How ya’ going? An Acting Senior Sergeant from Victoria Police came out to independent media yesterday citing growing concerns on the ethics of the State’s Police Force. Sergeant Mitchell believes in the active right to protest and criticises the state Premier’s outlooks surrounding anti-protest sentiment.
This is especially hard for an officer to do in the current political climate. Not only is it breaching the Victoria Police constitution on remaining a-political, but it will also result in her instant dismissal. Sergeant Mitchell understands the consequences but decided to share her views as she could no longer ignore her moral compass.
She notes that of the hundreds of Police she’s spoken with, many are no longer comfortable with enforcing stay-at-home orders. Especially during the many anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne.
‘Of the Police that I’ve spoken to, and it’s been several-hundred… They do not believe that they should be enforcing these show-directions in the manner that we are enforcing them. A lot of members call in sick because they don’t want to be part of the protests.’
Mitchell, an officer for 16 years - points out the existence of bad actors on both sides. A minority of protesters are there solely to cause violence towards Police. Similarly, a small percentage of Police Officers are using excessive force willingly within protest environments. However, most protesters are simply there to practice peaceful protesting against the Andrews government.
The unfortunate reality is that these peaceful protestors (some families, elderly or children) are getting caught up within the carnage when the violence kicks off.
The conversation in the interview also touches on speculation surrounding increased Police aggression. Some Police may become more emboldened to act in excessive force due to the accepting voice/encouragement from the acting Premier during his press conferences. Mitchell considers the Victorian Police has at times, resembled a political arm of the current State government.
Additionally – many in the force believe they are in a difficult position when on patrol duties. No longer do families and children interact with Police like before. Prior, this gave the Police members and citizens alike - a positive culture in which children can learn who they could go to in an emergency.
Now, the larger numbers of Police in areas are causing intimidating and unintentional tension among citizens. Some Police note that most citizens now look away and deter from interaction at any cost.
Personally – I haven’t seen much in terms of Police around my area. I do, however, feel and understand the subtle paranoia most Melbourne folks are feeling. Getting home before a curfew or forgetting a mask outside makes me feel uncomfortable. Like the feeling you get walking past security outside a store, even though you haven’t stolen anything.
There are bad eggs on either side of the pan. However, I do believe in one’s right to protest, no matter what the context is. Unfortunately, a pandemic makes this difficult. But I wholeheartedly do not condone the use of Police violence upon peaceful protesters. The same goes for the violent protesters. I never thought I’d see this in Melbourne.
I hope the strange fever-dream comes to an end shortly. Though, I still think we have some way to go, yet.
You can watch the full interview here.
Anyway, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some tunes.