QuestionsOnNotice

Adjournment Matters No 1023
Answered
Council
59 Parliament First Session
Question
Asked: 25 November 2020

POLICE CONDUCT

MR LIMBRICK — To ask the Minister for Training and Skills (for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services): 

My adjournment debate matter is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. This follows from a previous question I asked the minister on the anti-lockdown protest I attended outside Parliament House on Melbourne Cup Day. I asked the minister for the name of the individual who gave the order for the kettling tactics where hundreds of people were closely confined for more than 3 hours and who gave the order to use cups and buckets instead of water bottles. I was not given a name, but I am advised the person was the police commander strategic. The answer provided to me stated that Victoria Police handed out cups to arrested people because previously provided bottled water had been thrown at police and others. This tells us that everyone within the circle was considered arrested, and they were held for hours without explanation.

The second issue brought to my attention is the point stating that protesters were throwing bottles of water at the police and others. In the 4 hours I spent apparently under arrest I did not witness any protesters receiving or throwing water bottles, nor has anyone I have spoken to since. Luckily this point can be easily verified by footage taken on body cams attached to Victoria Police officers. My request to the minister is: (a) make available the video footage from body cams which shows bottles being handed to protesters or protesters throwing bottles at police; and (b) explain why the water from the bottles was not poured into cups and distributed instead of using a communal bucket.

Answer
Answered: 2 February 2021

Ms NEVILLE (Bellarine—Minister for Water, Minister for Police and Emergency Services):

At the time of the protest, metropolitan Melbourne was in the second stage of eased restrictions with public gatherings being able to consist of no more than ten individuals, as per the Chief Health Officer’s directions. This protest was in breach of these directions and therefore presented a significant health and safety risk to protesters and the wider public.

It is the role of Victoria Police to ensure that the Chief Health Officer’s directions, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are complied with and in doing so play an essential role in reducing the impact and severity of COVID-19 on our community. I support Victoria Police’s judgement when it comes to how best to use their powers and when they need to intervene. I do not have the power to direct police operations or arrests.

I am advised that Victoria Police handed out cups of water to arrested persons, as previously provided bottled water was being thrown at police and others.

Effective policing requires the careful exercise of judgement and the application of appropriate discretion, with any force used by a member adhering to the legal requirements and principles of the  Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). If you believe that this power has been exceeded and wish to provide further feedback through formal channels, you can lodge an online complaint at www.police.vic.gov.au/compliments-and-complaints or, alternatively you can contact Victoria Police Professional Standards Command by telephone on 1300 363 101.

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