1st of April’19

We have been wondering about the just cause of some of the cases brought against Police by internal police investigation processes that we have become aware of. From the evidence that we have been privy to there is no way a similar case would have proceeded against a civilian. The reason?   A lack of admissible evidence.

Admissable evidence, is or should be, the critical issue in determining whether there is a just cause to issue proceedings (and ruin a Police members career, life and family)  in the first place, and whether there is any hope of establishing that the Criminal Act can be proven, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” So what is going on?

It would appear that some of these cases are no more than ‘giving it a fly’ and that is an abuse of power (corruption), using the judicial system as an instrument of punishment is reprehensible and indefensible.

Given some of the cases we have seen, the words of Lord Acton in 1887 writing of “power”, and the research conducted by Psychologist Irving Janis eighty years later when he coined the word “groupthink”, perhaps explains the modern phenomenon of, “judicial personnel management”.

Lord Acton said of power;

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

It is clear that some police executives and police involved in internal investigations act as though their power is absolute.

Janis was a Professor Emeritus at Berkeley, and most famous for his theory of “groupthink” which described the systematic errors made by groups when making collective decisions.

The phenomenon of “groupthink” can produce dehumanising actions against an “outgroup.” This “groupthink” can explain, not excuse, the dehumanising of subordinate police ranks.

Not to be dismissed lightly in this discussion is the use within Victoria Police of ‘Matrix Management’ which was adopted about fifteen years ago when Matrix Management was the new go-to scheme for purveyors of management cultures.

This Matrix Management system requires important decisions to be made by a group rather than an individual. Apart from being extremely inefficient, this is distinctly the opposite of tried principles where the individual makes decisions relative to their authority, based on input from others.

How it could ever be envisaged that a management model designed for an American Software Company that failed, could be transposed into a police force is way beyond any reasoned person’s comprehension. Moreover, the really frightening thing is that Victoria Police still seem to embrace the concept which seems so entrenched. Sadly many newer police managers would not consciously be aware they are entrapped by it.

The actions of an individual in Matrix Management becomes immersed in the decision of the group with accountability the first casualty.

This hides mediocrity and incompetence.  It also stifles excellence a trait that insecure more senior managers can exploit to secure their positions.

Matrix Management is a key ingredient in a recipe for “groupthink” because there are no consequences for an individual in the group.

It would seem that if a brief of evidence for a crime is assessed at a much lower rank in the police hierarchy, the lower ranking supervisors seem to be more scrupulous on burdens of proof and the evidence, rather than other influences spawned by “groupthink”.

The use of the judicial or disciplinary process as a punitive process is a blight on Victoria Police. The practice of “Judicial Personnel Management”, a weapon of “groupthink”, must be stamped out.

Any alleged miscreants in VicPol must be dealt with according to the law and legitimate legal processes not contrived allegations that suits the given narrative.

Currently, this “groupthink” and Matrix Management phenomena would seem to be at play in the proceedings reported so far, in the management of Lawer X.

In our civilised society, we are inclined to support the theories of English Jurist William Blackstone in 1760;

“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.

This principle should equally apply to Police, Lawyers and the public.

The suffering of innocents must stop.