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Vic Police chief Patton "We don't get to pick and choose what laws we enforce"

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Oh really!

You chose to give BLM protesters an easy ride, while you hammered the freedom people.

You chose to go after Pell but not Shorten after the OPP advised against prosecution for each.

You take a light touch to union demos which block roads and disrupt the city, while you send bills in the tens of thousands to people like Lauren Southern and Milo Yiannopoulos.

African crime gangs have had a heap of police discretion as our 2018 article below reported.

Victoria Police losing control

Here's an idea Commissioner, what about laying off the PR and politics and returning Victoria Police to the impartial, people's Force it once was - and which Victorians deserve.

And while we're on the topic, police have always had a discretion as to whether or not action is warranted in any case.  They do get to pick and choose what laws are enforced.

Here's then Assistant Commissioner Shane Patton explaining it himself, in a memo he wrote to field commanders about this time last year.

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One of the state's most senior policemen has told officers that inconsistency and a lack of discretion in the enforcement of lockdown laws is eroding public confidence in Victoria Police.

In internal communications seen by The Age and issued to police on Monday, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton urged police to issue fines for only the most blatant and deliberate breaches of the state's lockdown regulations.

Police have reversed a series of fines in recent days as officers and the public come to terms with extraordinary and unprecedented "stage three" restrictions on movement that prevent people from leaving their homes except for medical reasons, care-giving, grocery shopping, work and exercise.

"I am concerned that there continues to be an inconsistent approach from our members when enforcing the directives of the Chief Health Officer," Mr Patton said.

"This lack of discretion erodes public confidence in Victoria Police and undermines the great work being done by our people across this state.

"The lack of consideration for public interest is significantly impacting on how the community view Victoria Police."

In the past week, police issued a $1652 infringement notice to a 17-year-old learner driver practising with her mother. Officers fined one man for washing his car at a car wash in the early hours of the morning, and another was handed a notice for driving to go mountain biking. All three of those fines were later withdrawn.

Late on Monday night, police confirmed they had withdrawn two $1652 fines given to a couple who uploaded last year's holiday snaps to Facebook.

A police spokeswoman said on Monday that after an "extensive search" police were unable to find any record of people being fined for visiting cemeteries, in response to media reports. One mourner told The Age a worker at a cemetery in Melbourne's north turned her away. The spokeswoman said if anyone had been fined for visiting a cemetery, that fine would be reversed.

In the internal email, Mr Patton also cited an example where police fined people for painting the inside of a closed cafe.

The email was sent to sergeants and senior sergeants as a guide for the junior officers working for them.

Mr Patton said the authority to issue infringement notices was a health response to keep the community safe, and not an enforcement model.

"It is imperative that our actions reflect a community health approach and we rely on enforcement only for high-risk behaviour which is blatant, obvious and deliberate," he wrote.

"Members should use discretion ... they need to weigh up if a person’s actions are placing others at risk or if a warning will suffice because we know most people are genuinely trying to do the right thing.

"Please encourage our members to use common sense and consider how they would feel if a family member received an infringement in those circumstances, or would a warning have been appropriate instead."

 

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