31st October 2019

The Police Veteran Support Victoria (PVSV) is a great initiative, although with a few minor tweaks, it could go further and greatly enhance the ethos of inclusiveness that Chief Commissioner Ashton spoke about during the launch of the Veterans Support Card, “they are still a part of the policing family”.

The Chief Commissioner should implement a protocol where a serving member, in uniform, one rank above a deceased veteran, is required to attend ALL retired member’s funerals to read the Police Ode (unless requested otherwise by the deceased’s family). As a mark of respect and recognition of that member’s service, the police flag should be provided to shroud the casket. Magnetic police badge decals for the doors of the hearse and a framed copy of the Ode for the family would complete the gesture.

Despatched with dignity.

This simple act would be managed by the regions, coordinated by the welfare services and implemented by the stations where the funeral was to take place.

The acknowledgement would incur a minimal cost, but the effect would be priceless. The goodwill and respect it would generate, especially within smaller communities, would be immense.

In most instances, a partner of a deceased veteran or their next of kin would appreciate their veterans’ service very much recognised. It is the partners of police members who hold the family together during the long hours they work, especially in times past. Particularly the old-time, one-man stations, where the wife of the local policeman was effectively an unpaid worker. Answering the phone, dealing with counter enquires, feeding the prisoners, dealing with female victims or children until a female member could get to the often remote location. They were unpaid, and their labours went mostly unrecognised.

Today, Victoria Police numbers include far more women in the job than there ever used to be, but there are still a great many veteran members that worked in the era where policewomen formed a very small percentage of the force’s strength, where if you got a vacancy at a one-man station, your wife was expected to be your unpaid helper.

Wherever a police member serves, their partners also live through their experiences, of the horror and the humour, the frustrations, exasperations and the fulfilment and satisfaction a police career brings,

With the advent of the Police Veterans Support Card, Chief Commissioner Ashton said, “Once a police officer leaves our organisation, they are very much still a part of the Victoria Police family, and they should continue to receive our support”. So shouldn’t that then extend to the final measure of support and respect you can pay to a police veteran?

This small gesture of showing respect to deceased veterans and their families as an organisation is one that would be humbly and greatly appreciated and would also very likely endear the member attending and the force, to all those even at the farewell of their loved one. What better way to show, ‘We Care’

Sometimes the simplest acts achieve the greatest impact.