editor’s note: The below was received from a veteran member of Melbourne’s press corps. The opening paragraph will explain why the writer has requested and been granted the privilege of a pseudonym.
A colleague once edited one of Melbourne’s papers and editorialised about deficiencies in the way Victoria Police was going about its business. The details of his particular gripe aren’t important. It was 20 years ago and scandals big and small have come and gone since then. What is vital to consider is what happened as a result of his crusading: there was often a policeman with a Breathalyzer waiting at his driveway. Quadrant Online readers will perhaps understand why this essay’s call for a royal commission into Victoria Police is appearing under a made-up name.
Where shall I begin? How about a simple laundry list of recent policing travesties:
- The naked partisanship of Operation Tethering, the investigation of Cardinal Pell? As even the ABC noted, that probe was launched before a single complaint had been received.
- Or what about those breath tests? Police were caught red-handed dummying results to make themselves appear more productive. By one estimate, as many as one million tests may have been faked.
- What about the apparent conflict of interest when allegations of misconduct are raised and Victoria Police investigates itself?
- The “spinning” of crime, rather than combatting it. Melbourne residents, some of whom now keep baseball bats by their beds, have been grimly amused by the top brass’ seeming inability to decide if African crime gangs actually exist or, rather, if attacks on jewelry stores, rampaging riots, carjackings and push-in midnight robberies are unfortunate manifestations of white society’s collective racism.
- The ongoing debacle surrounding speeding fines: True, they are issued and handled by other government department, VicRoads and FinesVic, but each notice of penalty bears the authorising signature of a senior Victoria Police officer. Problems involving fine notices and payments not being recorded have been common knowledge for some time. Why is Victoria Police endorsing and enforcing a system it knows to be broken?
- Reluctance to uniformly uphold the law: Petrol stations have been plagued for years by thieves who fill their tanks and drive off without paying. Until just two weeks ago, police refused to investigate these cases, claiming they were civil disputes, not criminal.
- Refusal to defend property: In Werribee, in one of several such incidents that have spanned Melbourne, African youths rented a house for a party, trashed it and pelted arriving police with rocks and bottles. The police did nothing for several hours — nothing except dodge missiles while neighbouring residents cowered in fear and the street was trashed.
I could go on, but you get the idea — minus, that is, the greatest violation of public trust Victoria Police have yet demonstrated: siding with thugs intent on destroying the right to free speech.
As has been widely reported, Victoria Police now work on the presumption that, if a visiting speaker annoys the rowdy Left, that visitor should be made to pay for the privilege of speaking. The promoters of Milo Yiannopolous’ January tour were obliged to pay $50,000 for the police who turned out to protect his audience from the SMS-a-mob summoned via social media to harass, abuse and spit upon paying guests.
To their shame, the mainstream media ignored this outrageous imposition. If Milo had been a blue-haired radical lesbian denouncing patriarchal oppression, would the organisers of such an event have been saddled with extra costs? Would the Age and ABC have decided there was nothing in those police charges that warranted reporting and commentary? Doubtful.
Victoria Police must have thought it a neat way to silence people its political masters in Spring Street’s Labor government don’t like, so now they are pulling the same stunt once more with visiting speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who also just happen to be on the right.
It’s one thing to have garden-variety corruption in an organisation. A change of leadership and better management can change that, as Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton demonstrated in New York..
It is quite another to see such a body go one step further and direct the pointed end of its moral corruption against the most fundamental liberty any and all of us possess: the right to free speech. In charging the promoters of Yiannopoulos, Southern and Molyneux, Victoria Police are in effect siding with the anarchists and thugs. How can that be denied? The mob seeks to silence speech and the police put another obstacle in the way of its exercise.
There is an election in Victoria later this year. Were the Liberal opposition of Matthew Guy to campaign for a royal commission into policing in this state, his party just might pick up some votes.
That is, of course, if Victoria’s alleged conservatives have the ticker to denounce the trashing of the law. They do a lot of random breath testing these days.