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A Day in the Life of We spent a day with the Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section.


Drawing out Vandals Graffiti vandals damaging trains and property put themselves and the public in danger.

COVER: Police are encouraging drivers to think about their safety and the safety of others on Victorian roads. Photography: Craig Sillitoe Police Life is produced by the Media & Corporate Communications Department, Victoria Police, GPO Box 913, Melbourne, 3001, Fax: 9247 5982 Online Email Managing Editor Sandra Higgins Editor Maria Carnovale Journalists Janae Houghton Anthony Loncaric Mandi Santic Graphic Design Fluid – Subscriptions 9247 6894 ISSN 0032-2598L Crown Copyright in the state of Victoria. For permission to reprint any part of this magazine, contact the editor. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Victoria Police.



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Behind the Badge Proactive Policing True Crime

Frozen in Time

Using forensic evidence from historic crimes to solve 25 to 30-year-old cold cases.

EDITOR’S NOTE Welcome to the new-look Police Life. This magazine has been an important part of Victoria Police’s history, with the first edition published in 1955. It has evolved since then and has become a great source of information on what Victoria Police is doing and how we can all contribute to a safer Victoria. We aim to give our readers insight into the work of police, show some examples of crime solving, how we are tackling crime issues with innovative thinking and technology and giving crime prevention advice.

In this new-look edition, we have introduced some features including Beyond the Badge, where a retired police officer tells the story of their policing career and life after Victoria Police. We also look at some of the organisation’s leaders in the Career in Focus section. Some of the regulars that we know our readers enjoy, such as the Day in the Life of, Out and About and True Crime will continue with added videos, interesting facts and more. Every edition we look forward to providing you with interesting stories and hope that you continue to enjoy reading Police Life.

Maria Carnovale, Editor

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER For more than 40 years Victoria Police has focused on reducing the state’s road toll. From its historic high in 1970 when 1061 lives were lost, we now see the death toll reduced to, at the time of writing, 223 people. But, that is still 223 too many. That’s 223 families torn apart by grief, countless friends devastated and Victorian communities shattered by loss. At the same time in 2013, 203 people had died on our roads. The casual observer may ask why has there been a sudden spike this year? What has changed? What are police doing? I can assure you that Victoria Police’s commitment to reducing the road toll has not changed. The reality is that 2013 saw a 13.8 per cent decrease in the road toll, the biggest drop since 2003, and it was always going to be a challenge to achieve another reduction. 2


Never too shy to back away from a challenge, Victoria Police is conducting its biggest-ever road safety campaign leading into the Christmas and new year period, including 43 local operations and 22 State Highway Patrol operations. Police will be out in force and all officers, regardless of their work environment, are committed to minimising deaths and serious injuries on the roads. This is the time of year we spend with family and friends celebrating everything that is great about Victoria. So please think of your loved ones when you get behind the wheel this summer. Stay safe, enjoy the season and best wishes for the new year. Ken D. Lay, APM Chief Commissioner

MAKING NEWS For the latest police news visit

PSOs ON TRACK Knowing there are Protective Services Officers (PSOs) at the next train stop is likely to make a commuter feel safer and their presence is having a positive impact on communities across Victoria

Above On patrol PSOs are at train stations across Victoria. Editorial: Anthony Loncaric Photography: Clay Burke

In November, Victoria Police successfully reached its target of deploying 940 Protective Services Officers (PSOs) at train stations across the state by the end of 2014. PSOs were first deployed in February 2012 and have been instrumental in reducing crime on the rail network. More than 30,000 infringement notices have been issued for a range of offences including being drunk in a public place, ticket and parking offences. Transit Safety Division’s Superintendent John Hendrickson said the deployment project had been a major success with a number of offenders removed from the community by PSOs. “We’ve had so much positive feedback from people about feeling safer at train stations, but one thing that has not been publicised as much is the arrests PSOs have made of people wanted for criminal behaviour,” Supt Hendrickson said.

“Our officers working the platforms regularly identify offenders wanted on warrants and those who have breached bail conditions. Arresting offenders who pass through the railway system has a huge impact on community safety as we are taking criminals off local streets.” PSOs have also stopped people self-harming and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on people who have had heart attacks on the transport system. “A lot of our interactions relate to smoking on the platform, open containers of alcohol, drunkenness and public order offences,” Supt Hendrickson said. “They’re the sort of offences that make people feel unsafe and interventions of these types of antisocial behaviour can have a positive impact on the system and how people feel.” Victoria Police will deploy a further 96 PSOs by mid-2016. POLICE LIFE | SUMMER 2015




What is your number one safety message for people leading up to the holiday season? SENIOR SERGEANT MICK STAFFORD Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section

“We want people who choose to drink or take drugs to separate that behaviour from driving a car. We will have a lot of police on the roads in the coming months and there’s a good chance that you will be caught.”


Can I lose my driver’s licence for riding my mountain bike home while drunk? LAUREN, ENDEAVOUR HILLS The main concern for people operating any vehicle while drunk is that they could put themselves and other road users at risk. You could lose your driver’s licence, be arrested for being drunk in a public place or charged with operating a carriage while drunk.

Submit your Quiz a Cop law enforcement questions via the online form at on the internet.

Answers are published weekly on Victoria Police’s Facebook page.


“Watch your consumption of alcohol, but enjoy yourself. If need be, have a designated driver organised.”



Caulfield Police Station

“If you are planning on going away, ask one of your neighbours to collect your mail and put your bins out so it doesn’t look like the house is unattended.”

BE PART OF THE STORY Join the Conversation

@chrisnankervis Watching @VictoriaPolice direct traffic just as efficiently as a set of lights on one of the CBD’s busiest intersections. Pretty impressive.

Police Life loves hearing what you think about the magazine, your local police and Victoria Police in general. Write, fax or email Police Life at: Police Life GPO Box 913 Melbourne, 3001 FAX: 9247 5982 Email:



@VictoriaPolice Thanks for keeping Vic safe! Much appreciated. Always a pleasure to chat with some of your officers on patrol

@DebraTranter Thanks @VictoriaPolice for your assistance today in ensuring peaceful family friendly rally #AnimalsMatterToMe

@izychase Big thanks to @VictoriaPolice officers we ran into who took time to chat to my kids and put the lights on their car on. It made their night

National Police Remembrance Day May the fallen always be remembered for the sacrifices they have made, and may the serving be respected for what they do every day



Since October, anyone whose licence is cancelled for drink driving has to fit an alcohol interlock device into any vehicle they drive once re-licensed.

Drug warrants in north-western suburbs Well done Victoria Police on keeping this poison off the streets PAUL F HARRIS


GRANT HEALY Rank: Senior Constable Age: 44 Graduated: 2002 Station: Elmhurst Police Station Why did you decide to join Victoria Police? I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives while taking a career path that suited my family and personal goals. After 12 years in the job I still find myself enjoying every shift.

Tell us about working at a rural station. I grew up in Bendigo and always considered myself a country boy. Circumstances later in life took our family to Carisbrook. Living there, we experienced the devastation of the January 2011 floods. Our family home and everything in it was destroyed. The spirit of the small community and the random acts of generosity and kindness is something I will never forget. In places I’ve worked such as Carisbrook, Dunolly and now Elmhurst, I know almost all the locals by name, their partners and their children and I know I can depend on them as much as they do on me.

What do you enjoy about Elmhurst? Working in Elmhurst is very satisfying and made so much easier by the fact our communities want us here and are actively involved. They get to see the person behind the uniform while interacting on a daily basis, therefore we are judged on our personalities, not just the uniform. Doing all of this while surrounded by some of the most picturesque landscapes in Victoria all seems pretty good so far.

What has been a memorable moment from your career? Just five days after I started work at Castlemaine Police Station, I went out to the second suicide for the week and I don’t think the memory will ever leave me. I particularly remember the sheer destruction of an 18-yearold woman who found her father after he had taken his own life. I will never forget feeling like there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix it because she was so broken. If there could be anything good to come from this situation, it was the result of attending a similar job as a negotiator about two years ago and relaying this incident to a father of two young children who was threatening to take his own life.

I told him of the effect it would have on his children. Just recently that father approached me out of the blue at a local football game and said “without getting all mushy, I just wanted to say that I cannot thank you enough for what you did for me that night. My children still have a father and we are working on everything else”. He shook my hand and walked back into the crowd, leaving me standing there feeling pretty good about what we do.

Photography: Shane Bell Editorial: Janae Houghton

If you are suffering and need assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 POLICE LIFE | SUMMER 2015



SILKY 2’S STORY Victoria Police’s Dog Squad puppy Silky 2 will star in a series of videos over the next 14 months. The story of Silky 2 will highlight key moments in the puppy’s life as he becomes an active police dog. Online Communications manager Mark Bayly said the mini-series would focus on Silky 2’s time with his puppy walker and trainer. “It will provide an insight into the training process and showcase the meticulous work undertaken by the Dog Squad leading up to his graduation,” he said. Silky 2 is the second Dog Squad puppy named in honour of Sergeant Gary Silk who was murdered in the line of duty in 1998. Watch the videos at on the internet.


POLICING THE CUBOREE Fourteen members of Police Scouters Victoria took part in a Cuboree scout camp in Gembrook. More than 3000 children from all over Australia, aged between eight and 11 years old, along with 1500 adult support staff, spent the week camping at the Cuboree to encourage physical and intellectual development. Police set up a 24-hour police station at Cuboree and were responsible for general traffic management, security and assisted with numerous activities. Bacchus Marsh Police Station’s Sergeant Stefan Rea said the event was a success. “Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was wonderful to have a police presence in making sure the camp ran smoothly.”

Sen Sgt Dew and Deputy Commissioner Lucinda Nolan launched the kiosks. Photo: Courtesy Dandenong Journal

A touchscreen language kiosk helping non-English speakers explain why they have attended a police station was launched at Springvale Police Station. The menu-based device offers answers to common policing questions and can translate up to 12 languages including Arabic, Greek and Vietnamese. Springvale Police Station’s Senior Sergeant Alan Dew said the kiosk was inspired by language kiosks at the 2012 London Olympics and would provide a faster and more efficient service for people with multicultural backgrounds. “We want to give the community the best service we can, and the language kiosk is one way towards achieving that.”



Sen Sgt Hans Harms, Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp and Sgt Rea attended the Cuboree.



Victoria Police’s fingerprint expert Craig Hamilton said he was proud to help provide closure to families of victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster. All 298 people on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died after the plane crashed in eastern Ukraine on 17 July. Mr Hamilton was deployed to the Netherlands with two Victoria Police officers to assist with the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process. A team of 10 Australian DVI specialists, which included Australian Federal Police members, spent 10 days examining remains from the crash site. He said although the work was difficult he was grateful to be given the opportunity to represent Victoria Police and Australia.

Vice President of Hamilton Rotary Peter Wilson presented Sen Const Barcham with the award.

Coleraine Police Station’s Senior Constable Carlene Barcham has been recognised for her outstanding work with a Rotary Police Community Achievement Award. Sen Const Barcham was the driving force behind two successful community forums, one including an information night about the drug ice and another encouraging residents to embrace better security measures, following a spate of vehicle thefts and break-ins. She said both forums had excellent feedback. “The forums helped inform residents on how to tackle drug and theft issues. I really enjoyed working on the projects and hope to continue to be part of a strong and prosperous community.”

ODD SPOT CORNER Short skirt ban

Flying to the pub

In 1925, police in Athens enforced legislation banning females aged over 14 from wearing skirts reaching more than 35 centimetres from the ground. Police were given rulers and tape measures to verify dress lengths and offenders were fined or imprisoned. UK Police Gazette

A 37-year-old Perth man was charged with endangering life after he drove his plane down a road, parked it outside a pub and left the ignition running while he ordered a beer.




Thirty nine drivers with illicit drugs in their system were killed on Victorian roads last year, 15 more than those with alcohol. In a world first, Victoria Police is randomly testing drivers for drugs to prevent more road deaths. Lynette Satalich knows exactly how driving while on drugs can be life changing. She took ecstasy and marijuana at an all-night dance party on the Australia Day long weekend in 2001. When it was time to head home at about 8am, she got into the driver’s seat. Only minutes into the trip, she veered onto the wrong side of The Esplanade in Brighton, killing 52-year-old cyclist David Renowden and injuring two other cyclists. “I thought I was ok to drive,” she said. “By the time I realised I wasn’t, which was just before the accident, it was too late, I fell asleep and the next thing we were crashing.” Miraculously, Ms Satalich and her passenger crawled out of the overturned car without any physical injuries. “We both got out of the car and were looking at it, stunned. A guy came up to us after a little while asking who the driver was. He said I don’t know if you realise, but there is a cyclist in the bush and he doesn’t have a pulse.” Ms Satalich was charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury. She spent just under two years in jail. 8


“My son was 11 at the time. The first few months were awful for everyone, my whole family, my son, and for me,” she said. “I didn’t realise how many people were affected by the fact that I didn’t think. Not just me, but the witnesses and the families of the cyclists.” It was the second time Ms Satalich had driven with drugs in her system. “The first time was ok, nothing happened and I thought I’d take the risk again.” Twelve years later, Ms Satalich is using her experience to encourage others not to risk their own or someone else’s life. She tells her story to drivers ordered by the courts to attend road trauma seminars. “What I say is basically learn from my mistakes. You don’t want the guilt of someone else’s life on your conscience,” she said. Road Policing’s Superintendent Neville Taylor said it was all too common for police to come across drivers on drugs. “So far this year one in every 15 people tested for drugs while driving has returned a positive reading, with the

“Before you get in the car, think about whether it’s safe for you to be driving.”



Images Removing drug drivers 01 Police catch a driver with drugs in his system. 02 Constable John Patounas administers a preliminary drug test. 03 Random drug and alcohol testing of drivers is occurring.

majority being for methamphetamine. The crystalline form of this drug is commonly known as ice,” he said. A few months ago, the Victorian Government publicly announced it would increase the number of roadside drug tests conducted from 42,000 to 100,000 per year in the hope of driving down road deaths by deterring drug drivers. “With this expansion every Highway Patrol Unit in Victoria will have the ability to perform roadside drug tests,” Supt Taylor said. “There should be a real expectation that if you drive, you should expect to get drug tested, just as you would get tested for alcohol.” Supt Taylor said the introduction of the .05 blood alcohol concentration limit by Victoria Police in 1966 had succeeded in deterring drink drivers. “It has changed people’s behaviour. Drink driving rates are dropping and generally the community doesn’t tolerate people who drink and drive anymore,” he said. “Victoria Police is a world leader, being the first police jurisdiction in the world to conduct roadside drug testing. As we’re testing more drivers for drugs, we’re detecting


Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Craig Sillitoe

more and we’re hoping to change the culture as we did with drink driving.” Driving on drugs can impair judgement, limit your ability to assess risk and impair response. “Last year, of all the deaths on Victoria’s roads, only one of them was a true accident – a tree fell on the vehicle. Apart from that, all were preventable deaths,” Supt Taylor said. “People need to understand that drink and drug driving greatly increases your chances of serious injury or death on our roads. “Before you get in the car, think about whether it’s safe for you to be driving. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and all road users need to consider their safety and the safety of others when on the roads.” Read more about how police are testing drivers for drugs and alcohol on page 16. If you have been affected by road trauma, contact Road Trauma Support Services Victoria on 1300 367 797.






With Police Life on the verge of turning 60 we thought we’d take a look back on the history of this much-loved publication Police Life was first published in May 1955 during the reign of Chief Commissioner Selwyn Porter, who, according to Victoria Police historian Dr Robert Haldane, was the first chief to adopt a business approach to public relations. Mr Porter was keen to cultivate good relations with all sections of the news media and promote a better police image. The publication of an official monthly newspaper, Police Life, was one of a number of lasting innovations he made in this field. Victoria’s longest serving Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks, was quoted in the first edition of the publication saying “I welcome the ideas which have prompted the institution of this newspaper, which will, I feel sure, be of the greatest benefit to you all”. The newspaper evolved into a magazine in May 1959 and has been used by chief commissioners to communicate key organisational messages to the community. Police Life became a constant source of story ideas for print and television journalists. The magazine has also informed readers about different aspects of policing in Victoria, including programs, innovations and successes in policing and promoted it as an interesting and viable career option. A key change to the publication is the cover, which has gone from having articles on the front to a single, powerful photograph dominating the page. A number of celebrities and popular culture icons have graced our covers over time, including Cathy Freeman, Con the Fruiterer, Batman and RoboCop. One editorial section that has featured since the first edition is the focus on an interesting criminal case, including the investigation and capture of drug trafficker Tony Mokbel and the investigation of the Bali bombing in 2002. Whether it’s to read about historic cases or learn about new frontiers in crime solving and prevention, Police Life remains a much anticipated publication for members of the police family and you, our loyal readership. We hope you enjoy the new-look Police Life.

Editorial: Anthony Loncaric






















Victoria Police detectives are using forensic evidence frozen more than 25 years ago to solve cold cases

In the 1980s there was a worldwide buzz about using DNA to solve crime investigations. The potential of this new science promised to revolutionise the way police identified suspects. Victoria Police’s Forensic Services Department’s assistant director of biology John Scheffer saw the initial evidence collection process when he started working there in 1982. “Testing back then was not as robust as it is today and if we weren’t able to process crime scene samples within about six months, there was very little chance of influencing the investigation or judicial outcome,” he said. “From 1983, many of us started working overtime collecting samples from crime scenes such as blood, semen or other fluids, bagging them up and putting them into freezers at minus 70 degrees, knowing their lifespan would then be a lot longer.” Fast forward to 2011 and DNA was being used around the world to identify and exonerate crime suspects. Victoria Police employed two additional fixed-term staff to start extracting the DNA and creating profiles for the 25 to 30-year-old samples in the freezer. Biological Examination Unit’s Julie McCall said the DNA profiles being created were for crimes such as murders, sexual assaults and armed robberies.

“Since 2011 we have processed 600 samples. We have generated 425 profiles and have come up with 100 DNA matches,” she said. “The National DNA Database has been a wonderful tool which has assisted us to match DNA samples to known offenders. It is a very rewarding job.” The Sex Crimes Squad’s Detective Senior Sergeant Dr Deb Bennett said the DNA profiles were being used to solve cold cases. “We have been able to solve some crimes that occurred more than 25 years ago and give those victims some closure,” she said. “We’ve had some great results.” So far, Victoria Police has DNA relating to more than 200 cold cases. One involved an offender who committed two rapes. The first happened about 10.30am on 15 April, 1992, when two young females hitch-hiked a lift from Warrigal Road in Mentone. They were picked up by a man driving a small car. He dropped one woman off in Dandenong and a short time later the second woman asked to be let out near her home in Heatherton. As she walked home, she was grabbed from behind and raped. On 26 August, 1996 a young woman was walking her dog along the Yarra Trail in Fairfield when a man started walking with her.

As they approached a disused shed, he forced her inside and raped her. Both crimes were unsolved at the time, but forensic evidence was frozen. It was analysed after 2011 and matched Leonard Levett to the crimes. He pleaded not guilty to both attacks and was sentenced to 13 years with a non-parole period of nine. Another offender, Pieter Hendriks, who also committed two separate stranger rapes in 1983 and 1984, was convicted earlier this year. Both rapes occurred in the Frankston area. In one, a lady was sitting in her car waiting for her husband to return when Hendriks got in, held up a knife and directed her to a deserted car park where he assaulted her. In the other incident, Hendriks entered a clothing store just before closing time. He pretended to try on jeans before forcing the sales assistant to the back room. Due to forensic evidence collected at the time and later analysed, Hendriks was charged and convicted of both incidents. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in jail, with a non-parole period of nine years.

Right Cold cases The fridge that holds 25 to 30-year-old evidence. Editorial: Janae Houghton Photography: Clay Burke





WATER WARNING As the weather heats up, Victoria Police is increasing patrols of waterways and boat ramps

THE CRIME Nicol Heard said there were no words to explain the panic of seeing her 12-year-old son Billy floating, unconscious, on Curdies River in south-west Victoria on Australia Day 2014. Her youngest son Paddy had died from a rare brain virus in May 2013 and the family were at the river hoping to enjoy a nice family day out. But the trip turned into a nightmare when Billy, who was on a ski biscuit being towed by his father Murray, was struck by a jet-ski. The driver of the jet-ski had performed a u-turn at fast speed to avoid an oncoming vessel and drove between Mr Heard’s boat and Billy’s ski biscuit, catching the tow line and pulling Billy towards him causing the collision. Billy was taken to the Warrnambool Base Hospital for scans before being flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital the next morning. His parents feared they could lose another son. “We were in a terrible state until we were told he hadn’t broken his neck,” Mrs Heard said. “To see another son not lucid, not able to speak to us was just horrific.” The driver of the jet-ski was interviewed by police at Port Campbell Police Station where it was determined he was over the blood alcohol limit and did not hold a licence to operate the jet-ski.

THE MESSAGE He had his seven-year-old son riding with him at the time of the collision. Police charged him with recklessly causing injury and he was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a $1750 fine. Victoria Police’s Marine Investigation Unit’s Sergeant Adrian Sinclair said seeing any child injured as a result of reckless or negligent behavior would be extremely traumatic for parents. “This incident could have ended up a lot worse,” he said. “Young Billy made a full physical recovery but there are some mental scars from it.” Mrs Heard said Water Police officers had made a big effort to help Billy regain his confidence on the water. “Billy has suffered from post-traumatic stress and he won’t go on rides because of the incident,” she said. “The Water Police have taken him under their wing and taken him out on their boats to help him get over his fears.”

Sgt Sinclair said it was a major concern that incidents like the one involving Billy were happening more and more each summer. “People need to start shifting their mindset in terms of thinking of jet-skis as toys,” he said. “A driver of a jet-ski, or any other boat, is just as responsible for the safety of themselves and others as the driver of a motor vehicle. We had a few cases last summer of reckless behavior on our waterways causing very serious injuries and we are working on other cases involving death.” He said the Water Police would be patrolling waterways and performing checks on boat ramps this summer with an uncompromising approach to hoon behavior. “Those who disobey rules and don’t ensure their safety and the safety of others will be investigated by the Water Police and the Marine Investigation Unit,” Sgt Sinclair said. “They can expect to be charged with very serious offences if they are responsible for causing an incident.”

Right Water patrol Police are ensuring safety in and out of the water. Editorial: Anthony Loncaric Photography: Peter Clarke






Police prepare for the drug bus shift. Six probationary constables work with RPDAS for about four weeks to learn how to administer drug and breath tests.


Random testing is underway and police have already caught two drivers who had taken methamphetamine and a driver without his P-plates displayed. 16



The bus is set up and the equipment in place. Two highway patrol cars support the bus with one in a nearby street to ensure anyone trying to sneak past is caught.


After a five minute preliminary drug test, a driver with a positive reading to methamphetamine is taken into the drug bus for the second test, an oral fluid test, which will be sent to a lab for confirmation.

Up to 1000 breath tests are conducted by police during each booze bus shift A man in his 30s in a business suit, a young woman driving a hatch-back and a 53-year-old woman. What do they have in common? They have all been nabbed driving while on drugs, namely ice or speed. Victoria Police’s Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section (RPDAS) runs eight drug and booze buses at sites across the state. Police Life spent a shift with the team aiming to randomly test drivers for drugs from a static location in Reservoir, in Melbourne’s north. The six constables, who recently finished their training at the Victoria Police Academy, prepare the bus site and the first group of drivers is randomly pulled in for testing. Four drivers are breath tested, then given a preliminary drug test, which the driver swipes over their tongue. While they wait for the results, police check their driver’s licence and registration. Within minutes, a constable has discovered a young driver without his P-plates displayed. He is handed an infringement notice. As more drivers roll in, one constable signals to a colleague that he has a drug driver. The woman steps out of her car and stumbles her way to the bus, where she undergoes the next step in the process, an oral fluid test. She later admits that she took speed about two days ago and did not realise it would still be in her system.



Her sample will be sent to a laboratory for further testing. She is restricted from driving for 12 hours and will have her licence suspended for at least three months once her sample is confirmed in a laboratory. A 43-year-old man also tests positive to methamphetamine and tells police he took about $30 worth of speed. His licence will be suspended once it is confirmed in the lab also. Up to 1000 breath tests are conducted by police during each booze bus shift. When the drug bus is operating, up to 150 drivers are tested for alcohol and drugs over the course of each shift. In Reservoir, two women and two men tested positive to methamphetamine and one man was positive for cannabis. Police also caught a 40-year-old with a .07 alcohol reading and fined drivers for five other traffic offences. Senior Sergeant Mick Stafford said people like these were endangering other road users. “Statistics show that you’re more likely to be a victim of road fatality than a random act of homicide,” he said. “We hope that having the buses out and about will deter people from driving while on alcohol or drugs. “We test for methamphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis with the random drug testing program and we are currently seeing an increase in the detection of methamphetamine.” After police finish their training at the Victoria Police Academy they spend four weeks at RPDAS expanding their knowledge of road policing. “They’re not just standing there holding out the preliminary breath test straw, they’re also educating the public about safe driving behaviour,” Sen Sgt Stafford said. The buses are out on the roads for up to 400 hours per week, placed in sites based on road collision statistics and operational needs.

Their testing activities include country events such as the Southern 80 at Echuca and Meredith Music Festival. Leading Senior Constable Clayton Smith has worked for RPDAS for about 13 years and said he was still surprised by how dangerous some drivers could be. He remembers pulling over a woman who blew .301 on a breath test. “She almost fell when she was getting out of the car and I had to get someone to stand behind her as she was getting into the booze bus in case she fell backwards,” he said. “She was an alcoholic and her daughter called two days later to thank us for taking her mum’s licence away.” After almost 20 years with RPDAS, Sergeant Richard Bova said he still enjoyed his work. “I like working with the trainees,” he said. “They’re fantastic. The energy they have is great. They all say let’s go out and do some work. “We are mentoring them from day one and provide them with positive road policing experiences so that when they leave us, they feel confident in themselves and bring that experience and knowledge to the police station they go to.”

Watch the Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section in action at

Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Craig Sillitoe




CAROLINE SPRINGS CORRECTIONS CREW Police and prison staff work together to stop contraband entering Victoria’s prison system. Police Life joined a team as they performed a random car park raid at the Metropolitan Remand Centre.

The Caroline Springs Corrections Crew was set up in 2007 to ensure a thorough investigation process was in place for crimes committed at jails. Located at the Caroline Springs Police Station, the crew has a detective sergeant and two uniform police who investigate criminal offences that occur at the Metropolitan Remand Centre or the Dame Phyllis Frost women’s prison, both in Ravenhall.



Acting Detective Sergeant Chris Egan has been running the crew for about 18 months and said it dealt with a variety of jobs. “The unit also serves summonses and intervention orders on the prisoners.” A/Det Sgt Egan said the crew worked closely with Corrections Victoria staff and had a great relationship with them, conducting random car park raids at both prisons.

“Corrections staff will search all visitors’ vehicles using their dogs and police check all the visitors for any criminal, driving or traffic offences, outstanding warrants or similar issues,” he said. “We ensure any criminal offences are followed up and prison staff search for any contraband, such as drugs or alcohol, to make sure it doesn’t end up in the prison.”








In his time, A/Det Sgt Egan’s team has caught a man arriving on a stolen motorcycle, a stolen car was left in the car park and former prisoners, who had been out of jail only a few days and were returning to pick up their belongings, had been found with drugs on them. Police Life went to a recent car park raid at the Metropolitan Remand Centre. Uniformed and plain clothed police, along with Corrections staff and search dogs, set up just out of sight of the main entrance. “We will be here most of the day and will check every single vehicle and visitor that comes through the main entrance,” A/Det Sgt Egan said. The vehicles begin entering the prison car park. The first is an elderly woman in a fourwheel-drive. Her car is searched and cleared and she has no outstanding fines or warrants, so is allowed to go and visit an inmate. The next driver is stopped. A woman in her 20s is asked to get out of her white ute. Prison staff search the vehicle and are shocked to find it is full of rubbish, clothing, shoes and other items. A search dog finds a couple of full alcohol bottles, which are quickly confiscated as alcohol is not permitted on prison property.


Meanwhile, police check the young woman’s details and find her licence is suspended. “Unfortunately for this young lady she will not be driving home from here today,” A/Det Sgt Egan said. Throughout the day, most cars and occupants are cleared without incident. But there were a number picked up for various offences. One woman pulls up in a Commodore. She gets out of the car, gets her young daughter out of the car seat and informs police her daughter is turning one today and they are visiting her dad. Police discover she does not have a driver’s licence and has never had one. Another visitor has her small child in a car seat in the front seat. Another no-no. She will receive a fine in the mail. Almost 70 vehicles and 93 people were checked during the operation. Eight penalty notices were handed out, three briefs of evidence will be compiled and two warrants executed. “We were pretty happy with how the operation went. We had some great outcomes,” A/Det Sgt Egan said.

Images Prison raids 01 Leading Senior Constable Shona O’Connor completes paperwork to have a woman’s licence suspended. 02 A dog searches for contraband. 03 Police conduct checks on people coming in and out of the prison. 04 A  lcohol is confiscated from one vehicle. 05 Corrections staff search a car. Editorial: Janae Houghton Photography: Andrew Henshaw



Graffiti vandals damaging train carriages and property put themselves and the public in danger while costing society millions in cleanup. Victoria Police is working with train operators to get tough on these spray can-wielding criminals.



You are on the way to work in peak hour and your train has stopped between stations. You jump to the conclusion it is a signal fault or maybe one of those copper thieves you have read about. However, chances are it is a graffiti vandal. Victoria Police’s Transit Divisional Response Unit (DRU) Senior Sergeant David Cochrane and his team are targeting the graffiti vandals who are stealing your time and money. “A concerning trend is that graffiti vandals are triggering stop signals causing train drivers to stop in the middle of the line. When this happens they quickly spray paint a carriage,” Sen Sgt Cochrane said. “These vandals are well organised and work in groups. They hide themselves under hooded jumpers, wrap shirts around their faces and conceal cans of spray paint in backpacks. “They prepare their routes and trigger the train signals well in advance because they have to move quickly. “They are putting in all that effort to be recognised and respected by fellow vandals. To them it’s all about kudos. “In reality they are damaging property, causing hundreds of train delays and cancellations and costing Victorian tax payers millions of dollars to clean it off. Not to mention putting themselves, the public and train drivers in life-threatening danger.” Transit DRU officers work undercover to stop graffiti vandalism on the train network. Operation Docile focused on a graffiti crew whose members committed hundreds of offences over 10 years. The six-month investigation was one of the Transit DRU’s greatest successes.

Below Graffiti fight Constable Stacey Maliko examines the remnants of graffiti vandalism. Editorial: Sara-Jane Hooper Photography: Shane Bell

“The criminal damage was mostly rail-based. During their escapades this vandal crew disrupted moving trains causing hundreds of cancellations of metropolitan train services, plus delays to clean off the damage,” Sen Sgt Cochrane said. Eight people were arrested, many of whom were linked to interstate and international graffiti vandals. Police seized computers, smart phones, tablets, sketch books, plans and graffiti images that were used to plan, collude or commit the criminal damage. “The main offender was charged with 115 counts of criminal damage over his 10 years of offending. He was sentenced to 12 months’ jail,” Sen Sgt Cochrane said. “Other offenders were sentenced to perform unpaid community work and were put on community correction orders. “All up, the vandals were required to pay back more than $65,000 to the rail operators for the damage they caused.” Along with punishments handed down by the courts, rail operators have started fighting back against vandals. “Rail operators now commence bankruptcy proceedings against vandals who ignore or fail to pay compensation orders issued by the courts,” Sen Sgt Cochrane said. “One offender from the Docile investigation was bankrupted in October last year by network operator Metro. In another case we had an offender pay up to $40,000 in outstanding compensation costs, to avoid civil bankruptcy proceedings.” Sen Sgt Cochrane said Victoria Police had similar successes in many joint operations with Metro Network Security and Surveillance officers and V/Line. “By working together and sharing intelligence, we are targeting crime hot spots and catching more graffiti vandals,” he said.

HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP VANDALS x If you see vandalism occurring call Triple Zero (000) x If you have information you think may help in the fight against vandalism, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 x Do not share photos or videos of illegal graffiti on social media. Give them to the police via Crime Stoppers

PREVENT GRAFFITI ON YOUR PROPERTY x Try to clean graffiti off your property straight away x Consider planting trees, shrubs or creepers in front of walls and fences to prevent access to vandals x Consider installing motion sensors or CCTV to ward off offenders x Increase lighting in areas that might be targeted x Use paint with a protective coating that causes sprays to drip and ruin graffiti tags






Acting Senior Sergeant Jennifer McKenna and Senior Sergeant Steven Wood plan to send a team out to patrol a shopping centre.




Constable Neil Walden and Senior Constable Elyse Mason speak to a young local.


Sen Sgt Wood tasks officers to assist in negotiating with a man who had allegedly assaulted officers.

Police Life’s Anthony Loncaric discovered there is no such thing as an average day at Narre Warren Police Station Police at Narre Warren Police Station were preparing to head out to Westfield Fountain Gate Shopping Centre to run an operation targeting shoplifters when their plans for the morning suddenly changed. News came through on the police radio that a man had allegedly assaulted police and was refusing to cooperate with them after they were called to his Doveton home. The man had allegedly committed multiple assault-related offences, including firearms and weapons offences, driving offences and making threats to inflict serious injury. Narre Warren police were tasked to assist in negotiating with the man. They helped cordon-off all streets surrounding the property to ensure the community’s safety. Constable Neil Walden, who graduated from the Victoria Police Academy in May, said he had learned quickly to expect anything could happen on a shift at Narre Warren. “I was meant to do paperwork today as I prepare for a move to Dandenong Police Station but the boss said anyone who was free needed to get kitted-up and head out to this job,” Const Walden said. “Narre Warren is a great place to learn because you are exposed to such a variety of police work.” One of the key focus areas for members at the station is family violence investigations with the team working on an average of about 120 incidents each month.

Family Violence Liaison Officer Acting Sergeant Luke Sorati said the rates were so high due to a fast rising population in the City of Casey, which has about 281,000 residents. “More than half of the family violence reports we handle involve us taking criminal action against the perpetrator,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good results and we recently managed to remand a father who continued to breach his orders and offend. We’re focused on trying to remand as many recidivists as possible.” Another focus area is youth-related crime, which is why the officers at the station were planning on spending time at the local shopping centre. The Casey Response and Tasking Team’s Sergeant Simon Polson said police in his team regularly conducted overt and covert patrols at the centre. “We have guys in plain clothes doing patrols and officers in uniform around so the community can feel a police presence,” Sgt Polson said. “We work closely with security at the complex and they contact us directly if they detect an offender. It takes pressure off members working on the divisional vans so they are free to work on other jobs. “Theft of and from cars is also a major issue we’re focused on with a lot of young people just walking around trying car door handles and stealing whatever they can get their hands on.”

His message to the community on this problem was simple. “If you press a button to lock your car do a quick check to make sure it is locked,” he said. “It’s a simple message, but people still aren’t getting it.” Sgt Polson’s team also runs operations to target recidivist offenders who have failed to turn up to court to answer for numerous offences including thefts, assaults and driving offences. Over summer, Narre Warren police will monitor and respond to emergency or critical incidents like bushfires. An Incident Police Operation Centre (IPOC) recently opened at the station and is on standby in the event of an emergency. Station Commander Senior Sergeant Steven Wood said the IPOC was equipped with computers, phones and other communications equipment. “We can coordinate a response to an emergency from the IPOC and all our members know the roles they have to play,” Sen Sgt Wood said. “The centre allows coordination with other emergency services including the Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service. They can attend the facility to ensure we are all connected.” Left Front line Police block off a street where they are negotiating with a man. Editorial: Anthony Loncaric Photography: Craig Sillitoe


Leading Senior Constable Steve Butler cordons-off a street leading to the man’s property.


Officers have the situation under control and the man is in police custody.


Ldg Sen Const Butler and Const Walden chat to a resident.




DETECTIVE SENIOR SERGEANT WAYNE CHEESMAN One of Victoria Police’s most respected officers tells how he almost didn’t achieve his goal to become a policeman. Taskforce Echo’s Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Cheesman didn’t get to shake former Chief Commissioner Mick Miller’s hand when he first went through the Victoria Police Academy in 1985. That’s because he failed to graduate on his first attempt to become a police officer. “I was an 18-year-old private school boy with little life experience and was booted out three weeks before graduation,” Det Sen Sgt Cheesman said. “I was probably a little bit soft and immature. It was a shame because Mick Miller was the Chief Commissioner at the time and I really wanted to meet him.” Det Sen Sgt Cheesman did security work at a number of Melbourne pubs and clubs before trying to join Victoria Police again. There were no problems the second time. He graduated in 1987 and was stationed at Sandringham, before stints at Moorabbin and Mount Waverley police stations. His next move to St Kilda Police Station proved to be an important step in shaping his policing career. “It was a busy station with a lot of ex-Crime Squad detectives who were my sergeants,” Det Sen Sgt Cheesman said. “They expected hard work, and pushed us to do our best. 24


“After seven years in general duties I did the first Field Investigator’s Course and was awarded the Most Promising Investigator Award.” Det Sen Sgt Cheesman then worked as a detective at Prahran and the Drug Squad before a two-year secondment with the Australian Crime Commission. He returned as a detective sergeant with the Homicide Squad where he worked from 2007 to 2010. “For the last 18 months with the Homicide Squad I worked under Ron Iddles who without doubt, made me a better investigator,” he said. “His knowledge, professionalism and work ethic was something to be admired and I just can’t speak highly enough of him.” In 2011, Det Sen Sgt Cheesman was promoted and asked to set up a taskforce to address Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCGs). “I didn’t know much about OMCGs at all but I was given a lot of support and opportunities to learn,” he said. “My bosses at the time were integral to my own development and with setting up Taskforce Echo.” He said he felt fortunate to be given the opportunity to attend international conferences and meet with investigators from various agencies in the United States and Canada. “Through these international contacts and those I have made in Australia, I gained knowledge and credibility which assists me when giving evidence,” he said.

Det Sen Sgt Cheesman and his team have played a major part in disrupting illegal operations of OMCGs with regular raids of bikie clubhouses, significant arrests, and seizures of drugs, cash and firearms. He is now recognised as an expert on OMCGs and was named Mick Miller Detective of the Year on 30 September. “I finally got to shake Mick Miller’s hand and it was great to have Chief Commissioner Ken Lay there,” he said. “I am humbled to win the award and although it is an individual award, I accept it as a token of recognition for all stakeholders, internally and externally, who have contributed to Victoria Police’s success in addressing outlaw motorcycle gangs. It is a team effort that enables success and I am very aware of that.” Speaking at the award ceremony Det Sen Sgt Cheesman thanked all past and present members of Taskforce Echo for their support. “They have shown outstanding dedication and commitment in achieving the outcomes we all seek together,” he said.

Right Detective of the Year Det Sen Sgt Cheesman’s work on OMCGs led to him being recognised with the Mick Miller Detective of the Year Award. Editorial: Anthony Loncaric Photography: Clay Burke


Left Crime prevention Ldg Sen Const O’Connor spreads the Help Yourself message. Editorial: Mandi Santic


In more than 50% of thefts from cars, there was no sign of forced entry. Victorians are urged to be more vigilant in protecting their homes, vehicles and personal belongings from thieves.

Insp Langdon said these crimes were mostly opportunistic and could have been prevented. “There are simple things the community can do to help prevent these crimes. This starts by locking doors and windows of homes and cars, and securing personal belongings,” he said. Insp Langdon urged everyone to participate in reducing crime. “Be active in reducing the opportunity for crime and protect your valuable property.”

The Help Yourself campaign aims to promote and increase public awareness about crime prevention, particularly high volume crimes. The 12-month campaign by Victoria Police and the Department of Justice was launched at six police service areas (PSAs) including Ballarat, Morwell, Pakenham, Whittlesea, Dandenong and Heidelberg in September. Victoria Police Safer Communities Unit’s Inspector Anthony Langdon said police would patrol crime hot spots at the times they were most likely to occur. “This coupled with active community participation and an increased awareness about the campaign can help reduce crime,” Insp Langdon said. From July 2012 to June 2013, there were 9575 incidents of theft from motor vehicles with no sign of forced entry and 8231 residential burglaries where offenders entered through an unlocked window or door.

In more than 50% of thefts from cars, there was no sign of forced entry

In more than 50% of thefts from cars, there was no sign of forced entry. Whittlesea PSA’s Crime Prevention Officer Leading Senior Constable Sandy O’Connor said police were working hard to spread the message. “We have been distributing information and posters for residents and businesses and have partnered with newspapers to promote the Help Yourself message,” she said. The campaign will be evaluated to measure its effectiveness next year.

For more information visit 26


Whittlesea PSA’s Crime Prevention Officer Leading Senior Constable Sandy O’Connor offers the following safety tips: Protect yourYOUR home: 1. PROTECT HOME > Lock all windows and doors when absent > Have someone collect your mail > Leave lights on a timer > Do not leave bins out > Consider installing an alarm system > Notify neighbours if you plan to be absent for any period of time > Consider installing sensor lights – lighting can be a deterrent to potential thieves 2. REDUCE CAR THEFTS > Try not to park in dark or isolated areas > Do not leave valuables such as mobile phones, handbags, laptops or loose change visible in your car > Ensure your car doors and windows are locked > If you have a driveway, use it. Do not park your vehicle on the street where it is easily accessed 3. PERSONAL SAFETY > Carry purses and handbags close to your body. Ensure they are zipped and secured at all times > Never leave handbags unattended in shopping trolleys or prams > Use ATMs inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy areas > Shield your PIN number when withdrawing money > Stay in well lit areas at night


A group of 15 young people from policing families were given the opportunity to be recruits for a day. The Recruit for a Day event was held at the Victoria Police Academy in Glen Waverley and organised by Victoria Police Legacy and the Academy’s Foundation Student Management Unit. The participants, aged between 16 and 22, were the children of police who had lost their lives from illness, accident, or in the line of duty. A range of activities were organised throughout the day including physical training, an interactive weapons training demonstration, a community engagement session and watching a squad of police graduate.


Event organiser Leading Senior Constable Sue Gillett said it was designed to give the young people a taste of policing while maintaining a connection with police families. “It can be very difficult for any child to lose a parent. We wanted to do something that would help them along the way,” she said. “Recruit for a Day has given them a better understanding of the training their parent undertook when they were recruits.” She said the event was a success and all participants enjoyed themselves. “It was great to see everyone having fun. The work they did, although modified, was very similar to what a real recruit would do,” Ldg Sen Const Gillett said.

William Baird, 17, son of Detective Senior Constable Stephen Baird, who passed away from a heart attack, took part in the day and said he would consider becoming a police officer. “It appeals to me because from what I’ve heard, no two jobs are the same and it offers career building opportunities,” he said. Victoria Police Legacy’s youth events coordinator Andrea Lyons said the group had experienced a day full of pride. “Their parents were a part of, and still are, the policing family,” Ms Lyons said. Images Police family 01 Chief Commissioner Ken Lay spoke to the group on the day. 02 The group took part in practical and classroom activities. Editorial: Mandi Santic POLICE LIFE | SUMMER 2015



SERGEANT PATRICK HAYES FRANKSTON POLICE STATION “On Christmas day at Mornington a few years ago, my partner and I responded to a pig running loose, covered in Christmas decorations. Much to the delight of bystanders on the street, I was able to contain the pig to the front yard of a house and wrestled it to the ground. The local ranger eventually attended and returned the pig to its owner.”



SERGEANT ALISTAIR NISBET WATER POLICE “During an Advanced Swift Water Rescue Course, which required camping out in sub-zero temperatures in country Victoria, one of the guys on the course had purchased a sleeping bag he found on sale without really having a good look at it. A  fter a lengthy dinner by the fire he went to jump into his sleeping bag and found out he had bought a children’s sleeping bag, which only covered his legs. It was a cold night for him and I still laugh when I think about that story.”

Editorial: Mandi Santic


LEADING SENIOR CONSTABLE JOHN HARDIMAN DROUIN POLICE STATION “On a freezing cold, wet and windy night, I was working nightshift at Moe Police Station when my partner and I went to get petrol. Two cars pulled up next to our van and a group of people got out and asked for directions to Aberfeldy. Given the nature of the weather and the number of trees falling, we encouraged them to find local accommodation. Turns out the group of 16 were exchange students travelling through Victoria. We tried to help them find accommodation at local motels but had no luck. At 2am I rang my wife and asked how she felt about having 16 students stay the night. I offered that they use my backyard as a camp ground and they took up the offer. I spent the following morning making pancakes for our guests, which was a real winner and I even had a pancake cook-off with a Canadian. They were a great bunch of people and I’m glad I could help out.”

“I went to a job and while police were inside talking to a young man, I walked out the front door unaware of a large wasp nest nearby. I was swarmed by hundreds of wasps. I ran back inside the house still covered in them and yelling, having been stung numerous times. T  he other officers thought I was being pursued by an offender, but later proceeded to fall about in fits of laughter. F air to say I am constantly reminded of my close encounter with the nasty side of nature.”

ACTING SERGEANT ROB DUNSTAN OPERATIONS RESPONSE UNIT “As a constable working nightshift I had to patrol swimming centres and St Kilda Beach as part of security for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.  y partner encouraged me to drive our car on St Kilda Beach M and 20 metres in we became bogged in the sand and were unable to move. I was about to call for a tow on the police radio when I saw some people walking nearby. Thankfully, they helped us push the car out of the sand.”



“When I was a senior constable at Frankston, I was patrolling with another officer and we were chatting away, when we noticed our sergeant in the car behind us trying to get our attention. I got out of the car and the sergeant, who had pulled up behind us, said I was on air. Apparently our conversation in the car was being broadcast to half of Victoria.”

“I was once involved in a pursuit and followed two offenders from North Melbourne to Parkville. They ended up driving into a wall at the Melbourne Zoo and tried to escape the scene. My partner got on the speaker and told them it was not safe to leave the car because they had hit the lion enclosure. They believed him and waited in the car until we arrested them.”





02 Images Now and Then 01 As a young graduate. 02 Mr Frame is still connected to Victoria Police through family who are in the job. 03 In 1988 as Deputy Commissioner. 03

JOHN FRAME Former Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner John Frame tells Police Life about his policing experiences and life after retirement. “During my 32-year policing career, one thing I’ll never forget was dealing with the response to the brutal and cold-blooded murders of constables Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre. It was without a doubt the most difficult matter I’d been involved with. A more positive job was when I managed a three-day siege at the Bendigo Gaol where an offender had taken a number of prison staff hostage. Luckily, that was resolved peacefully and without injury. Policing was a challenging, yet rewarding career. In 1986, I became staff officer to Chief Commissioner Mick Miller and was later promoted to assistant, then deputy commissioner.

I really enjoyed playing a senior leadership role and working with the dedicated men and women who made up Victoria Police, as well as Aboriginal and ethnic community groups, who I found to be very keen to foster relationships. Throughout my policing career I loved helping people and giving closure to victims of crime. After retiring in 1993, I worked as director of security and loss prevention for Coles Group Limited (formerly Coles Myer Limited) for five years. Although the culture was quite different to that of Victoria Police, alongside a small team, I was able to make improvements to the workplace and I’m sure my policing background assisted with this. As I like to keep myself busy and community involvement is important to me, I’ve been a member of a range of government and non-government agency boards. I’m currently a member of the Police Registration and Services Board and determine disciplinary reviews and appeals against non-promotion or selection of police. The role keeps me very much in touch with Victoria Police, as does having a son and daughter-in-law in the job.”


Appointed Constable

1962 – Worked at Footscray, Geelong, 1976 Sunshine and Altona police stations 1969 – Fraud and Homicide squads 1972 1974

Instructor at the Detective Training School


Inspector at Internal Investigations Bureau


Presented with National Medal and Clasp


Appointed Assistant Commissioner


Appointed Deputy Commissioner


Received the Australian Police Medal




Presented with Centenary Medal

If you know a former police officer who would like to share their interesting career during and beyond policing, contact via email.

Editorial: Mandi Santic Photography: Clay Burke 30



The Victoria Police Museum is at World Trade Centre, 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne, open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

In a crime that stunned the nation, police were led on an extensive manhunt to track down a kidnapper. Police Life looks back on this historic case. On 6 October, 1972, Edwin John Eastwood stormed into Faraday State Primary School near Castlemaine, armed with a rifle and said “school’s over for today, kids”. Along with his accomplice Robert Clyde Boland, Eastwood kidnapped six children and their teacher, Mary Gibbs, and drove them into bushland. The kidnappers threatened to kill all hostages if their $1 million ransom was not paid. Police quickly made a plan. Then Education Minister Lindsay Thompson was asked to drop the ransom money off, while then Assistant Commissioner Bill Crowley acted as his driver.

Hidden underneath a blanket in the back seat was the assistant commissioner at the time, Mick Miller, who later went on to become chief commissioner. He described it as a difficult situation. “If you can’t endeavour the safe release of hostages within 24 hours, it might simply be too late,” Mr Miller said. “In the end, the kidnappers didn’t show up and we soon found out that the hostages had escaped.” Ms Gibbs and the children managed to escape from the van they were locked in after the 20-year-old teacher kicked out a door panel. After an extensive manhunt, the kidnappers were caught and sentenced to 15 and 17 years’ jail. While serving his sentence in December 1976, Eastwood escaped from Geelong Prison and, yet again, landed himself in trouble.

On 15 February, 1977, he kidnapped another teacher and nine students from Wooreen State School in South Gippsland and chained them up with six other hostages in remote bushland. Eventually, one of the adults managed to free himself and notified police. Road blocks were set up around Eastwood’s hiding spot and, after a tense stand-off and being shot in the leg by police, he was recaptured.

Above Piece of history Police at the scene of the Wooreen kidnappings. Editorial: Mandi Santic



Police Life Summer 2015  
Police Life Summer 2015