As reported in the Herald Sun on April 18, 2024, Victoria Police bemoaned the impact on resources caused by the outbreak of demonstrations in the city.

Ten thousand shifts of Police keeping the broader community safe have been redirected to managing the epidemic of demonstrations currently in vogue.

While we empathise with the current Force perspective, much of the current issues have been caused by the police themselves.

As we have consistently argued, applying law and order must be consistent and not influenced by ideology. Inconsistency breeds contempt.

The continuing ideological bias is blatantly apparent.

This bias became evident in the lead-up to and during COVID-19 and continues today, so why are we surprised Melbourne is the Demo Capital of Australia?

Failure to act decisively when a new issue attracts demonstrations and then failing to be consistent not only promotes more demonstrations, as is the case in Victoria, but the broader public sees through the spin and police respect further declines along with support.

‘They are the Police; how come they can’t fix it’ is a growing question within the community as frustration builds.

The current impasse, which encompasses a number of Law and Order issues, including the ‘Youth Crisis,’ is adding to the loss of respectability and confidence in our Police as a consequence of COVID responses.

There are two aspects to this article: police resourcing and police capability.

On police resourcing, the press article tries to deflect the blame for police management’s lack of capacity to respond to operational demands by blaming the demonstrators for not complying with police requests for information on proposed activities.

Finding excuses rather than solutions has become the police go-to position on various issues.


The need for pragmatic police management is now essential.

In the current crisis, how can resources be applied to a sexual complaint that allegedly happened over fifty years ago? We understand that considerable police resources are used to investigate historical events of this nature. Pragmatic leadership has two strategies at its disposal: pressuring the Government and encouraging public debate on a statute of limitations and, more effectively, intervention by police command to prioritise the allocation of resources.

It is time for a twenty-year statute of limitations to be applied to all historical crimes. The likelihood of safe convictions and the fallibility of human memory can lead to many hours of wasted police time, all while the state is faced with an imminent crime crisis.

A safeguard for victims in exceptional circumstances would allow them or the police to apply to a court to have the statute lifted on a case-by-case basis.

A fifty-year-old case versus stopping home invasions and curbing youth crime now; we know where the public sits on this conundrum.

Victoria Police have to develop the chutzpah to say no and prioritise resources.

Gathering data for other agencies is another resource black hole.


As the article argues, 10,000 hours were lost at the local level, but why must it be at the local level? Why is our frontline carrying the brunt of the Policing load?

There is a significant number of non-operational and operational support police who should be called upon before the stations start to lose shifts. They are all sworn Police officers.

Or is it just lazy management finding it more accessible to bleed staff from the stations?

Losing a day here or there from the support areas would not significantly impact many police functions, and the weight can be lifted from the stations.

The lack of planning to develop a surge capacity for VicPol is a blatant management failure and must be addressed.


Developing a Force Reserve would be cost-effective, operationally sound, and a significant step toward solving the staffing crisis.

VicPol must be asked the question: What would happen if another significant incident occurred during a major demonstration? What is plan B?

Overriding this issue, publicly exposing resourcing matters is not the best idea we have seen, as no doubt any terrorist cell plotting insurrection now knows when to strike.


Police capability and the government’s role in ensuring police have the tools to be effective have been significant issues.

The Premier was asked about this, and her response was;

  “The Victorian government will not be following in the footsteps of NSW by implementing a permit system for mass gatherings.”

“Victoria Police have the tools and the resources to respond to these activities,” she said.

“(They are) demonstrating that they have the tools,” she said.

If the Premier believes VicPol has the tools, why aren’t they being used?

The permit system works well in other jurisdictions and is not designed to prevent the right to demonstrate but to prevent unruly mobs from disrupting the community.

This position on permits exposes the government’s inability to govern for all Victorians and not pander to a few: ideology usurping pragmatism, a common and distinctly modern political trait.

If the government won’t reinstate the ‘move on laws’ and introduce a ‘permit system’ for demonstrations, the disruption and the police’s failure to act decisively, even if their ideology is controlled, must be at the government’s feet.

Strong statements must come from Victoria Police so the community is informed.

Doing away with blame-shifting might be an excellent start to rebuild confidence.