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Gangland: It's also the police « Previous | |Next »
May 26, 2004

It is a bit like another month another killing in Melbourne. It's ever more images of more funerals with guys in dark glasses hanging around looking tough. Adelaide may have its Snowtown murders, but Melbourne is gangland. It is impossible not to notice the images of guys in suits with dark glasses staring stoney faced at the observing television cameras. The images say gangland.

The shootings are sold as gangland killing--- the gangland drug lords taking one another out ---in the media headlines. Is it a payback war between rival crime families, which has been in full swing in the streets of Melbourne. Or is just rival gangs fighting for dominance of the drug market?

The media bylines often refer to police corruption. The police are in bed with the crooks caught up in a turf war over drugs, and they have become part of an underworld tussle for power and ascendancy. The police are running drugs. And the state government is not all that interested in catching their cops.

Surely public confidence in the police and Victoria's justice system has been seriously shaken as the result of the corruption of the disbanded drug squad? So why not an independent inquiry?

Well, in Victoria the police investigate themselves and the endemic corruption in the police force with limited resources. The police investigating their own is the way the Bracks government likes it. It's government policy.

Why so? Well, The Victorians assume they have the best and cleanest police force seems to be the justification. They deny the links between "rotten cops and organised crime" The media is attacked for suggesting otherwise. The myths live on.

Yet the image created from watching media reports is that the Victorian police force is not a bunch of cleanskins:

"Melbourne's intertwined worlds of gangland drug lords and corrupt police are spiralling out of control. Police investigating their own kind have been threatened with engraved bullets and had their families followed and intimidated. One investigator, Simon Illingworth, resorted to ABC television to tell his story of bashing, threats and intimidation by his fellow police officers."

In Melbourne, it would appear that there is an entrenched system of corruption that ruthlessly protects itself. As Tony Fitzgerald, author of the Fitzgerald Report into Queensland police corruption in the 1980s, said: "The unwritten police code is an integral element of police culture . . . (it) requires that police not enforce the law against other police, nor co-operate in any attempt to do so, and perhaps even to obstruct any attempt." Entrenched or endemic corruption is often associated with legal and political corruption and/or protection.

Mark Le Grande says it is better time to establish an independent inquiry in the form of standing royal commission rather than a bureaucratic body (crime or corruption commissions) that is a downstream agencies. The latter is controlled by a government minister and "staffed by public servants who are subservient to ministers and whose careers do not prosper if they make robust decisions or take robust action to overcome bureaucratic or political intransigence."

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:14 PM | | Comments (2)


Lonely and slightly confused Right Winger seeks intelligent but gentle Left Winger for meaningful discussion of today’s issues. Show me the error of my ways, PLEASE.


We in Mebourne have had to live with organised crime for years. AFL, Fosters Brewing, Crown Casino, Telstra.

Its not the dark glasses that you've got to keep an eye on. Its the suits