Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Man Swears at Gang of Police

This very evening I was in the Melbourne CBD having dinner at a table out the front of McDolalds when a large group of police in fluoro vests came along. There was a man walking the other way and they stopped him and started asking him questions like what he was doing there and whether he had any identification. The man's only apparent crime was being slightly unshaven.

The man cooperated with them but uttered several profanities in his efforts to question why they had suddenly singled him out. Rather than explain, the police officers berated him for swearing.

Unfortunately, one of the changes made by this new state government, who I consider to be idiotically adverse to the rights and freedoms of the residents they supposedly represent, is to introduce fines for swearing in public. This means that the poor chap could well have been fined.

Of course at this point a middle aged and respectably dressed lady spoke up for him, pointing out that he had clearly been doing no harm and minding his own business. Several other people who had been listening would have done the same, had the police showed the nerve to enforce such an absurd law.

Though I know that it would do me no good at all, I have to admit I would almost certainly have sworn if the police hand randomly accosted me in the street like that. Indeed I have no doubt the only reason they chose him and not me was that I was clean shaven and wearing a clean university employees uniform.

This man was in jeans and a t shirt. His subsequent conversation with the lady who had spoken, once the police had left, revealed that the reason for his unshaven face was that he had only today got off a plane returning from charity work in rural areas of South East Asia.

Why do these young men become police officers in the first place? Shouldn't it have something to do with protecting and upholding the rights and freedoms of everyday people in the street? How does harassing us achieve that?

When a close friend of mine called the police after being threatened with physical violence, they didn't respond at all and when she went directly to the police station they merely explained why there was no point applying for a restraining order because it would take too long. There was no mention of the protection notices they can serve on a perpetrator with some paper work and a phone call. There was no mention of referral to family violence related agencies. It appeared that the police officer's main priorities were to avoid involvement, risk and paper work by any available means.

Why aren't these young employees of Victoria Police taking initiative and being courageous? Why aren't they at least up to date with their own procedures and willing to apply them in places where they will help? Are our laws to be enforced by selfish bureaucrats and gangs of aggressive men in high visibility builders' uniforms? What is needed is courage: the courage to express what is right and stand up for ideals, whether they seem to fit with the exact wording of the procedures of not. Courage has been severely lacking in the police behaviour I've witnessed this week.

1 comment:

  1. F***in government wanna fine us for talking? wtf!