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Bourke Street: All our member’s decisions are supported

Since the tragic events of last week, many of our members will have heard comments and statements in the media questioning the police response to last Friday’s critical incident in Bourke Street.

As police, we know that the aftermath of incidents of this scale invariably leads to an examination of how our members responded as well as scrutiny in relation to our processes and tactics.

The Victorian Government and Victoria Police command have been definitive in their praise of our members directly involved in this incident. Their support of our members and their decision-making is to be commended and we trust that this support will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

The Police Association has also publically supported the decisions and praised the efforts of our members, at all levels, who have acted to protect the community in some of the most difficult and operationally testing circumstances imaginable.

Our comment in the media over the weekend was focused on the problems associated with our bail system, and on Monday, the Government announced a range of interim measures to improve the system as well as a full review of bail laws to be conducted within two months. We welcome this urgently needed review.

In media reporting today, the focus of public debate has shifted to the pursuit of the alleged offender involved in the incident and on the police pursuit/operation itself.

As this debate continues, we have reminded the community via the media that the split-second decisions that our members make are intensely difficult ones. We have also made the point that our members’ actions are limited by the parameters set out in the existing policy, tactics and training that they are provided with. These policies and procedures may have to change.

Our members are not provided with countless options with which to resolve pursuits. To some extent, members can either follow or stop – something that requires review, as we have been consistently advocating.

Providing police with resolution strategies and tools to resolve pursuits safely is an important piece of work that must be commenced by Victoria Police.

We cannot begin to express how proud and supportive we are of each and every member involved in this horrible incident.

Rest assured, the community is behind you, and so are we.

Ron Iddles OAM, APM

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