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The truth about DNA and other matters (15/13)

Concerned members have conveyed to me that members seeking election to the Executive of the Police Association attended at North Eastern Victorian Police Stations on 16 July 2013 and made several statements that were not accurate.

The statements appear designed to cause discontent among Association members and to discredit both the Association and me personally.

The substance of the statements alleged to have been made is outlined below and the factual position is then provided as the answer:


1. Your DNA is somehow under threat if you provide it for the purposes of crime scene elimination, it will be used to target your family members and this is the case because I personally, and the Association, have failed to take adequate steps to ensure otherwise.

A. Your DNA, voluntarily provided for the purposes of crime scene elimination, is in the process of being protected by legislation which is expected to be introduced in August/September 2013. This will be so because in April this year I wrote to the Minister for Police & Emergency Services, after discussing the matter with him, seeking legislative protection for members in these circumstances. He responded, signifying his agreement with my request and the legislation has been drafted and awaits tabling in the House (this development was advised to members in InBrief 05/13 on 4 April 2013).

Under the proposed legislation your voluntary DNA sample will be protected against use under any Act or process and will not be able to be used for any purpose other than eliminating you from a crime scene. Legislation in four months – not bad really.


2. That the Chief Commissioner of Police, Mr Ken Lay APM, and I are lifelong friends who grew up together, and that this colours my dealings with him, making me “too much of a coward to stand up to him” – and the Association is, therefore, weak.

A. Mr Lay comes from a Regional Victorian town more than 90 kilometres from the Melbourne suburb in which I was raised. We did not grow up together.

We met in the late 1970’s, when Mr Lay arrived, as a Sergeant, at Prahran Police Station, where I was stationed as a Constable. We both worked there for about two years. From that time until Mr Lay’s (2011) appointment as Chief Commissioner, I believe we would have spoken between five and ten times. We have not spoken on anything other than business related issues in over 30 years.

As for my alleged total compliance with the every wish of the Chief Commissioner, the Association is currently in formal disputation with the Force on 8 separate issues before Fair Work Australia. These matters affect ranks from Constable to Superintendent.


That alone should answer any query about whether the Secretary of the Police Association does the Chief Commissioner’s bidding. We do, occasionally, and in a professional way, rigorously disagree on issues - professionally, and there is no media commentary involved.

I believe it is self-evident that a cordial and professional relationship between the Secretary of the Association and the Chief Commissioner is more likely to achieve outcomes for members. I believe this is repeatedly borne out and I will continue to maintain professional relationships with everyone and every organisation, including Parliamentarians, the force and the community, with whom I deal on your behalf.

Interestingly, the Chief Commissioner wrote to the Police Minister after we did, supporting our request for protection at law for voluntary DNA samples provided by police, and it is these types of relationships that contributed greatly to achieving the best police EB outcome in Australia for the last decade, all time record recruitment and a range of improved benefits for our members.

Every member is entitled to their opinion and that includes their opinion of me. But no-one should malign individuals or peddle deliberate and blatant untruths about your Association. Most of us have worked too hard to restore the credibility of the organisation to abide that.

You are entitled to vote for whoever you wish; that’s democracy at work. But it’s also critically important that our members are advised of facts that might impact on them and the accuracy or otherwise of those ‘facts’.

It is not my role, nor is it my intention, to interfere in any way with the electoral process. That is a matter for you, the members. With that in mind, I have not named the individuals involved – nor will I publicly do so. But I will take this issue to the full Executive at their August meeting and seek a resolution to the matter.

In the meantime, I will continue to do the best I can for all members, every single day, until my retirement on 6 April 2014 and hope that my best is good enough.

Thank you and stay safe.



Download PDF of this InBrief (15/13)

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