Police’s betrayal of trust
Magistrate Cathy Lamble’s decision to fine, but not impose convictions, on three police officers after they were found guilty over their use of force against John, a disability support pensioner with mental health problems (The Age, 30/7), sends the wrong message to the most vulnerable. The officers were asked to perform a welfare check on someone experiencing distress. They abused that trust and responsibility. They added to John’s distress and left an imprint of lasting trauma, in a violation of a fellow human’s basic rights and dignity.
As the pandemic wreaks havoc on our community and our sense of safety, confidence in our first responders is critical. John deserved a kind and compassionate response. Instead he was assaulted but the officers got off very lightly. We appreciate Victoria Police is working to ensure this does not happen again but we need to send a message of safety to those who are most vulnerable.
Jack Heath, SANE Australia