Coroner Karen Fryar’s finding in the Clea Rose inquiry is extremely disappointing. As the parents point out, public safety and human life should be paramount in police decisions about whether or not to pursue suspect vehicles.
This police pursuit ended in the tragic death of a young woman. The coroner has missed a vital opportunity to recommend a more stringent review of police pursuit guidelines, which Civil Liberties Australia has been requesting for some years.
The community expects a coroner to consider the widest common interest. It is unfortunate that a narrow perspective appears to have driven this inquiry. Always, the main objective must be finding out what went wrong, and preventing it happening again, if possible.
CLA calls on the government to instruct ACT Policing to immediately implement all recommendations of the Cameron report into police pursuits. We also call for a public inquiry into the operation of the Coroner’s legislation.
Dr Kristine Klugman President, CLA Fisher (letter to Canberra Times 21 Dec 07)
Finch of Warragul wrote on 12 Jan 08:
Again, No one from any civil liberties sector came out in support of the police members who we all know were very unfairly treated ( Having said that, I full support any sanction or action taken against corrupt police.)
- I never intimated whether Hicks he was guilty or not,
- The chief commissioner doesn’t support her members and their confidence in her is at a record low. She has no option but to agree with Coroner. She is after all assigned by the government.
- The president CLA never answered or commented on my scenario.
- No comment on the Coroners report.
I will no longer write to this forum as its quite clear that you only publish selected articles.
I sincerely hope you (who didn’t write his or her name to my reply)and your colleagues are never the victim of a serious, sadistic or callous crime committed by a person who you directly or indirectly represented.
I sleep peacefully at night.
You keep fighting the cause.
Best regards, Finch
Editor’s note: Contrary to "Finch’s" assertion, no comment submitted to CLA to date has been denied publication or required moderation.
CLA wrote on 4 Jan 08:
- We support anyone roughly treated by authorities (including police integrity bodies or anti-crime/corruption authorities denying people natural justice).
- Hicks has not had a legal trial on legal laws, so no-one knows whether he’s guilty of ‘terrorism’ or not.
- CLA is not anti-police, or pro-police. We’re anti-deaths as a result of police pursuits.
- This recent Australian study shows about 1 in 3 pursuits involve a collision, and more than 1 in 10 result in injury. In about 1 in 300 pursuits, someone dies.
- A 2004 Victorian State Coroner’s report quotes (p29) from the Victorian Police Commissioner’s guidelines governing ‘safe driving of police vehicles, urgent driving and pursuits’, including this:
- “Any decision to terminate a pursuit on the grounds of avoiding an unacceptable risk will be supported by Victoria Police.
“Any action taken to limit the risks for the public including offenders and police will be viewed as a decision that displays sound professional judgment.
“It is to be hoped that that stated policy may cause police officers involved in pursuits to concentrate on the safety aspects and the need to avoid unacceptable risks in the future.”
- CLA agrees 100% with the Victorian Police Commissioner’s statement, and hopes all Victorian and other Australian police adopt this approach.
Finch of Melbourne wrote on 1 Jan 08:
Lance you have no argument from me regarding accountability but I don’t hear your collective voices when a Judge of Magistrate get its wrong. I wonder why? I have been a police member for 11 years and never have I been involved or heard of members looking for an “adrenaline boost” I believe the article is the opinion of one member. Also may I pose this question to you. If the Office of Police Integrity and Civil Liberties protect the community from injustices, then why were the VICPOL members of the Armed Offenders Squad dragged through the mud in public, named and shamed without their matters being heard fairly? No charges where ever bought against them. The OPI’s record of scalps is “0” I didn’t hear or read about Civil Liberties coming out in support of the police members and their treatment. Yet David HICKS whose treatment was unjust and drawn out although the allegations were that he aligned him self with AL QEIDA who were responsible for 9/11, gets the full support of the CLA. How do you think the families of the 9/11 victims and the families of the diggers killed in Afghanistan feel? I do believe that libertarians are anti police and the only way you and your colleagues can be “acutely aware” of what police do is to be put in our shoes.
To the President of CLA of Canberra.
Thank-you for publishing my previous comment, however my question was not answered.
(if any comment I have made can be disproved, any feed back would be appreciated.)
Lance of Stirling wrote on 30 Dec 07:
@Finch seeks an accounting from the court for those things he believes the courts’ get wrong. Similarly, the community seek an account from the police when they too get it wrong. Contrary to @Finch’s assertion, libertarians are not anti-police, just against injustice. Whether it is the appropriateness of a police chase or the use of powers of commissions such as the Office of Police Integrity, civil liberties seeks to ensure that the powers society gives to those that protect the community are not inappropriate, abused or misused. Where it appears that such has occurred, an accounting is sought, otherwise those in a position of trust join those they seek to protect society from. Members of civil liberties come from all walks of life and are acutely aware of the task facing police.
See also a policeman’s first-hand account of police pursuits...go to article.
Finch of Victoria wrote 30 Dec 07:
Here Here to "Undisclosed 22/12/07". This is just typical of the CLA and its "arm chair" criticism. I am a serving police member and I’m often sickened by comments made by CLA members, not just in this tragic case but in most cases where police have had some involvement where there has been a death or serious injury. Most police members from all states conduct their duties to the best abilities and often have to make ‘real time’ decisions. They don’t have the luxury of diceting every facet of an event from thier arm chairs. I appreciate the role of CLA in our society however, when it comes to justice for offenders in violent crimes it appears that the police are always to blame. Police are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. I’d like to know how many CLA members live an area where crime is high. I’m sure if they or one of their sons or daughters were the victims of a violent rape of robbery, the attitude would change. Also the courts should be made accountable for offenders committing of offences whilst on bail imposed by the courts.
Question for President CLA of Canberra.
In your reply you asked "Would you feel the same way, and express the same opinion, if it was your 21 Y.O. daughter who was killed?" My question to is:
You are are police officer and you are chasing a car that you know is stolen and you are receiving reports that this vehicle has been driving in an erratic and dangerous manner even when not chased? What do you do? Bearing in mind that in this scenario someone dies at the end. You have plenty time answer.
President CLA of Canberra wrote 22 Dec 07:
The president’s position is unpaid.
Would you feel the same way, and express the same opinion, if it was your 21 Y.O. daughter who was killed?
Thank you taking the trouble to comment – we appreciate all feedback.
Undisclosed correspondent wrote on 22 Dec 07:
Just read a comment in The Canberra Times (21st Dec) by Dr. Kristine Klugman in reference to police pursuits in A.C.T. One 21 Y.O. female was killed in the pursuit to which she refers. This female was killed by a 14 Y.O. driver who chose not to pull over as requested by the police, this driver was 100% responsible for the tragic death of this female he made the decision to ignore the police and run having no respect for any other member of the community. This lowlife arsehole is now back out on bail and will more than likely reoffend, he was on bail and driving a stolen vehicle when he killed the female pedestrian.If Dr. Klugman is so knowledgable in the pursuit of lowlifes as the one in the pursuit referred to, could I invite the good Dr. to make herself avaible to take control of any similar future cicumstances.Just forward a phone number and I am sure the A.F.P. would be only to pleased to store the number on thier speed dial system. Sometimes it is best to keep your mouth shut when a lack of knowledge on the subject is missing, but I suppose one as to jump up and make waves regardless of what is involved, got to keep that lucrative presidents position.Got to make it appear you are doing something even if it is talking shit.