committee-announcement-findings-1.5486579

Canadian British Columbia province Alberta has seven consumption sites, and the Government is trying to bring the three pillars into balance as the consumption sites are drug facilitation facilities without any attempt to rehabilitate or divert users. They now tend to accept that the sites are responsible for the broader use of drugs and justify their existence by questionable statistics, something that has been alleged to occur here.

An article by Canadian Susan Martinuk  https://c2cjournal.ca/2024/01/harm-reduction-is-killing-b-c-s-addicts-theres-a-better-way/ provides a balanced and insightful view on the issues being confronted.

Coincidently and interestingly, Alberta has a group, the Odd Squad, which provides guidance and advice to authorities. Unashamedly, Alberta harvests the wisdom of this group of former Police officers and others.

This group has eerily similarities to the CAA.

JUVENILE BAIL, SHOULD WE, OR SHOULDN’T WE?

JUVENILE BAIL, SHOULD WE, OR SHOULDN’T WE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

Although this man appears severely drug-affected, nevertheless, he has become a victim, and this victim deserves the protection of the law without judgment. He was ushered onto the road allegedly by the staff of the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR).

Police, however, seemingly have new investigative techniques.

There is apparently no need to interview witnesses or make decisions based on the facts; in other words, there is no need to conduct an investigation, as it was traditionally called, and they can make arbitrary decisions based on nothing much.

A sceptic may speculate that the investigation was knobbled or that the Police want to avoid any complex work.

But perhaps what the victim is, had a significant bearing.

Maybe the basic police philosophy of executing the law without fear or favour is obsolete.

Perhaps because the Victim is a very heavy drug user, it is not worth their effort?

As much as we despise illicit drugs and their use, we equally detest any action that would further harm addicts, including facilitating their addiction, as the MSIR does, but in this case, the matter goes to a whole new low in the care of addicts.

The incident  shows the victim being escorted from the MSIR precinct out onto busy Lenox Street Richmond, effectively ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with the traffic. The only reason the victim was not injured or killed was the responsible drivers of the vehicles at the time.

It was more luck than good judgment that a large commercial vehicle didn’t happen along at that moment as the outcome could have been disastrously different.

The CAA reported this serious criminal offence, Conduct Endangering Life, to the Chief Commissioner’s Office and subsequently to a senior police detective.

The offence reported was.

A person must not recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death (Crimes Act 1958 s22).

Judicial College of Victoria:

This particular incident was substantially aggravated because the perpetrators were identified by witnesses to be allegedly employees/staff of the Richmond North Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR), who would be well aware of the risk posed to the victim and have an elevated ‘duty of care’ for the victim, above the average person.

Although there is a legislated level of protection within the MSIR, if the victim used the MSIR to get into that state, it was, perhaps, negligent or deliberate indifference by the staff medically supervising the victim, which may negate protection. A matter that should be investigated.

Of further interest is whether the staff leading the victim onto the road acted on instructions. It would be gross negligence to instruct staff, knowing their actions could be illegal, as there is no protection for workers outside the MSIR. This aspect must be investigated.

Apart from the legal aspects, this behaviour by the MSIR is reprehensible in that, as a direct result of their actions, they placed the victim back in the community, which ultimately, Police and emergency services will have to deal with. All because the MSIR abrogated their moral and perhaps legal responsibility to the victim.

Alleged MSIR Staff is escorting the victim – more alleged MSIR Staff following- Witnesses to the event.

On the day following the reporting of this crime, we were contacted to say there would be no action as a prosecution would not be likely to succeed.

How these detectives formed that opinion without interviewing the potential witnesses, a process called an investigation, is beyond us.

Why up to five persons allegedly from the MSIR were not formally interviewed is staggering, let alone the many witnesses that appeared on the CCTV footage. Pedestrians’ and drivers’ vehicle registration details were available from the footage.

Before lodging the report, we asked several retired, experienced detectives to view footage of the incident we had obtained.

Their view of the circumstance was unanimous; there is an unambiguous ‘prima facia’ case of Conduct Endangering Life by three to four individuals, and the matter must be thoroughly investigated. The likelihood of a successful prosecution was optimistic.

By the actions of these individuals, it was clear the drug-affected person was being ejected from the MSIR vicinity, which happens to be a public place, and they have no power to do this.

The key to this ejection was the state of the addict, who was not in control of his actions and rational thought, something the people concerned were the MSIR staff would be aware of.

The offence of endangering life has several elements, as the Victorian Judicial College describes.

This offence has the following five elements:

  1. The accused engaged in conduct;
  2. The accused’s conduct was voluntary;
  • The accused’s conduct endangered another person’s life;
  1. The accused acted recklessly; and
  2. The accused acted without lawful authority or excuse (R v Nuri [1990] VR 641; Filmer v Barclay [1994] 2 VR 269; Mutemeri v Cheesman [1998] 4 VR 484; R v Wilson [2005] VSCA 78; R v Abdul-Rasool (2008) 18 VR 586; R v Marijancevic (2009) 22 VR 576).

Central to any investigation would be establishing the identity of those involved.

In this incident, given the quality of the evidence from the CCTV, the five elements would seem clear-cut, so how did the detectives decide that no offence was determined within a few hours (overnight)?

This matter must now be investigated by a competent, independent investigation team led by an experienced Officer above the rank of the original team. Essentially, that independence must extend to the MSIR, which we understand has a close working relationship with local Police. An investigation must be conducted in a manner to avoid bias.

The new investigation must not be established to determine that no offence was committed; unfortunately, often, the police response to critiques of their work, and investigators must prepare a brief of properly collated evidence to evaluate the circumstances and the facts accurately.

The actions of the allegedly MSIR staff, apart from being recklessly criminal, if involved, were a shocking breach of their ‘duty of care’ and finally exposed the reckless indifference the facility employs towards drug users.

The MSIR is a facility purely for the furtherance of drug use, as demonstrated in this incident. This victim may have even achieved his state in the facility, indicating that the ethos of the facility is devoid of any ‘duty of care’.

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 RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION Part 1

POLICE RESORT TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION Part 1

6th January 2024

The protected industrial action involving Victoria Police members and the Government has piqued our interest. We hope fervently that the matters are resolved quickly so that the service we expect from our Police Force is not further compromised.

Although police members have strongly indicated that community public safety will not be compromised, the mere fact that an industrial dispute is festering will distract police no matter how genuine their intention is.

Historically, the industrial issues that raise their head every few years could be correlated to a rise in the staff dissatisfaction index (if there was one).

A workforce that does not feel appreciated is poorly or over-managed and fails to achieve a satisfactory level of ‘job satisfaction’, which is the root cause of employee dissatisfaction, inevitably leads to industrial disputes when the employer adopts a strident approach.

We are not convinced that the negotiated issues as reports will resolve anything in the long term.

The stumbling blocks to a negotiated settlement are complex but seem to boil down to primarily finance and shift arrangements.

As for the financial component, there should be no hesitation in finding common ground. The Government must realise that for police to gain job satisfaction and perform at a higher standard, they must be appropriately renumerated.

The other ‘hot button’ issue is nine-hour shifts and nine-day fortnights; in our view, the opposing argument proffered by the Chief Commissioner is sound.

We are concerned that this ‘shift’ timing change may lead to less productivity as, anecdotally, we are constantly advised that the public does not always receive an adequate or timely response from police now, and there is no guarantee that this situation is likely to improve with current arrangements.

We are also concerned that police will suffer accumulated fatigue working consecutive nine-hour shifts. That can compromise the Police and the community’s safety.

Our most significant concern is that if this proposal gets up, the community will suffer, and job satisfaction issues will not have been addressed.

That will translate into the Force only being capable of providing even fewer police responses and reducing police proactive (prevention) work even further, possibly even eliminating it.

The visible Police presence will become more mythical than real.

Some of the critical issues are,

  • Police management. There has been substantial growth in the appointment of Senior executives, and with that, many lesser senior ranks to support the executive class are required. That translates to Police being removed from Operational tasks to backfill the administrative vacancy line these promotions create. This also means the executives need something to do to justify their appointment, so decisions are drawn up to fill the allotted resource time, taking the power from the decision-makers closer to where the issue occurs. That is a fundamental and flawed management principle. Quality decisions are best achieved by those closer to the issue and, therefore, better understand what is at stake and the consequences.

This vital principle is critical to an organisation responsible for life and death issues. Less operational staff equals more workload for others, more stress and less job satisfaction, which will translate into more sick days; the inertia of this process will start eroding the organisation further as it gathers energy.

  • Nine-hour shifts.

Eight hours in a shift is enough.

The disruption to members’ lives as management struggles to cover the 24-7  police response can be disastrous and not worth the extra day off. The loss of productivity (reduced service delivery) hurts the community, but nobody would decry renumerating members who do put the extra time in.

Appropriate remuneration is reasonable if adequately managed, perhaps electronically, is fair. Still, the additional rest day per fortnight will take years to recruit and train enough Police to replace the days lost yearly. Recruits do not grow on trees, nor does the funding; paying the existing staff for their work would be better. Finding training and accommodating the extra police will take years; in the meantime, the current members will carry the additional workload.

This would exasperate stress-related health issues across the organisation and adversely impact personal relationships rather than improving work-life balance.

  • Legal system destroying police,

It is hugely frustrating for Police who, after a lot of hard and sometimes dangerous work, arrest a criminal and prepare what is a detailed brief of evidence only to have the courts easily persuaded by the flimsiest excuses to grant Bail, putting the criminal back on the streets. All police must deal with frustrations imposed by Courts, which is part of the job; however, it has become an endemic issue evident since the introduction of Restorative Justice.

Ironically, and adding to the police frustration, the Restorative Justice model that in application removes personal accountability from criminals was heralded as a breakthrough that would reduce crime. However, it turned out to be just another academic folly that damages the community fabric rather than helping it, with the Police carrying the brunt.

  • Sentencing of offenders

Once a conviction is achieved, the sentencing has gone awry, and its inconstancy has become ubiquitous throughout the Court system.

Offenders are more likely to go to jail for fraud offences, dubbed ‘white-collar crime’, particularly against the Government, than multiple aggravated burglaries or many violent offences. The ignominy of this approach to justice is the ‘white-collar’ criminals creating fiscal mayhem and then further imposing on their victim (taxpayer) to be housed in jail. This approach seriously dilutes any deterrent value.

White-collar criminals should never go to jail; money is their motivator, not liberty, but they must be required to repay their debt incurred to the victims and or the State. Having an aggressively pursued restitution sentencing arrangement will not only become a disincentive for others; the repayment may take many years, creating a better deterrent. This will provide for greater capacity within Corrections for violent criminals to be sentenced and jailed appropriately, giving, amongst other advantages, police the opportunity to feel their work in trying to keep the community safe has an impact not being undermined by the Courts.

  • Social engineering

Social engineering proponents rarely consider the unintended consequences of their fantasies because their knowledge of the issue is purely academic and often out of touch with reality. It is these fantasies that bear heavily on the police psyche, who suffer the ignominy of having the tools to maintain social order removed from them but will be criticised for inaction against disorder as a result. It is like outlawing hammers for carpenters and expecting them to build a house.

Public drunkenness – Police power to pick up drunks has been removed, but no effective alternative has been provided statewide. Drunks are people who are cognitively impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both, so asking them what they want has questionable efficacy. The promised drunk tanks and the like are so mired in red tape and conditions that they are a waste of time. The closest some of the proponents of this initiative come to drunks are at cocktail parties and never see the belligerent drunks police regularly deal with. It would do them some good having to deal with, in police historical parlance, a dirty 30; they will quickly change their views.

  • Medically supervised injecting rooms (MSI) – How a government can fall for the spin of drug apologists is beyond comprehension. The MSI hurts the community, not only where it is located. It only tolerates a specific clientele and has no impact on helping the addicts to stop using. It does, however, facilitate wider drug use, a windfall for the drug trade. The function of the MSI was to be the vanguard in normalising drug addiction, and it forms part of the central plank of the apologist’s agenda. The normalisation of addiction, if the apologists hold sway, will inflict Melbourne in the same way the same strategy has destroyed the liveability of many international cities that have gone down this path and are now struggling to reverse the trend.
  • Raising the age of criminal accountability – This initiative will court disaster by removing any semblance of disincentives for young offenders. It will most likely increase the offending, not reduce it. Still, it is very clever as there will be no measure of success or otherwise because the privacy provisions would prohibit gathering data on children who have not been charged with an offence because of their age.

As with many social engineering initiatives, no case has been presented on how these children will be dealt with. Most will keep offending until they are old enough to be charged. The unlawful behaviour will be entrenched with little hope of effective diversion. The reality of the folly of this issue was recently highlighted when a carer was allegedly murdered by a 13-year-old in her care.

The age of her assailant does not influence how dead she is. As is often the case, there has been no thought on how Police might deal with an underage juvenile committing a violent offence as they are not old enough to be charged, let alone arrested.

It also begs the question of what happens to the Police Cautioning Program responsible for diverting hundreds of young people a year from a life of crime– young children will now presumably not receive a caution until they are over 14. For many, that is far too late. The unlawful behaviour and the adrenalin rush it creates will be entrenched in their character- the hope of correcting the behaviour is minimal at best.

  •  Domestic Violence –

This community blight has the most significant adverse impact on Police. Police are attending domestic disturbances every 9 minutes, that is over ninety thousand (90,000). A third (36.7%) of those incidents involved a person who had previously been involved in Domestic violence, which indicates the abject failure of the current system.

An expensive Royal Commission was completed in 2015 with 207 recommendations. There has been no appreciable evidence that the Commission has impacted the frequency and severity of domestic disputes in nearly a decade since the government adopted its findings. The Commission’s failure is even more dramatic when considering they have spawned a vast Domestic Violence Industry and the imposition on the police of an array of non-core tasks, making the minimum time required at each event 4 hours, but usually many more.

Calls for help for other matters requiring Police can go unanswered because all police can be tied up on domestic violence matters.

The police role must be redefined and restricted to keeping the peace and prosecuting the offender if any offences are detected. Then, the matter is for the Welfare agencies and the Courts to arbitrate as it should be.

Welfare agencies have abrogated their responsibility to the police, who should not be used as the Welfare services lackeys; these services must apply their resources to the tasks and take a reactive role in real-time; these experts cloistered in their offices must get to where the problem occurs.

They need to do their job.

  • Rreview the Police role.

A review of the Police’s role in the domestic space will go a long way to solving the workforce issue within VicPol, particularly the burnout of members. It will also contribute substantially to the effectiveness of policing overall in a cost-effective way.

While there is no doubt that more police are required overall, this alternate approach will free up police resources for other police duties very quickly, not having to wait until recruits are trained and integrated. Additionally, there will be an immediate benefit in removing or reducing the harmful effect on members of having to spend so much time dealing with the burgeoning number of Domestics while being aware that other pressing Police matters are not getting the attention they require.

  • Police Recruiting

It seems that the ‘elephant in the room’ is that recruiting is not being adequately managed. We are not referring to individuals delivering the system; they try very hard to get it right, but it needs major surgery.  The inertia of a failing recruiting function can poison any organisation; in Policing, it can be catastrophic.

Viewed from the outside, the recruiting process has been built by a series of add-ons, with each component added without proper evaluation of the nett effect; a review is essential.

Though we do not have access to the exact processes, anecdotally, the time it takes for recruits to be processed is ridiculous. Aspiring recruits, many of good quality, are not pursuing the Policing career because of roadblocks the system places on them. Principally, the costs incurred by each applicant. Some, again, anecdotal information suggests applicants are forking out circa $2000 to apply. We acknowledge that much of this is optional, but it is marketed to improve the chances of the applicant’s appointment. However, the industry it has spawned hurts the recruiting process. It creates a false persona for applicants who are coached and are not being assessed on their natural ability, an essential attribute.

VicPol recruiting paraphernalia includes a list of suppliers who offer these services, which suggests that the use of these companies is supported, encouraged and endorsed by VicPol; this is a severe conflict of interest that seemingly nobody has picked up. The criteria for inclusion as a preferred supplier may need investigation to ensure efficacy.

When the delays to successful applicants drag out too many months or even years, expecting potential recruits to hang in limbo is disgraceful and must be reviewed urgently. Less reliance must be placed on the recruiting process, which by any measure has been failing VicPol.

Greater emphasis must be placed on the performance of recruits during training, and their probationary period should be extended to four years to weed out those unsuitable and ensure that the recruits are retained in operations for that period at least.

From inquiry to employment, it must be no more than a month for suitable applicants only affected by the available training places.

How does this impact the industrial relations impasse?

As it turns out, these issues have a broader impact than the current industrial situation, which must be viewed as a symptom of more general problems.

Given the issues we have listed, and there are others, the critical question management must answer is,

‘Why would a Police member be motivated to work in this environment?’

The numbers of frontline Police are continually dwindling, putting more load on those remaining. Little wonder the average recruit will only spend four years operationally on the street before seeking alternative employment within the Force or elsewhere. The cost to develop a recruit’s skills to a level of competency for a short career tenure is not cost-efficient.

Each of these issues has a profound effect on the Police members.

This also feeds into the explosion of stress-related health issues for Police and the impact that has on service delivery and the individual members and their families.

The current EBA negotiations are not the panacea and will achieve little, irrespective of the outcome, without addressing the core issues.

Further industrial action can be reasonably anticipated in the not-too-distant future.

YOUTH CRIME AN AVOIDABLE CRISIS

YOUTH CRIME AN AVOIDABLE CRISIS

Youth Crime is now at epidemic proportions, and our leaders are indulging in severe hand-wringing while applying Statistical interpretation spin trying to deflect blame.

A byproduct of this problem is a 12-year-old has murdered her carer. That murder is a direct consequence of ideological values trumping pragmatic actions – the 12-year-old should have been in secure care.

The girl had run away 275 times in three years, and nobody was clever enough to put her in secure care to protect her.

The CAA has long been warning of this totally predictable outcome, first identified by the CAA nearly a decade ago. Our so-called leaders are unashamedly changing the measuring parameters to cover their ineptitude.

Different labels will not modify behaviour.

The missing link in this issue, as with others, is Leadership. Without competent leadership, this, like many other problems, will not be addressed in any meaningful way – they can just blame the parents, a motherhood statement to deflect from their ineptitude.

As reported in the Melb. Age 22/12/23, data released by the Crime Statistics Agency on Thursday shows crimes committed by minors have reached a nine-year high, with those aged 10 to 18 overrepresented in robberies, burglaries, and theft.

The strategy, it seems, is that raising the age of criminal responsibility will solve the problem because children under 14 are too young to understand they are breaking the law. Technically probably true, but they certainly know right from wrong.

Of course, this strategy will solve the problem (statistically) overnight.

The Statistics Agency will produce glowing figures for the seat polishers to crow about, having achieved a dramatic fall in youth-related crime offending. Statistics don’t lie, but when it comes to statistics, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

This strategy is cold comfort for Victims of a home invasion, as categorising young miscreants’ actions as not criminal is only a label and will not drive behavioural change. However, more than likely it will increase the offending because young people will know, there are no consequences. “If I break into a house, I can’t get into trouble.”

Expert advice quoted in the article says it all,

“It was ‘ludicrous’ to think that a 12-year-old could be held legally responsible for their actions.”

This is the type of ideological rubbish ‘Expert advice’ that has got us to where we are now.

Children of this age know right from wrong; however, they may not fully understand the consequences of their actions, which is a far cry from not understanding what actions are criminal (wrong).

From a very young age, we teach children not to do things, explaining and sometimes by controlled demonstration, the consequences if they ignore our advice. Don’t put your hand close to the fire, or you will get burnt. Do not cross the road without looking, etc. By the time a child is about 6, they have grasped right from wrong in a rudimental sense.

So, we are prepared and accept that teaching children life skills is acceptable and desirable, but we want to give them a free pass regarding criminality.

Children are taught through consequences that they understand. Still, often, no more is needed than a reprimand to achieve complaint behaviour that is in their best interest. A Police caution, for example.

This leads to a major part of the solution – education.

Children’s criminality is a learned phenomenon, not a lack of understanding of right from wrong. There are simple solutions if we are serious about making changes and saving many young lives from being wasted.

Behaviour is taught, not hard-wired into their cognisance.

Essentially, support parents rather than blame them by introducing a formal learning program to address and correct the cognisance of young people using the group learning approach only available within the school system.

The calls for more support services are just that, calls, and are the same calls echoed every time the statistics on youth offenders are released year in and year out.

Simply changing the age of criminal responsibility will not change or reduce any criminal behaviour. The children will still commit robberies (Home invasions), burglaries (Home invasions when nobody is home), and theft (Predominantly from other children).

So, education is first, and the second part is to introduce appropriate consequences.

Police say a “core group of 207 recidivist offenders” are responsible for most of the crimes, with officers arresting 82 youth offenders more than 10 times over the reporting period.

The second part of a strategy to dramatically reduce offending is to prioritise proactive work rather than worry about diversions after they are caught.

The courts have a major role to play, and the above paragraph clearly demonstrates the Court’s failure to contribute to modifying the status quo.

How can anybody expect a juvenile to stop offending if they are arrested over 12 months more than 10 times? When does the penny drop, they are currently incorrigible.

After once, twice or thrice, there is an irrefutable argument that they need to be secured to,

  • Protect them from themselves.
  • Demonstrate that their actions come with consequences.
  • Protect potential victims.
  • Stop rationalising their behaviour.

 

There is an argument for a mandatory three-strike rule if the Judiciary declines to show leadership and facilitate consequences rather than threats.

Diversions for repeat offenders mean they are not working, so why persist with them?

The argument that the CAA has proffered for those who succumb to drug problems can be transposed into the youth area.

It is not how long they are in detention, but the fact that they are, is the key.

All the negative arguments put forward in opposition to detention are based on the assumption of the impact of months or years; we propose weeks of structured detention, not a week-long party doing nothing, their favourite pastime, apart from committing crimes.

What is misunderstood and not considered is that time for young people moves at a far slower pace than it does as we age, so we cannot properly transpose issues to young people measured in adult time or values.

A week or two in detention will achieve the desirable outcome. They will not be hardened into criminality but will cause a hiatus in their social networking that forms part of their criminal activity.

They can also be exposed to discipline.

No ability to connect with peers for a week or so will cause the peers to move on, and the perpetrator has broken the nexus, enabling them to shake bad behaviour and influences, one of the big drivers of juvenile crime.

In two weeks, the average social network of a young person can change multiple times.

The CAA implores those of influence to change course for the good of young people and focus on education and developing appropriate consequences if there is any hope of achieving a breakthrough to reduce destroying young lives, let alone the lives of some of their victims.

All current efforts have failed and discontinuing the Police in Schools program a decade or more ago removed one of the key pillars, education.

The other major contributor is applying the failed theory of Restorative Justice to the juvenile sector. A concept that rewards bad behaviour and moves responsibility to the victims.

As a senior Police executive was quoted as saying,

“When population is considered, Victoria still has its second-lowest crime rate at any point over the past decade”.

That statement, ‘weasel words’, perhaps says it all, considering the population, it seems, is only an afterthought, where they should be a critical consideration in prioritising action to resolve the problem. It is deeply worrying that the population is so poorly considered as a priority by the Police.

No more ‘weasel words’, but identifiable and realistic actions.

It is time to show the mettle, not the hollow, repetitive words and statistics currently in vogue.

Acknowledge and fix the problem.

YOUTH CRIME IS YOUR FAULT

YOUTH CRIME IS YOUR FAULT

The Herald Sun 19/12/23 again reports the burgeoning crime in this State, particularly serious youth crime.

They highlight the case of a 16-year-old boy implicated in 18 aggravated burglaries where cars were stolen in just over 5 weeks. The boy was charged with 48 offences in that time but was continually allowed to walk free by our legal system.

Other prolific offenders reported are,

  • A 13-year-old boy was charged with eight aggravated burglaries and four car thefts in the four weeks.
  • A 13-year-old boy was arrested four times and charged with four aggravated burglaries and five car thefts.
  • A 12-year-old accused of six robberies and an assault.
  • A 15-year-old charged with seven aggravated burglaries, five car thefts and a robbery.

Officers attached to Operation Trinity have made 2231 arrests since March, including 502 for aggravated burglaries and stealing vehicles.

The other 1729 arrests concerned what police described as “drug and other miscellaneous offences”.

And the loud response from those facilitating this outrageous behaviour is the same every time, ‘crickets’.

The Government and Opposition remain mute, the Courts and professionals in the youth field follow suit, and the only explanation falls to the Police.

The police are left with the glib line.

“Police say homeowners failing to take precautions to protect their property remained an issue.”

Obviously, designed to avoid criticising others, this line (we have heard often before) is disgraceful and explains why we are where we are, following closely on the experiences in Queensland and the NT.

As citizens, it is apparently our responsibility to address this issue, not the government officials we elect and pay with our taxes. Conveniently forgotten is that it is not us but the perpetrator who is committing the crime.

We wouldn’t need to lock things up so much if our government officials, law enforcement, and the justice system would address the root causes of crime and implement effective strategies to discourage young people from engaging in criminal behaviour. We need practical and evidence-based solutions, not just ideologically based theory that is destined to, and does continue to fail.

As it stands, the young offender experiences no significant incentives to stop committing crimes and are set free. Getting caught is no more than an inconvenience and part of the adrenaline rush. Having a Magistrate lecture them is the only penalty.

It is left to the Police to investigate, charge and take these offenders before the courts, securing convictions and then watch them walk out, thumbing their nose at the law only for them to repeat the same behaviour, ad infinitum.

A significant strategy working against reducing this problem is a foreboding bordering on paranoia by the responsible entities not to be blamed or admit to a failure.

Calls for a Royal Commission have been mumbled about, but that will not solve the problem as the track records of Royal Commissions are not that good at resolving problems. They are better equipped for fostering industries based on no empirical evidence, hoping, rather than determining, that the industries have the solution, and the exercise will take 3-5 years and cost us Millions for no appreciable return on that investment.

What is needed is leadership to implement accountabilities on entities to perform and achieve change by a no-blame approach, and the development of some basic pragmatic principles by which all entities adhere.

That will make some uncomfortable, but so be it; we want a result-based holistic approach that encompasses the Courts, the Police, Health, Corrections and Welfare Services, including NFPs, and organisations who work in this area.

We know that there are many who are ideologically opposed to concepts like personal accountability, but this type of ideology must not influence the solution to the problem because that is what has caused it.

The obsession with not sending young people to jail must stop. The ridiculous notion that jail will only make them worse begs the question, ‘worse than what’.

It is also incredible how certain sectors blame the Youth Detention centres as not fit for young people. We agree that they are not suitable for many young people, but they are suitable for securing violent juvenile thugs who pose a genuine and demonstrated risk to the community.

There is also the stupid notion that the Detention Centres themselves are the problem. An example is the Northern Territory, where a Royal Commission recommended the closure of the Don Dale Facility in Darwin. The physical building had little or no impact, it was the management regime of the place that failed dismally.

Like other Detention Centres the problem is not the building, it is the ineffective management of inmates, and we need to accept that some inmates are so incorrigible they need to be secured and restricted, not only for the good of the community, but, ironically, in the best interest of the convicted perpetrator and other inmates and staff.

The idiotically asinine belief permeating through our youth justice administration that perpetrators who continue to offend will be harmed by Detention is the first thing that must change because the reality is that avoiding saving them from themselves is irresponsible. How can they be so dumb?

The CCYP and Youth Justice have a lot to answer for as they are clearly asleep at the wheel or, more probably, are void of competent leadership that would have them both attentive and focused on these issues.

Their most notable output on these issues is ‘crickets’.

Immediate reform of the way recidivist juvenile offenders are treated in our criminal justice system, rather than excuses, is long overdue.

Harm reduction, palliative care for drug addicts.

Harm reduction, palliative care for drug addicts.

This article by American Holland  Marshall is reproduced with permission and gives an insight into the future of the issues Victoria will face if the current Drug strategies are exploited and developed.

The question we pose is who is pushing and funding all these strategies?

The one sector that has the most to gain is the Drug industry, not the users. An industry that kills its customers by dramatically reducing their life expectancy so recruiting(normalisation of drugs) is paramount for their operations.-Editor 

HARM REDUCTION IS LONG-TERM PALLIATIVE CARE FOR DRUG ADDICTS.

Harm reduction is based on reducing the likelihood that people will be seriously hurt or die when they do dangerous things. That is why we have laws that require drivers to obey speed limits, motorcyclists must wear helmets and construction workers must wear safety shoes.

Harm reduction doesn’t stop accidents; they make them less dangerous.

In health care, harm reduction started with programs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases by distributing condoms and lubricants. These services expanded with the arrival of the HIV/Aids epidemic and it then included the goal to reduce hepatitis C among heroin users.

Harm reduction industry goals

1.) Increase the number of drug supply facilities & supervised consumption sites.
2.) Make drug use accepted as a normal practice.
3.) Defund the police & have drug use considered solely a medical issue.
4.) Safe Supply. This is when addicts receive government-funded drugs.

Modern times

We now live in more radical times. Harm reduction advocates now focus on social justice and bodily autonomy. People have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, without coercion from anyone.

The harm reduction model doesn’t try to discourage addictions; it seeks to make drug use safer and more accepted.

Stigma

The message is addicts should not feel ashamed about using drugs. Drug addicts have been part of our society for centuries and they will continue to be with us.

Stigma must be eliminated. Drug addiction should be seen as just another craving like drinking coffee, eating chocolate or drinking alcohol. The drug addiction activists state that drug addicts are part of our society and they will continue to de so.
After all, Sherlock Holmes regularly smoked opium.

In a nutshell, this means addicts have the right to use drugs free of judgment or intervention.

Controlling the message

To help get their message across, the activists are constantly changing their language to hide what is actually happening to the addicts. The words:
• shooting galleries has been renamed Supervised Injection Sites.
• crack houses has been renamed Supervised Consumption Sites.
• addicts has been renamed People Who Use Drugs (PWUD)
• vagrants has been renamed homeless and then, persons without housing.
• shoplifting, muggings & thefts have been renamed survival crimes.
• squatting in parks or sidewalks has been renamed sheltering in place.
• police has been renamed strangers with guns.

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Harm Reduction services

Health officials and the NGOs understand that powerful illegal drugs are killing addicts. In an attempt to prevent the transmission of blood borne and bacterial infections due to drug use, they give addicts:
• all the paraphernalia necessary to consume drugs.
• syringes for the addicts that inject drugs.
• crack pipes.
• smoking & snorting kits.
• condoms & lubricants for safer sex. (For love or for money)
• information on how to safely do drugs.
• snacks & bottles of water
• pet food
• information on what social services are available in the community.
• information on drug treatment facilities.
• Naloxone kits.

These sterile supplies do help reduce the transmission of blood borne and bacterial infections.

The drug supply centres do not want to upset the addicts, so they soft pedal advice on treatment centres and normally will discuss them only when asked.

Who are the experts?

Social justice warriors insist that drug addicts and ex-drug addicts are the experts that the politicians should be listening to for advice when they enact drug addiction policies and laws.
“People with lived and living experience in drug use are the experts that have proposed solutions to the drug poisoning crisis and have for decades.”

Harm Reduction costs

It is expensive for society to casually accept drug addictions as a new normal.

The taxpayers are paying for absolutely everything. Billions are spent on welfare and disability cheques, temporary shelters, hotel and motel rooms, all of the drug paraphernalia and the Narcon kits.

Transit services face increases in security and cleaning costs. The homeless don’t pay fares. Buses, street cars, subways and transit terminals are becoming mobile drug dens and homeless shelters. No wonder ridership is down.

Municipalities have to pay to clean up all the human waste and garbage that the addicts discard in the parks, alleyways and sidewalks. Police, fire services, ambulance services and emergency departments require large increases in their budgets.

Businesses have to pay for increased shoplifting losses, security guards, cameras, graffiti removal and protective fencing. Downtowns do not feel safe so the retail stores lose customers and some have had to close.

According to Statistics Canada, the homeless support sector saw a 60.7% increase in workers between 2016 and 2021. Guess who’s paying for that?

Harm reduction encourages drug use

Giving away free drug paraphernalia, supporting addicts living on the streets, demanding that drug use should be stigma free and even declaring that using drugs while partying is okay does nothing to stop people from experimenting with drugs.

‘Safer snorting kits’ handed out at British Columbia US high school after drug presentation

Students received kits containing information about “safer snorting” including a picture of a straw hovering above a line of white powder. Included in the kit were tubes for snorting and cards for making lines to snort.

The kit includes straws and wallet-sized cards for cutting powdered drugs into snortable lines — as well as a booklet on ‘staying safe when you’re snorting’including a pic

“Have condoms and lube with you. You may want to have sex while high,” reads one tip. Another advises the drug user to decorate their snorting equipment. “Adding a personal touch to your snorting equipment will help you better recognize your own when using with others,” it reads.

The booklet also notes the wide variety of drugs that can be consumed via snorting, from cocaine to crystal meth; fentanyl and ketamine.

Is this their mission Statement?

“I know it can be a little controversial, but one of the key tenets of harm reduction
that I see is that we want to be able to facilitate and champion autonomy of people
who use drugs.”

—Amber Tejada, Hepatitis Education Project

Addiction isn’t freedom, and “respecting people’s right” to die from it isn’t enlightened or compassionate. Harm Reduction should be named Harm Facilitation or Harm Prolongment. The people harm reduction supposedly saves keep using drugs and have a very short life expectancy.

Three years. Life expectancy of a feral cat.
Three years. Life expectancy of a person addicted to fentanyl.

Assisting someone with severe mental illness to use illicit drugs is nearly criminal negligence.

THE CAA FAMILY VIOLENCE STRATEGY

THE CAA FAMILY VIOLENCE STRATEGY

A concise overview of critical issues, underpinning principles, and the evidence base for recommended actions.

The 2015 Royal Commission into Domestic Violence made 227 recommendations that cost the Victorian Government $2.7B to implement. This is now a multi-billion-dollar industry with a Minister for Family Violence, a Department of Family Violence, and a Multi-agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework.

The claims are to train 37,500 workers in Phase 1 (850 organisations) and 370,000 workers in Phase 2 (5,580 organisations).

The industry creates reports, resources and practice guides, grants, plans, research, statistical collection and analysis, guidelines, training, victim support groups, investigators, police, crisis assistance services, helplines, lawyers, security and the judicial system.

But they can’t arrange a response team to help Victims during a crisis.

Little in pragmatic and direct assistance for victims at the time of crisis and at the highest risk of being assaulted to protect them during these heightened risk periods or, in crime parlance, pro-active intervention.

This intervention is not to be confused with the Police role as that will remain in relation to direct physical threats and or actual physical violence. While there are no specific criminal laws against coercive control in Victoria, there are legal remedies victim-survivors can take. The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act includes coercive behaviour in its definition of family violence. That issue is a matter best dealt with by professionals other than the Police.

It is important to understand the size of the issue.

  • One Woman is killed every week in Australia due to Family violence.
  • Recorded Family Violence in Victoria is increasing, with Victoria Police reporting one incident every six minutes; 90,424 Recorded Incidents in Victoria in the 2021-2022 financial year.
  • Police time applied to Family Violence and Domestic Violence administration severely impacts the ability of Police to respond to other community issues.

We also know that,

  • Victim survivors report higher rates of violence from a perpetrator after separation. (Police are usually not directly involved at his stage, but the matter is in the hands of the Courts or the Domestic Violence Industry).
  • Children are present in 30% of family violence incidents attended by police.
  • NSW, Qld and Tas have “coercive control” legislation – Victoria still reviewing it!
  • Tasmania has had ankle bracelets on perpetrators for many years – Victoria is still reviewing!

Eight years after the Royal Commission, what has been achieved?

  • It has spawned the Family Violence bureaucratic Industry.
  • Statistics, when released, remain consistent, with little progress on designing or empirically introducing reduction strategies.
  • Critical risk victims are forced into hiding and wear a huge bracelet with a panic button.
  • Perpetrators consistently remain at large on bail able to strike at will.
  • Police are bogged down with bureaucratic risk assessments and bail/remand processes.

Family Safety Strategic Plan 2021-2024: https://www.vic.gov.au/family-safety-victoria-strategic-plan-2021-2024/print-all

CAA Key Policy Positions.

  1. Strengthen the focus to “offender accountability” while maintaining “victim support”.
  2. Remove administrative functions from Operational Police and the function of Government Welfare services.
  3. Urgent Legislation
    1. Ankle monitors and vehicle tracking monitors (if perpetrators are released on bail).
    2. Specific coercive control legislation.
    3. Tightening of bail laws.
    4. Domestic violence disclosure scheme (Clare’s Law – UK 2009 -perpetrator priors available to victims on request.

CAA Observations and Recommendations

The net outcome of the Royal Commission and the Government’s responses is the creation of a Domestic Violence industry with a plethora of Quango’s and Convocations costing billions of dollars but with little or no positive impact on the people it was intended to benefit.

If there is something déjà vu about this issue, it’s not surprising. Similarities or a parallel to the issues around our first peoples come to mind.

Spending huge amounts of money with no appreciable improvements for the victims.

The CAA strongly recommends an independent inquiry into the application of resources, accountabilities and effectiveness of outcomes at the coal face.

It is long past time for positive action.

Manufactured Bias

Manufactured Bias

The broad spectrum of bias in Government concerns us greatly as it is one of the key drivers of corruption.

Bias is not a singular phenomenon but multi-faceted; there is

  • Biase – Straight-out overt behaviour that erodes good governance.
  • Unconscious bias – Implanted in those susceptible to be used by those who peddle bias – the manipulators.
  • Confected bias – Created falsely to fit in or be accepted by others or to achieve a personal advantage – the career ladder climber.
  • Manufactured Bias– A process where an entity or person creates an environment influencing others to follow a bias that suits their purpose for power or control –

Among these traits, the Manufactured Bias is the most insidious and destructive.

For an apolitical organisation, we would not normally make comments that could be construed as partisan; however, the ex-Premier Daniel Andrews has entered the debate with a strange and somewhat ludicrously twisted set of hypotheses that really do ‘take the cake’.

We, as many Victorians, have been trying to encapsulate just what makes the ex-Premier tick and now we know, not from a media OPED but from the ex-Premier himself.

He has now exposed all in his most recent interview. Although much of what he said was no surprise, it confirmed what many of us suspected.

The ex-Premier has been the architect of Manufactured Bias, and this attempt at rationalising his behaviour is absurd.

This theory, which we have called Manufactured Bias, is something that the ex-Premier will be best remembered for.

The term that we coined was after reading the ex-Premiers version of his style of leadership as reported in the HS 9th December 2023.

What is concerning and explains a lot of where we are as a State is how Andrews sees Victorians; we are either “haters and the rest vote Labor” he said.

Or conversely, if you don’t vote Labor, you are a hater.

The irony of that statement is many of the victims of his style have been Labor voters, and no concession was ever offered to those voters. This includes shutting down the party rank and file branches, giving him free rein.

The convention that elected political leaders work for all Victorians under his premiership was a myth as we all suspected, now exposed in the context of a brag.

He clearly identified any criticism of him in not-too-glowing terms, indicating his flawed dictatorial management style and giant ego, he couldn’t countenance he could be wrong.

The flaw of his style can now be clearly identified from his own words and is best described as Manufactured bias. This is the method he used to operate with impunity outside convention and perhaps even outside the law.

To manufacture something, there needs several components, amongst them: an idea, a design, a key driver, resources to facilitate the manufacture (a budget) and a marketing plan. The sustainability of the manufactured item, or philosophy, hinges largely on how effective the ‘key driver’ is at convincing the market that the manufactured item is a necessity, irrespective of any consequences.

Of the two major components, the fiscal management plan is the primary one, and clearly, there just wasn’t one. Pillaging the State coffers and then incurring huge debts in the name of the State will adversely impact generations for many years and cannot be interpreted as getting ’shit done’.

We suspect that there is debt both on and off the books and when fully audited, will be explosive.

Anybody can do extraordinary things without the constraints of fiscal responsibility.

By any measure, regardless of what and how grandly something is manufactured, fiscal irresponsibility is a project failure.

The other serious failure exposed was Andrews’ attitude to the legal system.

His claims about the role of some who he accuses of trying to usurp the authority of elected representatives is the foundation of how ‘Manufactured Bias’ is nurtured and manifests.

Obviously aimed at the former head of IBAC and the Ombudsman who dared to be critical of him.

The ex-Premier’s lack of knowledge of the legal system is breathtaking. These officers are not usurping the authority of the Premier or the Parliament or anything of that nature because both are acting within the legislation that the government designed and created.

That is how a democratic system works, and their independence is critical to reining in unlawful actions, either procedural or criminal; critical to the checks and balances.

If there is a problem perceived with their function, change the legislation; it is contemptuous to try to just usurp their authority.

The Premier’s twisted logic on this issue might explain why his behaviour, ‘I can’t remember’ when examined, was a contagion affecting most of the ex-Premiers acolytes also subject to examination.

The ex-Premier was the one usurping the Parliament’s authority and, with his admissions, may be in contempt of the Parliament.

Referring to Public Servants, again arguably aimed at IBAC and the Ombudsman, he said,

 “They have opinions and views, and they’re more than entitled to those. But see, what they’re not entitled to … (and that’s) to pretend that anyone voted for them. Not entitled to pretend that they’ve somehow got a mandate that is equal to, let alone superior, to the duly elected government.”

It is true they do not have a mandate from the people, but they have something much more significant: an act of Parliament bestowing specific powers and independence, something that the ex-Premier did not and could not control.

From this statement, the ex-Premier also accuses the work of the law officers of pretending to be ‘superior’. The ex-Premier saw the elected Government, led by him, as ‘superior’, implying above the Law. This may go a long way in explaining the attitude and memory losses the ex-Premier experienced when appearing before inquiries or being investigated.

That behaviour did cause very negative leadership of those within the Government who felt that they could take comfort that memory loss would protect them. A ‘protection racket’ led from the top by example. The concept of accountability was dismissed as irrelevant.

It is that contempt and, arguably, arrogance directed at the two Authorities that have emboldened many others within the government to flaunt the law in the belief that they were untouchable. ‘Manufactured bias’ manifested.

And to boast Mr Andrews said,

“ he’d rather be remembered for being forceful, making tough, necessary decisions and “getting shit done” than for achieving little during his term.”

It is this statement that resonates and will probably define his legacy.

Anybody can “get shit done” if you do not have to be accountable and have access to unlimited funds.

Andrews omitted to claim his most significant achievement, saddling all Victorians with a debt that will take many generations to repay, a yoke for our children’s children and more. Accompanied by no plan on how the debt may be serviced let alone acquitted.

What makes this even worse is that on that measure alone, fiscal irresponsibility, bordering on radical indifference, he will not be remembered fondly or respectfully.

Viewed collectively, the reality of ‘Manufactured Bias’ and the growth of this concept has been allowed and fertilised by Andrews’ leadership style in Victoria and is best described by a CAA-supporter comment on the CAA website at  https://caainc.org.au/ explaining how it works in Victoria Police, there is no doubt a similar approach is applied Government-wide.

“Because they are subjected to the ideology daily in memos, lectures, training courses and private conversations, they know that if you want a promotion, don’t upset those at the top. It’s the softest corruption there is, and it’s obvious to anyone who looks but is very difficult to root out.”- OMG.

‘Manufactured Bias’.

INFECTED BY UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

INFECTED BY UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

The Victorian Ombudsman, Ms Debora Glass, has produced a ‘damming assessment’ of the politicisation of the Victorian Government; however, the report fell short of recommending any prosecutions, and it didn’t even make recommendations for the need for further investigation.

The reasons for this, and a number of other issues investigated by the Ombudsman over a number of years, indicate a pattern of ‘falling short’ as the norm.

We would argue that the problem is far more insidious than the Ombudsman has determined, while her investigations into various decisions, although relevant, mask the real need for detailed examinations of the functions of the alleged nepotistic appointees by the Government.

The Ombudsman’s investigation was flawed and failed to properly investigate unconscious bias exercised by Senior Government appointees.

As well as looking into the matters covered and identified in her report, the issue of bias in appointments can be accurately determined by patterns of historical management behaviour.

“Politicisation is far more nuanced, complex and potentially pervasive than simply the practice of hiring your political mates.”- Ombudsman.

One example that demonstrates an unconscious bias is the management and function of Victoria Police in the operational strategies employed in matters of civil unrest and demonstrations.

It is highly unlikely that the Operational Commanders at these demonstrations were the same officer, so how is it that the strategies are only ever consistent with the government’s ideology?

There have been a number of demonstrations where the Police response has varied to a degree to indicate that either actual or unconscious bias is at play. Consistency in Policing demonstrations is sadly lacking, we argue, because of the bias.

In particular, the lack of police action at the Black Lives Matter rally, the overreaction to anti-COVID demonstrations, the lack of any action at the Anti-Trans Rally and, of late, the Pro-Palestinian/HAMAS civil unrest all have a common denominator: the action of Police can be seen to mirror the ideology of the Government on the purpose of the demonstration, and that is a very bad thing.

“But nothing will change without a recognition at the highest levels of government that change is necessary.”

It corrodes standards of public governance, decision-making in the public interest and trust in government, and if left unchecked increases the risk of corrupt criminal offending.” -Ombudsman.

On that point, the protestations of the Ombudsman fail.

The highest levels of Government do not see an issue because, to them, the status quo is appropriate and a right, part of the spoils of Governing.

It is abundantly clear that the checks and balances that should prevent this problem either do not exist or are not enforced.

Simply raising the issue has little chance of achieving a satisfactory result. It is imperative that the inquiry continue to examine where the checks and balances have failed and what remedial action is necessary.

Starting with a search for answers measuring executive managers’ accountability and performance against the position’s benchmarks.

The infection of bias is near epidemic proportions, and it can be averted tomorrow simply by holding executive managers to account, starting with the most senior ones. It would only take a handful of Senior executives to lose their position because bias was identified in their sphere of control, and very quickly, bias would be diminished dramatically if not eliminated.

Unless this Government acknowledges that there is a problem, nothing will change. Positive action is required.

No public servant should receive a bonus if they have not exceeded their accountability and performance levels.

For a cultural change, as that is what is required, it is necessary that failure to perform free from bias must be managed by the greatest motivator, their hip pocket.

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.

FAMILY VIOLENCE IS OUT OF CONTROL

FAMILY VIOLENCE IS OUT OF CONTROL

AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawlessness perpetuates lawlessness and breeds violence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPENT CONVICTIONS– A Legal Lie

SPENT CONVICTIONS– A Legal Lie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Administrative abuse risks.

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

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

No Victim Representation:

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

Spent Conviction Time frames:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crime is not supposed to pay.

THE FALLIBILITY OF MISGUIDED IDEOLOGY

THE FALLIBILITY OF MISGUIDED IDEOLOGY

Youth crime is the victim of ideology that is so blinkered as to fail to achieve its original goal.

In the late 1990’s to 2012 a formidable politician, Robert Hulls, championed a concept called Restorative Justice.

A concept, ironically given its devout following in Victoria’s Judicial fraternity, that has not exactly achieved worldwide acclaim or even acclaim to any great degree Nationally.

For all its warm-fuzzy ideological appeal, the concept remains just a theory, and we are paying the penalty of having our Justice system hijacked by a theory that, in practice, has failed, hence the lack of acclaim.

Look no further than the juvenile crime statistics over the last two decades to see the abject failure. This era was preceded by a Victoria Police Policy of proactive policing targeting young people and building bridges. A policy that worked.

The definition of Restorative Justice published by RMIT, is clearly an ideological joke gone disastrously wrong, and sane people should never have allowed it to permeate the justice system as it currently has.

Restorative justice is a theory of justice that focuses on the harm caused by crime and wrongdoing to people, relationships and communities.

It provides a framework for addressing and preventing harm that moves beyond punishment towards healing. As a practice, restorative justice processes most commonly bring together people affected by harm in a safe, structured and facilitated way, to talk about what happened, how they were impacted and how the harm can be repaired or addressed. 

https://cij.org.au/opencircle/what-is-restorative-justice

It is a fat lot of good having victims, sometimes of horrendous crimes, being confronted in a congenial environment with the perpetrator for ‘a healing’; ‘a healing for who’?

Healing the perpetrator does nothing for the poor Victim who not only has to suffer the consequences of the crime but is then called up for ‘a healing’, not for them, but for the perpetrator.

That this process would somehow reduce the likelihood of the perpetrator reoffending is an academic fantasy.

One major failing is this theoretical concept has been interpreted by the judiciary and others as a process to assist perpetrators and perhaps turn their lives around. The operative word is, perhaps, because, to those who know and understand the psyche of the young, it is highly unlikely to achieve the desired outcome.

Juvenile offenders know only one concept, and that is their personal advantage as they see it, and the impact on anybody else is immaterial.

When juveniles from a particular cohort are charged and convicted by a court, the perpetrator perceives only two options. If they walk from the court, they have beaten the charge, or they can be sent to prison, a badge of honour to be bragged about.

Lawyers and the Judiciary might as well save the energy from dissertations directed at a convicted juvenile perpetrator as they explain how wrong the actions are and that a diversion will be their ‘last chance’. Rhetoric without consequences, they have no doubt heard many times, making the threat useless.

So, no matter what might be said or recorded or otherwise by the Court, if the perpetrator walks from Court, their bragging rights herald, ‘I won’, and will be broadcast loudly amongst their peers. That has a knock-on effect of impunity from any consequences, emboldening others to commit crimes.

The Court’s focus on the individual perpetrator is important, but the Court has an obligation to the broader community, particularly other young people likely to offend.

That leaves us with a system that rewards, not punishes criminality, in the perpetrator’s mind’. Any deterrent effect is disastrously lost on any peers of the perpetrator as they can demonstrate that no matter what they do, nothing happens.

If reparation was enforced on the juveniles and or their family, it would at least be a tangible deterrent.

The best option to reduce juvenile crime is to prevent it by reintroducing proactive programs like,

  • Blue Light Discos (Blue Light survives, but the discos have all but disappeared).
  • The Police in Schools Program, which ran very successfully in Victoria from 1969 until 2006. (The current iteration is similar in name only; the very effective Curriculum-based version is no longer used.)
  • Operation New Start was a program actively ensuring young people actually get to school.
  • Derby Hill – a Blue Light resource used as a school camp. Local Police could spend time with their local children in a school camp orientated to Policing. The camp has been disposed of.

Early structured connection of police with juveniles pays high dividends in reducing offending. All of these programs had one remarkable similarity. When each was introduced, there was an immediate reduction in local juvenile crime.

Another option to reduce the frequency and severity of juvenile crime is incarceration, particularly for repeat offenders—understandable consequences for society and the juvenile.

Unfortunately, there is only one option to reduce the frequency and severity of juvenile crime, and that is incarceration—understandable consequences, not for society but for the juvenile.

Jail is not the place for young people; neither is it appropriate or in their best interest for them to rape,  rob and pillage society.

Shorter sentences will be the answer because time for young people moves extremely slowly, so a month or two with a generous good behaviour incentive would be more effective than any extended period to avoid the risk of institutionalisation and create a break in the nexus the juvenile has with their current peers.

Jail per se is not the problem; it is how this resource is used. Threats alone will never succeed, and the resource needs to be used more creatively and effectively.

After a relatively short period, the perpetrator’s peers will move on without the juvenile, a good outcome that gives the juvenile the chance to start again.

While jail should not be a holiday home, the discipline and proper management of juveniles will help them.

If the problem is perceived to be the jail, then fix the jail.

It’s their liberty that has to be sacrificed. A month without access to a mobile phone would be a great start on the road to a crime-free life.

In serious cases, it is the juvenile offender’s liberty that must be sacrificed to protect the Juvenile and the Victims.

The reduction starts with creative and effective pro-active programs to reduce crime in the first place and then pragmatic and effective management of perpetrators to guide them from their current path.

This will ultimately save lives, predominantly of the perpetrators. Crime can be a fatal endeavour.

 

 

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.

THE GREAT DRUG DEBATE

THE GREAT DRUG DEBATE

15th November 2023

Having read the account of retiring Liberal member Matt Bach’s last speech, as reported in the Age, it is evident that people in authority are ignorant of the Drug Scene and that we are not prepared for the drug tsunami of epic proportions headed our way.

The most sensible comment attributed was that Drugs should be kept away from children, but children are not idiots, and they will always find out if their parents or associates are using drugs.

All children aspire to adulthood and consequently see drugs as an adult activity and, therefore, something to aspire to.

Equally, children whose parents use drugs are being desensitised to the drug scene and more likely to imbibe at the earliest opportunity.

Most of the pundits spruiking legalisation to decriminalise illicit drugs come from a cloistered affluent existence (and those pretending to be) far removed from the everyday reality of the pain and degradation caused by the Drug scene.

Legalising illicit drugs would be a major social error with astronomically bad consequences – if you think the Drug issue is bad now, see what other jurisdictions have experienced taking the legalisation path.

And don’t be fooled by ‘It’s only grass (marijuana) that we want legalised for personal use’. This is but the second step on the legislative path; the first was the Medically Supervised Injecting Room(MSIR) facility.

The drug problem we have in Victoria, replicated around the world, is fundamentally caused by decisions being made by people who are wilfully blind to reality and too insulated from the effects of illicit drug use to offer a meaningful solution.

Before reading on, it is important to view at least one of these videos to give perspective from jurisdictions that have legalised drugs.

A window to our future.

These jurisdictions started with the MSIR approach and then Legalising Marijuana, and now look at what they are dealing with.

https://youtu.be/Qwcp2mcOH0Y or https://youtu.be/_RaWzJUeT0o

Dealing first with the perception –what drug apologists would have you believe.

  • Illicit Drugs are harmless –
  • A person using drugs socially hurts nobody.
  • Why can’t adults decide what they want to use?
  • Putting drug users in jail only exacerbates the problem.
  • Most people who use drugs are not dependent on them.
  • Drug users with Mental health issues are worsened in the criminal justice system.
  • The legalisation is Evidence-Based.

This apologist propaganda is usually peddled by people from a professional background living in the bubble of apartments earning over $ 150k P/A, aged mid 20’s to 40’s, and who use drugs ‘Socially’.

They are also in denial of any risk of addiction.

The reality of drugs is poles away.

  • Drug addicts are consummate liars.
  • Rarely will an addict confront their addiction, with most in denial.
  • Their personal hygiene is atrocious.
  • Every dealer’s role is to increase their customers’ addiction and their own profit to ensure their own drug supply first.
  • Fentanyl, a super addictive drug, is used to spike drugs to increase the addiction of users and dealers’ profits.
  • Drug users generally only associate with like-minded people.
  • By the time they have lost their job (somebody else’s fault) they are entrenched in the criminal sphere.
  • They are as addicted to the lifestyle as much as the drugs – no cares or responsibilities.
  • No drug addict can be rehabilitated unless they want to be, but if it garners them favour will readily claim they are willing to rehabilitate.
  • Users’ behaviour is unpredictable and can be dangerous. Severe violence is just under the surface and within the industry, usually hidden.
  • Most crime, particularly violent crime, has its genesis in the drug scene.
  • Mental Health issues are generally caused and aggravated by drug use, reducing the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Drug users are rarely if ever, jailed for just using an illicit substance.
  • Criminals, including Outlaw Bikies, are the beneficiaries of huge amounts of cash through their drug enterprises, established by violence and maintained by intimidation.
  • ‘Evidence-based’, used in this context to give some authority to claims, is nonsense. Everything that supports legalisation is claimed to be ‘Evidence-Based’ until the evidence no longer suits, and then it must be ignored.

This poses the question of what to do.

Should the State adopt a Health approach, as occurred in the attached examples, or should it be a Law and Order, Police approach?

The answer is very clear to those who view the issue through clear eyes.

Both is the answer.

It is not an either-or proposition, as that inevitably ends with catastrophic failure.

Policy for Health and the Law and Order must be driven by an Illicit Drug management panel with appropriate authority, skills, and resources to tackle the problem holistically.

In an environment of fiscal challenges, this is one area that cannot be ignored, as effective management of the issue will reduce the costs to the community by reducing crime, welfare costs and health expenses and improving the lot of the addicts.

The current approach is akin to using a ‘band-aid’ to stem the flow of blood from a serious wound.

The CAA has previously published a clear blueprint for a better way to reduce the use of illicit drugs while dealing with the health issues of addicts.

See https://caainc.org.au/drugs-and-alcohol-abuse-a-management-solution/