Officers speak out on dysfunction within Victoria Police
SERVING and recently retired police officers have spoken out about the dysfunction within Victoria Police that is demoralising members and emboldening criminals.
Police command's obsession with risk minimisation has weakened the authority of officers and created an unhealthy culture where fear of complaints is top of mind for those serving on the frontline. The crims know that a complaint can cause considerable stress and potentially damage the career prospects of a police officer.
One can understand why a police officer who has gone through the process once or seen a colleague endure the ordeal would allow it to affect their decision making.
It appears that the process is the punishment. Even if an officer is ultimately cleared, the stress of an investigation plus the possible reputational damage can have a lasting effect.
There were also concerns from veteran officers about the standard of some of Victoria Police's newest recruits and whether entry standards have been relaxed to increase numbers and diversity.
But what came through most strongly was an overwhelming sense of frustration from those serving at the coalface who feel that management do not have their backs, that the upper echelons of the force have a preoccupation with politics and public image that is damaging the ethos of the force.
Here is a sample of the communication (names have been removed to protect the infuriated).
Seventeen-year veteran writes: "When I joined, I was proud and knew with certainty that the vast majority of men and women I worked with were capable physically and absolutely worthy to pull on the uniform. Many men and women recruited now have the presence and authority of mild mannered accountants at best. This is policing in 2019. Scared and feeble. The men and women who are not … are just scared to get a complaint."
Once bitten, twice shy writes: "Force command are complaint statistics obsessed. If I use force, a complaint is made, I get investigated (which I have been) then why would I ever use force again? Here lies the problem. The crooks know all they have to do is make a formal complaint and it will be investigated. I never use excessive force, but being investigated is not pleasant and the way you are then treated by your local area commander because 'you have driven the complaint stats up' really makes you just want to sit back, smile and finish your shift."
Acting Sergeant writes:..