Blind faith of a public servant
Today I was sickened by the latest revelations in the Weekend Australian’s report on the Eugene hit-run enquiry. I admit to not following the details too closely but have been watching the police copping it sweet for a variety of shortcomings since the enquiry started.
Being public servants, officers are bound not to speak out; their terms of employment forbid it. They can only go ahead and hope that by sticking to the rules and doing the right thing that it’ll always come out in the wash.
During the last couple of weeks we’ve seen witnesses open up and profess all matter of evidence that trained and experienced police officers failed to introduce to the Eugene McGee trial.
There’s a critical difference in the circumstances of gleaning evidence for an enquiry compared with a police investigations - the implications. Witnesses are a lot more willing to come forward when the consequences don’t involve a term in gaol.
Unfortunately, these officers have no public representation other than what the police department release. Of course the department reports to its minister who answers to public opinion. Fat chance any of these guys will be batting for the sergeants and constables in the field – there are more important big picture issues for them to consider such as their own hides.
Back to today’s article in the paper. It now appears there was an edict from the DPP that the police were not to arrest suspects of major crash investigations because it “created an expectation in the minds of victims that prosecution would follow”.
For weeks the public have been led to wonder why Eugene McGhee wasn’t arrested immediately when found cowering at home after killing cyclist Ian Humphrey. The senior officer in the case, gagged by his employer, is at the centre of the mud slinging and some of the mud is beginning to stick.
Now comes the nauseous part: the DPP has turned the instruction around by saying there was no ‘formal direction’, more an understanding, with ultimate discretion left to the individual police officer.
Fetch my little blue book; I think I’m going to blow chunks.