This morning at breakfast at an historic church, I met a homeless guy, whom I will call D, with what looked like wonderful sporting memorabilia which he was seeking to sell. I told him I would like to help and to be involved as a filmmaker and/or photographer.
With his permission, I sent a text to P, a fantastic but overloaded worker at a nearby charity organisation which both helps the homeless and is well connected enough to arrange an auction to get a good price for the memorabilia. I told him that I believed this organisation would be a worthy recipient of some of the money raised if he were willing to give them a commission.
I asked P by text if she would help selling the memorabilia. Earlier in the morning I had sent P another text message pushing hard for discussion of two unresolved incidents of bullying at the organisation earlier in the year.
D and I walked to the organisation’s premises.
When we arrived, I made a follow up phone call to P, who said that she was nearby and would meet us in front of the building.
As a film maker, I told P that her involvement in an auction would help get a better price because she is beautiful. Which she is. Both the inner beauty of someone who cares deeply about others and physical female beauty.
P arrived at our meeting with two police officers in full uniform. No crime had been committed or was likely to be committed, as far as I knew, so I saw no need for their presence, but I kept quiete about that initially. (The primary role of a police force should be to deal with crime, not to oversee charity fund raising efforts among vulnerable people who might actually be put off by police involvement.)
But in a police state, the police can become involved in everything and far too often nobody ever says how ridiculous it is for police to do things like being involved in someone’s desire to help a homeless man and a charity.
I asked P if she was willing to be filmed sighting the guys memorabilia. She said she wasn’t camera ready. Assuming this mean she wasn’t wearing make-up, I asked if she’d be willing for her hand to be onscreen handling the goods and her voice offscreen. She declined. No worries. Move on.
Seeing no further role for myself in the likely exchanges that morning, I asked her to focus on D. She said she wanted to deal first with the bullying issues I had raised. I asked her to step aside as that was not a conversation I wanted to happen in public. The two police followed us as we did so. I stated my opinion to one of them that this was not a police matter.
I then found myself facing one of the police officers whom I will call B adopting the pose in the photo the reader can see of him as the feature photo of this post and below in another photo which was taken about a second or two later and is slightly different emotionally.
I get very angry when I see officers of Victoria Police force concealing their identity in public. I demanded that B tell me why he was concealing his identity and told him that he was breeching professional standards by doing so.
He than lowered his hands so his identity was visible and told me in an incredibly condescending and patronising voice something to the effect that he wanted to help me. Condescension is not police work.
This made me even angrier and I started to demand an explanation from him for his organisation’s appalling treatment of Cardinal George Pell. One intention I had underlying this change of topic was to test out B’s professed desire to help by redirecting our focus towards a real crime (the false imprisonment in Victoria for over 400 days of Cardinal George Pell) which has not yet been properly investigated by the organisation primarily responsible for doing so: Victoria Police.
I had an appointment for WW2 military heritage work with a veteran’s organization in another part of town, so I decided that I could not contribute positively anymore to helpng D and left.
I asked P to contact me ASAP to deal with things better.
I think she made a big mistake involving the police, if that is what happened, but she is a kind hearted hard working over loaded charity worker so I dont want to get too critical on that.
For all I know, Officer B might be a great bloke who could become a fantastic friend to me. But concealing his identity and talking in a condescending way were not good. I hope he apologises. If he does apologise, its case closed as far as I am concerned with respect to what he did. If he doesn’t, then concealing his identity is a clear breech of professional standards. It happens far too often. He should be held to account.
It. Is. not. Acceptable.
The really big issue here for me is over-policing in Victoria. Bad government in this state has created horrible problems for far too many people, when police are used to trash freedoms for stupid reasons.
In my non expert opinion, up to half of Victoria Police Force should be redeployed to the Australian Defence Force and retrained to help face Australia’s real security and safety problem which is the unknown future of the nation’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China.
But I don’t know everything. Being omniscient is God’s job. Not mine. Not P’s. And not B’s.
But God help us all when unnecessary police interference stops good people doing good things.
Geoff fox, 1 p.m., 31st August, 2022, Down Under