Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Oz lets the truth slip out…

While the 'The Australian' newspaper is certainly no friend of your Old Uncle Victor, having verballed him more than once, and has been host to several extremely nasty 'journalists' over the years, they have occasionally given credence to the old adage that it is an ill wind that blows no good. The article reproduced below is about as honest an assessment of the recent 'Shoolia' incident as one could find in the lame-stream meeja.

'Softly softly' policy tangles up police
WHEN the dust finally settled on the Australia Day debacle in Canberra one thing was apparent: there were no winners. The Aboriginal cause suffered a huge body blow that will take years to repair, along with the reputation of the Australian Federal Police, which quite simply had a shocker.
The AFP's actions on that memorable day, or lack of actions, to be more precise, were in the finest traditions of the modern day British-Australian policing model, which is to avoid confrontation at all costs and give the impression of being in control when clearly they are not. In NSW during the past decade, we have had the lion's share of policing shockers: the Cronulla riots, the Redfern and Macquarie Fields riots, as well as The Chaser's internationally embarrassing venture during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in 2007.
But recently, things have changed here with the police now more willing to confront large protest groups and occasionally get down and dirty in breaking up illegal protests. But it appears the AFP and its management group is ready to take over as the nation's most inept police department. You didn't have to be an ex-cop to stare in disbelief at what unfolded on television screens as the Aboriginal "protest" turned into a mini riot and when the former turns into the latter, it is illegal and needs swift and determined action on the part of the police.
After the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader were bundled into their car and hurriedly driven off to safety, the police should have rounded up the ringleaders and anyone else police officers could identify as having committed a criminal offence. And there were plenty that I saw during the short television coverage. For instance, police officers being pushed about constitutes an assault. Those mugs should have been dragged from the scene and placed immediately in holding cells to be charged.
Those who attempted to get at Australia's Prime Minister and Opposition Leader as they attempted to get to their car should also have been rounded up on public disorder or affray charges. Then the ringleaders who whipped up the crowd with inflammatory speeches peppered with racist remarks, should be publicly paraded before being charged with inciting the riot and other criminal offences arising from the actions of those that they incited.
However I thought the real star of the afternoon was the anonymous senior police officer recorded by the media giving this gem of an interview shortly after the riot subsided. "We believe in being quite flexible in our policing actions with these people. . . We have no intention of arresting anyone for no unreasonable cause."
One hopes this bloke is not representative of the entire AFP policing structure -- maybe he was just filling in for the day and has now returned to his usual job in the AFP band, where he belongs. I just love the used of the word "flexible", which in policing parlance actually means impotent. What was more of a concern to me was his referral to the protesters as "these people". I got the sense some sort of edict has been passed from senior police management to the supervisors on the ground to be very "flexible" when dealing with Aboriginal protestors around the tent embassy. If that's the case, and I strongly suspect it is, then we have yet another example of "selective policing" in this country.
It seems that the fringe groups, the minorities and the disaffected get to be policed differently than the average Australian citizen. Why? Because the fringe groups and the minorities have little regard for the law and less regard for police officers and they tend to "turn it on" at a moment's notice, especially with the media present. That in turn puts modern day police managers in the position of either having to take firm action and risk unruly fight scenes between police and offenders or the more politically correct course of retreating to the safety of a computer and "reviewing video footage of the events".
We all recall the dreadful London riots last year and the scenes that unfolded for days upon days of rioting minorities taking charge of the city while its beleaguered police force tried to work out what to do. Finally they took action but not before enormous damage was done throughout England. Now I'm not suggesting that the Canberra rioters were in the same league but the point I make is if the rioters had far greater numbers than they did on Australia Day, there could have been really ugly scenes that not even "flexible" policing could have fixed. With a mob mentality anything is possible. Here's another "what if ".
If I and a few mates decided to campaign for the rights of, say, near-sighted three-toed sloths and we pitched our Kmart tents on the lawns near Parliament House, would the AFP be flexible with "my people"? I bet not. My tent would not last 40 years. I'm guessing about 40 minutes at the most before flexible policing becomes inflexible and we get removed from the lawns. The Australia Day debacle has perhaps highlighted more than just the Aboriginal issue. It's highlighted the gradual onset of a policing disease that has swept through our police forces with the obvious exception of Queensland that still appears to be a force. The disease was first noticed in Britain in the 1980s and transplanted here in the 90s. The disease is characterised by a distinct lack of spine, inept decision-making and the reliance on spin doctors to worm their way out of abject failure time and time again and they flourish under Labor governments, both here and in Britain.
Let's all hope that the Australian Federal Police have only the early onset of this terrible sickness and not the almost incurable latter stage where police managers become paralysed at the mere sight of bad news and the thought their careers depend on actually protecting people and all people at that.
Tim Priest is a former detective sergeant in the NSW Police.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The article mentions "selective policing". I would call it apartheid - one law for blacks and one for whites. Political correctness at it's worst.