15th May 2018
Well who would have thought? Crime prevention actually works. Engagement with youth also works, hallelujah!
The Community Advocacy Alliance was formed over three years ago because some crusty old time coppers thought there was a crime tsunami on the way because the Victoria Police had largely disengaged with youth and did not seem the very interested in crime prevention.
For the past three years the CAA has been producing papers and trying to lobby VicPol and the Government on the issue but were rejected by the Government and rebuffed and ridiculed by the new modern Vicpol executive and ignored by the Chief Commissioner.
Although not a mirror of the strategies that we propose, Task Force Wayward with its focused action is to be commended.
A force that has developed a central policy of being noninterventionist has every chance of losing the confidence of the community and that will make Policing very difficult.
The community is already declaring a lack of confidence in police leadership and we can only hope that the leadership will change philosophies as the confidence in the operational police at the coal face continues to wane.
But there is a glimmer of hope with Task Force Wayward which draws on strategies from a number of the Youth initiatives abandoned by VicPol but now packaged differently and more concerted.
While we are confident this task force will be successful, unfortunately the resources of VicPol do not extend to replicating this initiative across the State.
Our hope is that the Chief Commissioner will realise that Crime Prevention and Youth engagement are not relics of a past era but very effective policing tools.
We implore the Chief Commissioner to show leadership and silence the naysayers within the force command and embrace the true and basic philosophies of policing – there is a reason that they are embraced by most Police organisations in the world – they work and have done for hundreds of years. Sir Robert Peel was onto something. The nine Peelian principles of Policing make essential reading for any police member.
A modern interpretation of the principles are:
1) The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2) The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
3) Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4) The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force.
5) Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6) Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
7) Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police and the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8) Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9) The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
The CAA knows that changing a philosophy that was inherited is not going to be easy but the philosophy behind Operation Wayward must be adopted force wide if the community is to again have confidence in its Police Force. Noninterventionist strategies do not work and promote crime and public disorder.