Friday, May 12, 2017
A QUEENSLAND cop who used the official police database to share a Gold Coast mum’s home address with her former husband who was bound by a restraining order – and then joked about it – has avoided the sack.
Almost nine months after The Courier-Mail revealed the shocking allegations, an internal affairs police investigation has determined Brisbane Senior Constable Neil Punchard should receive “disciplinary sanctions”, but it is understood he was not suspended.
The terrified woman, who has been forced to move house, said she was disgusted by the decision and has now appealed to the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee to review the case. She has also sought an urgent meeting with State MP Shannon Fentiman, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.
The Ethical Standards Command investigation ruled that the allegations against Sen-Constable Punchard were substantiated and imposed “disciplinary sanctions”, but in a statement refused to tell The Courier-Mail what those sanctions were.
After learning the woman’s address, Sen-Constable Punchard joked with his mate via text message about how she would “flip out” when she discovered she had been tracked down.
It comes just a week after another police officer, caught using the QPRIME database to look up netball star Laura Geitz out of curiosity, pleaded guilty to computer hacking charges and was fined $4000.
The Gold Coast mother-of-three whose file was accessed by Sen-Constable Punchard said it beggared belief that the two officers received such vastly different punishments.
“How is it that an officer can look up a netball player and get criminally charged and another who has completely betrayed my trust is not subjected to further investigation?” she said.
“He should be facing criminal charges. “I feel like the safety of myself and my family is now at risk.”
Ms Fentiman said no one deserved to have their privacy and safety threatened. “Any breach of trust by someone tasked with protecting domestic violence victims is completely unacceptable,” she said.
Posted by JR at 2:47 PM
A SENIOR officer has called for a sweeping inquiry into the Queensland Police Service, saying gross management failures have left criminals laughing and police too scared to do their jobs.
Senior Sergeant Phil Notaro has apologised to Queenslanders, saying the police service is failing them but managers, not officers on the beat, are to blame.
He says morale in the service is lower now than during the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and it’s time the government opened a broad-ranging inquiry to stop the rot coming from the top down.
“I think we need an inquiry into mismanagement by the QPS hierarchy. The leaders of the organisation have to be held accountable, because we are failing the people of Queensland,” Snr Sgt Notaro writes in the Queensland Police Union journal.
He said a restructure of the service had been a dismal failure and had not achieved any of its objectives.
“What were once police districts with a District officer have now become merely patrol groups that are totally leaderless. The bosses have lost contact with the frontline,” he wrote.
He says the restructure’s only success was to save the government money, after more than 100 experienced officers took redundancy packages. Snr Sgt Notaro also savaged Queensland’s pursuit policy, saying it’s given criminals “a green light to do what they please when they please without fear of retribution”.
Asked about the stinging criticism, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the restructure referred to by Snr Sgt Notaro happened under the former state government.
“I think if he does have those concerns, he should refer them to the CCC (Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland),” the premier told the Nine Network.
“I’ve been right across this state speaking to police officers and honestly, they have had a lot of opportunities to speak to me about that if that was their concern.”
Snr Sgt Notaro’s comments echo those of the Queensland Police Union, which has railed against the no-pursuits policy, claiming it has made Queensland roads more dangerous.
“The current no-pursuits policy in Queensland has been a complete disaster. Police are no longer allowed to pursue offenders which means criminals have the green light to run from police,” acting union president Shayne Maxwell said in January.
Snr Sgt Notaro also attacked the police service’s discipline system, saying it can take up to four years to resolve cases against officers.
Police don’t have enough vehicles, and a crackdown on access to information, led by Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, was seeing police charged with offences such as computer hacking, he said. “We are now told we should not be curious. Every check we do may be scrutinised,” he said.
Snr Sgt Notaro said police were frustrated and too scared to do their job. “All I can say to the people of Queensland is ‘sorry’. We at the coal face are doing all we can. We at the union are doing all we can. But someone needs to be held accountable,” he wrote.
“I don’t see there is any choice (but to hold another inquiry). The QPS has been mismanaged and it’s falling down around us.”
QPS Commissioner Ian Stewart is scheduled to address the claims in a media conference at 2pm.
Posted by JR at 2:45 PM
Friday, April 28, 2017
Queensland police 'soliciting' victims to withdraw complaints in bid to cut crime rate, report finds
Police are "soliciting" victims to withdraw complaints in an effort to keep a lid on rising crime rates, Queensland's auditor-general has found.
The auditor's report says pressure from the police hierarchy to cut crime rates has left the Queensland Police Service (QPS) "open to claims of manipulation".
The ABC revealed in January that two police crime managers on the Gold Coast had raised concerns legitimate crime reports were being labelled "unfounded" to keep offences off the books.
Their allegations were passed onto the Queensland auditor-general after their superiors failed to act on their complaints.
In a report about criminal justice data tabled in Parliament, the Audit Office said police crime statistics were "questionable at best and unreliable at worst, and should be treated with caution".
The report focused on the Gold Coast police district, finding officers there used various methods to try to get victims to withdraw their complaints.
The methods included "soliciting victims to withdraw complaints" and sending victims letters requiring them to respond within seven days.
If they failed to respond, police would "presume" they wanted the complaint withdrawn.
The complaints related to offences including assault, burglary, stealing and wilful damage.
"Our analysis of statewide crime statistics indicates that the inappropriate practices and attitudes identified on the Gold Coast regarding changes to crime data are unlikely to be isolated to that district," the report stated.
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan told the ABC inappropriate police conduct would be investigated. "I would say to anyone who feels like they've been inappropriately contacted by police to let us know. There is a complaints process," he said. "We expect the highest standards, the very highest standards from our Queensland police.
"If there are shortcomings in those behaviours in respect of any aspect of their role, then those shortcomings will be investigated and we will hold those officers to the highest standards."
The latest QPS crime figures reveal the rates of assault, fraud, robbery and unlawful entry on the Gold Coast in 2016 rose from the year before.
Police detective turned criminologist Terry Goldsworthy believes the concerns raised by the auditor-general should be referred to the state's Crime and Corruption Commission.
"It's not just the fact it's sloppy bookkeeping. What's seen here suggests there's been deliberate manipulation. In other words, a process has been undertaken to mislead," he said.
Posted by JR at 2:49 PM
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Former police commissioner Kel Glare says he's prepared to be labelled "mongrel of the month" by saying Victoria Police has "lost the plot" when it comes to crime prevention.
Mr Glare says the "crime tsunami" hitting Victoria wouldn't have happened under his watch.
"When it comes down to it, we need a radical change from what we are seeing now," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"Victoria Police has withdrawn most or if not all of their crime preventative measures."
The Community Advocacy Alliance, which Mr Glare heads, released its Plan 100 for law and order in the Victoria on Wednesday with the backing of opposition leader Matthew Guy.
It focuses on crime prevention through programs for youth and making the victim the centre of the justice system.
Mr Glare was the state's chief commissioner from 1987 to 1992.
Posted by JR at 2:50 PM
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Qld. Police 'too busy' to answer TWO domestic violence calls for help as 'woman is repeatedly knocked to the ground
<i>The Gold Coast cops are notorious. They were probably just sitting in front of their computers</i>
A Gold Coast man who twice called police to report domestic violence was both times told officers were 'too busy'.
A man, only identified as Marcus, had been walking along Surf Parade just after midnight earlier this month when he saw a man and woman fighting. Footage taken on his phone and shared with 7 News showed the man push the woman down, and grab her handbag when she didn't get up.
He says he made two phone calls to police - one at 12.32am and one at 12.49am, each lasting about two minutes.
Each time, he says he was told officers could not immediately attend as they were busy. 'To get the reply that I got was just beyond belief,' he said.
The video also shows Marcus approach the woman and ask if she is okay. 'Yeah I'm okay, please just keep walking, please,' she responded. 'I could tell that she was scared that her life might have been in danger,' Marcus told the broadcaster. 'I waited a further 20 minutes and no police arrived.'
A spokesperson for Queensland Police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia no officers were available on the night to attend the scene immediately.
'Police were tasked to several other urgent jobs, and a primary response unit was not immediately available,' they said. 'A crew was tasked at 1.58am and patrolled the area shortly afterwards.'
John-Paul Langbroek, the Member for Parliament for Surfers Paradise, told 7 News it was an issue that required an investigation. 'No-one should ever be told when you ring 000 we're too busy to help you,' he said.
Posted by JR at 7:13 PM
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Two Victoria Police officers who allegedly assaulted a pair of teens and lied about it are expected to front court in Melbourne.
Senior Constables Simon Mareangareu and Dennis Gundrill face charges of assault, false imprisonment, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice over an altercation involving two teenage boys near a Vermont convenience store on Christmas Day 2014.
The pair are expected in Melbourne Magistrates' Court for a committal hearing on Tuesday.
Court documents allege the officers deleted a video and audio recording from a mobile phone belonging to one of the teens, made a false statement and compiled false evidence against the teenage boys.
Among seven witnesses listed to testify is the father of one of the boys.
Mareangareu, 52, and Gundrill, 58, were initially charged with assault, but conversations between the OPP and Professional Standards Command found it would also be appropriate to lay other charges, police have previously said.
Posted by JR at 7:12 PM
Saturday, April 15, 2017
AN Australian Federal Police agent is claiming $10.3 million in damages from the organisation for allegedly seeking reprisal against him after he became a whistleblower.
AFP agent Bradley Turner, 37, who is on worker’s compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through Comcare, is suing the AFP in the Federal Court of Australia for allegedly breaching the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act.
The Act was introduced in 2013 to encourage public officials to report suspected wrongdoing in the Australian public sector and to "offer protection to ‘whistleblowers’ from reprisal action".
But Mr Turner said the organisation failed to abide by the Act when he reported "government sanctioned ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and corruption" to the AFP in Lae, Papua New Guinea, while he was deployed there in 2013-14.
The AFP members deployed to PNG under the International Deployment Group are based there as advisers and mentors to PNG Police and don’t have powers to enforce laws.
According to Mr Turner, AFP responded to his reports of PNG Police misconduct by leading "constant internal investigations into (him) for being a whistleblower", and allegedly tried to "ruin (his) reputation" by discrediting him.
"When I told internal affairs their investigation was illegal because I had protections under the Act, I was told ‘we don’t give a sh*t about that, you spoke out and will be dealt with," Mr Turner told news.com.au.
"They told other AFP members not to talk to me, you name it, they went for the jugular".
A spokesperson for the AFP told news.com.au the organisation "does not comment on matters that are the subject of court proceedings".
AFP officer Brad Turner in Lae during his deployment.
AFP officer Brad Turner in Lae during his deployment.Source:Supplied
Mr Turner said he was "suing the AFP for $10.3 million" with the "largest component of that (being) 30 years worth of salary".
"My career is effectively over," he said.
"I can’t go back to the AFP for having been a whistleblower.
"The reprisals against me brought about my PTSD and made it worse."
Mr Turner said the incidents he reported took place in crime hotspot Lae, the capital of the country’s second-largest province, as exclusively revealed by news.com.au.
"We were witnessing ethnic cleansing and some murders (by PNG Police) ... stuff like shooting unarmed civilians ... and it was being covered up (by the AFP) ... because of political interests in PNG ... including the asylum seeker resettlement deal on Manus," Mr Turner said.
In a previous statement, an AFP spokesperson said the organisation "does not have the jurisdiction to conduct investigations in Papua New Guinea".
"The AFP received a large amount of material from (Mr Turner) in both July 2015 and September 2015 relating to a number of matters during his deployment in PNG during 2013 and 2014," the spokesperson said.
"The AFP reviewed this material and did not identify any matters requiring further action by the AFP.
"The AFP has not received any reports from AFP members deployed to PNG alleging that they have observed Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary officers involved in murders."
Mr Turner said he provided witness reports, including photographs, about violence and murders in Lae to AFP management but alleged they weren’t included in the weekly reports sent by the organisation in PNG to Canberra.
"The AFP should have briefed government who then could have applied pressure through AusAID or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading," he said.
At one point, Mr Turner was under investigation for the murder of a PNG local in custody but was later cleared after the AFP found there was no evidence to support the claim.
Mr Turner said he has been unable to work since returning to Australia because of his PTSD.
"When I returned home, I put my hand up for help, and they (AFP) went after me hammer and tong," he said.
He said the AFP "fought tooth and nail" to prevent him from getting his Comcare claim approved although it was eventually accepted.
"The claim was eventually approved due to the weight of evidence that I was able to provide to Comcare such as medical reports, photographic evidence of traumatic incidences and my outstanding performance evaluation which specifically mentioned several incidences," he said.
"What worries me is how many officers from PNG put in claims and got knocked back.
"I had photographic evidence which helped me, it’s highly unlikely everyone else has that as well.
"I would never have gotten PTSD if the reporting from Lae was not sanitised and if the AFP had conducted a proper investigation into it instead of continuing the cover up."
The case has been to the Australian Federal Court for mention with both parties expected to attend a hearing on May 15 if not settled prior.
Mr Turner is one of almost 100 AFP Agents, past and present, who have come forward about a mental health crisis within the organisation, after it was exposed by news.com.au.
The whistleblowers have shared their concerns over bullying, the wellbeing of members and inadequate welfare support within the organisation after an agent took her own life at the AFP Melbourne headquarters last month.
Following news.com.au’s reports, the Australian National Audit Office has ordered an audit "to examine the effectiveness of the AFP in managing the mental health of its employees" and is currently taking submissions from the public. The Australian Federal Police Association is also pushing senators for an inquiry into the AFP.
Posted by JR at 7:19 PM
Friday, April 14, 2017
<i>So all the people who reported being robbed and assaulted by Africans were colour-blind? Give us a break! Victoria police are notorious for cover-ups so the report below should be taken with a shaker full of salt. But you can to some extent read between the lines. Take this neat little utterance:
</i>"Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said<i>
Maybe they were. But who were their parents? Africans?
In any case, the problem is African crime, not one particular gang. And African crime is huge in Melbourne, as it is wherever there are Africans</i>
Victoria Police have declared the Apex crime gang a "non-entity" saying it is no longer and never was predominantly African.
Giving evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said at its peak the gang consisted of about 130 people who loosely claimed to be members.
He said it was now in recession and was not made up of one or two ethnicities, but from people from a range of backgrounds. "Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said
Police said they now believed they had "broken the back" of the gang. "We have charged the leaders of that gang and imprisoned them," he said. "We would call them a non-entity in terms of a gang."
The spectre of Apex came to prominence at the Moomba riots in 2016, when youths ran amok in the CBD and thrust the idea of migrant crime to the forefront.
In its first incarnation, the gang was named after a Dandenong Street and was made up of South Sudanese and Pacific Islanders.
The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal MP, and former police officer, Jason Wood who has been outspoken about the so-called threat of Apex and migrant crime gangs in Melbourne and called for the Federal Government to crack down.
However, the inquiry heard after the Moomba riots it morphed into an all encompassing group loosely linked through social media.
Deputy Commissioner Patton said the carjackings, home invasions and jewellery store robberies that have plagued Melbourne are being carried out by criminals from all backgrounds. "Over 50 per cent of them are Australians," he repeated when questioned by Mr Wood.
Commander of Victoria Police's anti-gangs division, Peter De Santo, said there may be "some remnants" of the Apex gang but they have morphed into "networked offending" linked by social media.
He added that Middle Eastern crime gangs had recruited some "disadvantaged youth" but it was the exception to the rule.
Posted by JR at 7:15 PM
Friday, March 17, 2017
<i>The police behaviour throughout this case has been unsatisfactory. The courts have identified instances of that. Even more unsatisfactory is the repeated refusal of the authorities to look for the real murderers after the flimsy case against Lloyd Rayney was thrown out.
It all stinks of a frameup. And there is a motive for a frameup. At the time of his arrest Lloyd Rayney was involved in a Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry into the misconduct of police officers in a murder investigation. Did the cops want to get him off their backs and preferably put him away for a long time?</i>
The day police stormed into the home of Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney to arrest him over the murder of his estranged wife has been described by his mother as "terrorism".
Molly Rayney testified for the first time in the WA Supreme Court on Wednesday during her son's multimillion-dollar defamation trial against the state government.
The 77-year-old was at her son's house in September 2007 when she heard banging at the front door and garage for several minutes.
At first, Mrs Rayney thought it was someone seeking refuge or a teenage prank, adding she never heard the doorbell ring or police sirens.
"There was no request or demands to be let in," she said in her statement. "The whole time the banging was going on but no one was identifying who it was or saying anything at all."
Mrs Rayney said she felt intimidated by the loud banging and terrified.
"They eventually forced the doors open and stormed in. I then realised it was the police," she said. "If they had rung the doorbell or knocked normally on the front door, I would have let them in. "I felt this was a sheer act of intimidation and terrorism.
"I have had nightmares about this incident since that day and the sound of the banging rings in my ears. "I have always had great trust in the police but this has just thrown me."
Under cross-examination, Mrs Rayney was asked why she did not call police if she was so scared. "When you are terrified you don't actually have all your faculties," she replied.
Hours after Mr Rayney was arrested, Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Lee named him the prime and only suspect in the murder of Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney, who was found buried head-first in Kings Park a month earlier.
Mr Rayney has denied showing resistance to police during their investigation.
A video of his interview with police was previously played to the court in which he refused to answer questions about his wife's death, citing the legal advice he had received.
Mr Rayney was acquitted of murdering the mother-of-two in 2012 and an appeal was dismissed in 2013.
Prominent barrister Linda Black, who knew the couple, cried on Wednesday as she testified about theories she considered when her friend went missing. She said one theory was Ms Rayney took her own life, but she was a good mother and would not have done that to her children.
"It's horrible reading that now (in my statement) knowing what happened to her," she said.
Posted by JR at 7:18 PM
Friday, February 17, 2017
ONE of the police officers accused of snooping at the personal file of a former bikini model has previously been convicted of the bashing of an elderly homeless man in Brisbane.
Former model-turned justice crusader Renee Eaves last month launched a lawsuit with the District Court of Queensland, amid allegations her personal QPRIME file was accessed 1400 times.
Police officers are only allowed to access the files during the course of work and some have faced disciplinary action or even criminal charges for unauthorised access.
In the lawsuit, Ms Eaves names five individual officers, including Constable Benjamin Arndt, who was convicted over the 2006 bashing of Brisbane homeless man Bruce Rowe.
Constable Arndt, who had originally been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation, was eventually fined $1000 over the assault and lost a subsequent appeal.
Ms Eaves, whose own criminal history contains little more than the odd traffic offence, says she has been forced to move house amid fears hundreds of Queensland police officers had accessed her personal information, including her home address.
She is seeking $400,000 in damages.
Posted by JR at 7:22 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2017
<i>This appears to be the tip of the iceberg at Ballarat. There have been other accusations of police thuggery there</i>
Two police officers have been charged with assault and stood down from operational duties after a damning IBAC report into an alleged excessive use of force at Ballarat police station.
A drunk off-duty colleague was allegedly stripped, kicked and stomped-on in custody, an Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission report revealed last year.
An IBAC hearing into police conduct in Ballarat has been shown CCTV footage of the abuse of a female police officer arrested for drunkenness.
Footage shows her drinking from the toilet, allegedly after the officers refused to give her water.
When it released its report in November last year IBAC recommended police consider whether assault charges should be laid in relation to the incident.
A female leading senior constable has been charged with one count of assault and a male senior constable with two counts of assault, Victoria Police said in a statement released on Thursday.
Both officers are from the Western region.
The charges relate to an alleged assault that occurred at Ballarat police station in January 2015. The members have been transferred to non-operational duties, Victoria Police's statement said.
In November, IBAC released a report into allegations of excessive use of force by several people at Ballarat police station.
A serving police officer, Yvonne Berry, was arrested before allegedly being stood on and kicked inside the station's cells.
"IBAC's Operation Ross exposed the concerning casual disregard and at times alarming mistreatment of a vulnerable woman in Ballarat police custody that was captured on CCTV," IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said when the report was released.
"Importantly, Operation Ross also revealed broader systemic issues and missed opportunities by Victoria Police to address similar patterns of conduct at the station."
Both police officers will appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 6.
Posted by JR at 7:24 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2017
An outback Queensland police officer has avoided a conviction for pulling a gun on a speeding motorist while he was suffering from PTSD
Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan was on Friday fined $1500 for assaulting motorist Lee Povey outside Longreach in May 2015.
Flanagan was captured on dash-cam video screaming "f***ing pull over now, c***" and drew his gun on Mr Povey as he threatened to "put a f***ing hole in you".
The 46-year-old officer was in December 2016 found guilty of common assault and deprivation of liberty by Brisbane Magistrate Paul Kluck.
Mr Kluck found Flanagan was motivated by his condition and anger rather than a belief that Mr Povey had a gun or that the car was stolen.
But the court heard on Friday it was not uncommon for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to be unaware they have the condition or the extremity of their reactions.
Prosecutor Jodie Wooldridge said Flanagan's behaviour had a "significant" impact on Mr Povey, who feared his complaint about a gun-wielding police officer would not be taken seriously. "It was an abuse of trust that had been placed in him by the Queensland police service and the community," Ms Wooldridge said.
Barrister Stephen Zillman said Flanagan, who has been a police officer since he was 19, would find himself on the "employment scrapheap" if he lost his job over the incident. "That's been his life," Mr Zillman said.
Mr Kluck said he would not record a conviction but it was up to the police disciplinary board if Flanagan kept his job.
Flanagan is appealing the guilty finding.
Posted by JR at 7:27 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2017
A FORMER senior police officer believes a culture of fear within the force is creating "horrible and tragic" outcomes because officers only act "when their hand is forced".
The former cop, who served for 20 years in Victoria Police, said he didn't blame frontline police for not taking action in some circumstances because they were lashed by the public when things went wrong.
Police tactics - in particular around the pursuit of vehicles - has been hotly debated since Dimitrious `Jimmy' Gargasoulas, 26, allegedly killed five people on January 20 by running them down in a car in Melbourne's CBD. Police had been trying to capture him for 16 hours before the deaths in Bourke St Mall.
Much of the dismay has been directed at why the accused driver wasn't boxed in or forced from the road before he arrived in the city centre. The police union has claimed senior officers twice refused permission to ram Gargasoulas.
"The police are not really to blame for their failure to take action. It is the hierarchy and community that has created a police force that is afraid of negative consequences and punishment if they make the wrong call - so situations are allowed to escalate to a point where their hand is forced, so to speak," the former cop said.
He drew parallels with the hostage crisis in Sydney's Martin Place in December 2014.
"A similar case was the Lindt cafe in Sydney where once again the police took no action until a hostage had been shot," he said. "You only have to look at what is said about police every time there is a shooting."
The officer, who asked not to be identified, told news.com.au the "horrible and tragic outcomes" happened because "our police" were too afraid to take action.
"There needs to be greater community discussion about what we expect from our police. Night courts have been tried before and didn't help, we have police in armoured trucks and dressed like soldiers already and that cannot be the answer if the police feel powerless to act until a person has died."
The former Melbourne detective said risk aversion was nothing new and really began to creep in during the 1990s when Project Beacon was introduced. The aim of Project Beacon was to retrain all Victoria Police officers in alternatives to firing their guns, where protection of human life was the number one priority. It was brought about because of a rising number of fatal police shootings.
Under the "Safety First Philosophy" the success of an operation was primarily judged on the extent to which the use of force is avoided or minimised, according to a report by the Victorian police watchdog the Office of Public Integrity.
"It really started way back then. In response to the outcry over the police shootings, frontline police were trained to stand back and wait... basically do nothing until reinforcements and specially trained police arrived. That culture against risk really started more than 20 years ago and is ingrained throughout the force.
"It's very difficult on frontline police who see what needs to be done but are stopped from doing so in case all the armchair experts whack them for making the wrong call."
Deputy Victoria Police Commissioner Andrew Crisp told media on Wednesday there had to be a balance between protecting the community and its members and officers would not pursue offenders driving on the wrong side of the road or at high speed.
He said real-life pursuits are not like they are in the movie Lethal Weapon where, when cars are shot at, the driver dies and the car stops immediately.
"It's extremely difficult to shoot at a moving vehicle. It's even more difficult to hit a tyre ... the vehicle will not stop, it will travel forward," he told reporters.
"There's every likelihood we might miss the vehicle and who knows where that round or those rounds might go."
He denied Victoria Police was soft on crime. "We are not a risk averse organisation. We attend critical incidents day in and day out and we resolve those incidents. If you want to talk about being risk averse then I will talk about safety, and it is critical our members go home every day."
He was "extremely disappointed" an email he sent to members last September was reported this week in the media as a "directive". In fact, he said, it was a "safety message" following an increase in offenders ramming police vehicles.
The email told officers not to shoot at or intercept stolen or suspect cars. "Plan your approach and response when intercepting a stolen or suspect vehicle - time is on your side," the email read, as published by the Herald Sun on Wednesday.
Victoria's police union said there is "burning anger" among officers in the wake of the Bourke Street rampage over policies they believe prevent them from intercepting "drug-crazed lunatics".
"Our members' views around the current pursuit policy range from great disappointment to burning anger," Police Association of Victoria assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said.
"The current pursuit policy handcuffs them considerably when it ought to be our members who are handcuffing the drug-crazed lunatics that seem to be appearing on our streets."
Posted by JR at 7:29 PM
Sunday, January 22, 2017
<i>A Victorian reader comments as follows on the recent car rampage in Melbourne described below:
"All those cars stopped at intersection, male drivers watching him wheelying around swerving at and trying to hit pedestrians on the footpath, and no one rammed him to stop him, and even the police in their vehicles stayed back.
This is a city unguarded. I remember when there were always four police officers on duty at this intersection – two directing traffic in synch with the traffic lights and two standing on the Young and Jackson’s corner. There were also two officers at most other city intersections, and pairs of officers walking the city. I remember when there were police weather booths in Swanston St. I remember when you could look around and see a police officer almost anywhere in the city, and they interacted with the public.
Now no police walk the city. Police park marked police vehicles around the city, mostly in Swanston Street near McDonalds and leave them there around the clock, coming in groups to move them occasionally, fancying that their cars left there makes it look like there are police officers around, but everyone knows there are no police around, just locked police cars"</i>
A HEAVILY pregnant mother caught up in the Melbourne CBD car ramming attack that left four people dead and many more injured has told how it was "obvious (the driver) was going to kill".
Meesha Rhodes Ali, 31, and her brother Ian Rhodes, 33, were travelling together in a car when they stopped at the front of Flinders and Swanson St intersection traffic lights. Within seconds they were stuck in an unwanted front seat to the horrifying events that unfolded outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street station yesterday.
Four people, including a 10 year old child — were killed and 15 injured when accused Dimitrious "Jimmy" Gargasoulas deliberately ploughed the allegedly stolen car he was driving into crowds in the CBD.
Ms Rhodes Ali said the maroon car suddenly screeched towards her, nearly wiping out pedestrians on "every corner of the road", before the driver moved into the centre of the intersection and started doing "burnouts".
"Every time he moved he was endangering bystanders and swiped them on every path he drove on," Ms Rhodes Ali said.
"He turned right into me. So I screeched my brakes and he missed my car right in front of me.
"Then I quickly reversed as he did doughnuts. The burnout was so sudden. I kept inching back."
Many pedestrians were struck by a car that was deliberately driven into Melbourne crowds. Picture: Tony Gough
Many pedestrians were struck by a car that was deliberately driven into Melbourne crowds. Picture: Tony GoughSource:News Corp Australia
Ms Rhodes Ali said Gargasoulas suddenly "stopped right in front of us".
"A few pedestrians at that point had already tried to stop him," she said. "One man had a bat. (Gargasoulas) was provoking the guy with a cricket bat. He was like ‘come on come on’, gesturing him to come. "I thought to get my camera out but worried he would see me and smash my car."
Ms Rhodes Ali recorded the ordeal on her camera and later uploaded the footage to social media. The driver can be seen hanging out the window of the car, yelling and gesturing wildly as the car continues moving. "We heard him say ‘f*** the world, you’re all sheep, die die die’," she said.
She said the driver appeared to be "on a mission to just cause damage".
Ms Rhodes Ali said she was devastated when she later learned the driver had ploughed into more crowds and killed four people including a man and woman in their 30s and a 10-year-old child. The Australian Jewish News is reporting that the 10-year-old victim was a student from Beth Rivkah College in St Kilda East.
Gargasoulas, who was shot in the arm by officers after a 12-hour rampage, is being treated in hospital.
He will be charged with multiple homicides after four people were confirmed dead and 15 injured, with several of them still in a critical condition. Among the victims fighting for their lives is a three-month-old baby girl who was taken to the Royal Childrens Hospital by police officers. She is in a critical condition. There is also a toddler in serious condition at the hospital and a nine-year-old is in a stable condition.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the incident was not terror-related but was linked to a stabbing that took place in Windsor early Friday morning involving parties known to one another.
Posted by JR at 8:50 PM