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Parsu’s passion A former refugee is using his role at Victoria Police to improve relationships with new arrivals.


Ready to respond Police took part in a major exercise to ensure they are well-prepared for a critical incident.

COVER: Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has been appointed to lead Victoria Police into the future. Photography: David Johns 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


In the air Spend an average day in the air and on the ground with the Air Wing.


Out and about Mansfield police tell their stories of searches and solving crime.

Editor Maria Carnovale Journalists Sara-Jane Hooper Jane McCubbin Belle Nolan 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.



05 18 26


Behind the Badge True Crime Career in Focus

Finding Fugitives

The Fugitive Taskforce tracks down repeat offenders and puts them back behind bars.

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER Accordingly, this job also comes with enormous responsibility that must be taken on effectively and efficiently. For more than 160 years, the organisation has been at the forefront of protecting the community and we must all ensure sure this tradition remains and is observed. Having said that, I think it’s important to deliver a very modern and effective, contemporary face of policing.

It was with great pride that I accepted the position of Chief Commissioner and am looking forward to the challenges ahead when I start the role on 1 July. It’s an honour to be asked to lead Victoria Police, an organisation that is steeped in traditions and one of Australia’s oldest institutions.



One of our biggest challenges is having people with the right skills, equipment and technology to meet the current and future challenges. This must be done with a safety focus. Our first responders should arrive quickly, get the job done effectively and have the skills, equipment and support to do their work properly. This is also applicable for our specialist and investigative areas and support staff.

Currently we have many competing priorities including family violence, counter terrorism, road safety, organised crime and the use of ice. Ultimately though, we have one priority, keeping the community safe. The way we engage with Victorians, especially victims of crime, and making sure we are an inclusive police force are also really important elements of policing. I want the community to be confident that Victoria Police will continue to stand the test of time and continue to meet the challenges ahead. I’m passionate about this job and, like all police, I really want to make a positive difference in our community. I am joined by an experienced and equally passionate command team, committed to making Victoria a safer place.

Graham Ashton AM Chief Commissioner

MAKING NEWS For the latest police news visit

ASHTON APPOINTED The appointment of Mr Ashton was announced on 25 May and he will start the role on 1 July, becoming Victoria Police’s 22nd Chief Commissioner. Mr Ashton has been a police officer for 34 years, including 24 years with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), five with the then Victorian Office of Police Integrity and five with Victoria Police. Victoria Police recruited Mr Ashton in 2009 and, in 2012, appointed him Deputy Commissioner Specialist Operations, responsible for crime, road policing, intelligence and covert services, forensics and legal services. He has also led changes to the handling of child sexual abuse cases, cracked down on crime associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs and initiated sport integrity reforms. Mr Ashton said he was proud to have been appointed Chief Commissioner. “To be heading this organisation is a great honour,” he said.

“As Chief Commissioner, I want to make sure Victoria Police’s traditions are observed into the future, but also present a modern police force.” He said there were many challenges ahead for the organisation, including counter terrorism. “Part of my job will be to make sure Victoria Police has the ability to respond effectively and make sure our community engagement model continues to evolve,” Mr Ashton said. Public order, family violence, ice and organised gangs were also identified as issues he would focus on, while having the right people with the right skills and technology in place to continue to have the community’s confidence into the future. Mr Ashton has extensive knowledge of counter terrorism issues and will head overseas to be briefed on international policing issues in this space, before taking on the Chief Commissioner role.

A victim-focused, smart and contemporary police force is what Victoria Police’s new Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton aims to deliver to the community. In 2002, Mr Ashton led Australia’s response and investigation into the Bali Bombings, which resulted in him receiving the Order of Australia Medal. He also managed global AFP resources in the field of counter terrorism in 2003 and 2004. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the appointment and said Mr Ashton had a strong background in leadership. “He is someone with a strength of character and wealth of experience, which makes him the right Chief Commissioner for Victoria Police.”

Image New Chief 01 A  cting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright

and Premier Daniel Andrews congratulated Mr Ashton on his appointment. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Clay Burke POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015




Why is it important for police to have good relationships with their communities? SENIOR CONSTABLE BREN LODI Echuca Police Station

“Building good relationships with community members gives them trust and confidence to approach us. Echuca is a small town, so we really rely on residents communicating with police.” LEADING SENIOR CONSTABLE BERNIE COWLEY Echuca Police Station

Is it an offence to park your car in the opposite direction to traffic? LEANNE, BALLARAT Yes, it is an offence to park on the wrong side of the road, not facing the direction of travel. It is a safety issue due to the driver having to drive onto the wrong side of the road when entering and exiting the parking spot. The offence for parking in the wrong direction on a road could incur an $89 fine.

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


“It’s integral for police to foster good relationships with people. It makes the job so much easier when people respond to you quickly because they know you. We rely on the community to be our eyes and ears and they’re always happy to help out.” SENIOR SERGEANT MICHAEL CARROLL Echuca Police Station

“We want the community to trust us and know we are looking after them. They also play an important role and feed us a lot of information, letting us know what is going on. Police are also part of the community and want to make it safer for all our families.”

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

@cohalan Thank you @VictoriaPolice #StKilda for getting my #bicycle back! #Upholdtheright

@CEO_AFAC Well done @vicsesnews and @VictoriaPolice - a great effort and outcome in locating missing boy at Lake Eildon today

@JodieWhoSails @VictoriaPolice Thank you for looking after us at the dawn service in Frankston, your presence was appreciated

Where would we be without the police? Most do beyond amazing work DONNA MEADE

Awesome work Victoria Police! The attitude and response from your members makes all the difference to victims when it comes to reporting abuse



Join the Conversation 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:



DID YOU KNOW? Victoria is the only state with a Chief Commissioner of Police. Victoria Police was the first to merge all its police entities into one organisation under Victoria Police Chief Commissioner William Mitchell in 1853. All other Australian states and territories have a Commissioner of Police.

Thanks to the officers that found my son’s stolen car last night. The police are always respected in my household ROBYN COMPTON


JANELLE TRAN Rank: Senior Constable Age: 37 Graduated: 2008 Station: Sunshine Prosecutions Tell us about yourself. I was seven years old when my mum, step dad and I came to Australia from Vietnam as refugees. After three days at sea, we arrived in Pulau Bidong, Malaysia, in 1984. We spent about three months in a Malaysian refugee camp before being granted a permanent Australian visa. I remember my parents spoke about those times as very tough. My father was sent to what was known as a re-educational camp soon after the fall of Saigon. I never really knew what happened to him during those times but we were reunited about six years ago in Vietnam. Why did you join Victoria Police? My mum died unexpectedly about nine years ago. This was a bit of an epiphany for me. I decided I needed to do something with my life, to make every day count. Around the time she passed away, a family friend who was very new in Australia and didn’t speak English had her house burgled when she was at home with her three young children. She couldn’t communicate with the attending officers and I was asked to assist and interpret. It was a defining moment in my life as I realised it was something I could do, so I joined Victoria Police to continue to help people.

How did your family and friends react to you joining Victoria Police? They were surprised, concerned and sceptical at first. They were surprised because being a police officer is not a role that many Vietnamese would choose, concerned because they were worried about my safety and sceptical because there is a negative perception of police in Vietnam. It was hard for people to understand why I would want to become a police officer but seeing me in this role has helped change the perception of police for people in my community. My family is proud of my achievement. What does your role as a police prosecutor involve? I represent police when their matters are listed in the Magistrates’ Court. I liaise with the defence, accused and police investigator to address issues and negotiate outcomes. What has been the most memorable moment of your career? In 2012 I was named a Victoria Police Human Rights Champion, which was a big honour for me. I had enrolled in an advanced human rights and policing course and my major project was to conduct an audit of the Werribee Police Station cells. The report was well-received and I was nominated for the award. I am also proud of my achievement in becoming a police prosecutor. It wasn’t easy, but I made it and I am now continuing my law studies at Victoria University. People are always surprised when I tell them I was a refugee and they see how far I have come. I think it shows that no matter what your background, if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams.

Editorial: Belle Nolan Photography: Shane Bell POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015



FAMILY VIOLENCE COMMAND LEADER APPOINTED Victoria Police’s Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter was appointed leader of the first Family Violence Command in an Australian policing jurisdiction. In a police career spanning 35 years, AC McWhirter has worked mostly in crime, intelligence, ethical standards and the Victoria Police Academy. AC McWhirter said the command was dedicated to the victims and survivors of horrendous crimes that are far too prevalent in the community. “I promise two things – to always listen and to put the victim’s needs at the centre of everything we do,” he said. AC McWhirter said his first priority was getting the command set up and ready to take on the challenge and complexities associated with family violence. ‘‘It’s very clear to me that police understand their obligations in relation to family violence and are doing a fantastic job in responding,” he said. “What is challenging to them is the sheer volume of work that is involved. “There is already so much important work being done to address and respond to family violence. “We are now well placed to support this work and continue to make tangible changes that will have a positive impact in the community.”

POLICE CELEBRATE SUCCESSFUL RESCUE OF LOST BOY The Air Wing’s Acting Sergeant Brad Pascoe was involved in the dramatic rescue of 11-year-old Luke Shambrook, who went missing in Fraser National Park on the Easter long weekend. A/Sgt Pascoe said he was positioned at the back of the helicopter with the door open when something caught his eye. “It was quite amazing, out of the corner of my eye I caught a little flash of something, it wasn’t much but it was enough to make me get the pilot to turn the aircraft around and have a further look,” he said. Luke was sitting in steep terrain, wearing dark clothes, which made it extremely difficult to see him in the bushland. “We were absolutely over the moon. All of us in the crew are parents ourselves and we can only imagine what Luke’s parents must have been going through,” A/Sgt Pascoe said. A video of A/Sgt Pascoe and the moment Luke was rescued is at on the internet.



ANGEL’S DOGGED DETERMINATION GETS TOP PRIZE Tails were wagging when police dog, Angel, picked up the Outstanding Canine Service Award at the 43rd National German Shepherd Dog Show and Trial at the State Dog Centre in Lyndhurst. In her six-year police career, Angel sunk her teeth into hundreds of cases and contributed to arresting and locating 113 people. She also assisted in 41 investigations where a scent picked up at a crime scene was used to solve a case.

OFFICERS EARN TOP ROTARY PRIZES Two of Benalla police’s finest were praised for their community work at the Benalla and Mansfield Rotary District Annual Conference in Wangaratta. Benalla Police Station’s youth resource officer Leading Senior Constable Paula Allen was awarded the Community Police Member of the Year, while Detective Leading Senior Constable Jenny Parker was runner-up. Ldg Sen Const Allen was recognised for her community work in Victoria’s north-east including countless community projects focused on youth engagement, education and sport. “I’m really passionate about my work,” she said.

Not only did Angel solve crime - like the time she sniffed out a key piece of evidence linked to dozens of armed robberies at service stations in the western suburbs - but she also saved lives.

“You become part of a family in a smaller community. I get to work with people who are equally passionate and motivated and want to achieve as much as I do.”

The Dog Squad’s Leading Senior Constable Cail Tuckerman, Angel’s handler, said it took them only five minutes to find an elderly man who had gone missing from his nursing home.


“We found him lying unconscious in thick undergrowth on the edge of a swift flowing creek at the bottom of a 10-metre ravine,” he said. “If it weren’t for Angel we probably wouldn’t have found him until the morning as it was too dangerous to search the area at night.” Angel retired this year due to a degenerative spinal injury and now enjoys the creature comforts of home with Sen Const Tuckerman and his family.

In a Victoria Police first, 26 protective services officers (PSOs) have been sworn in as police, graduating from the Victoria Police Academy in May. The PSOs, who have a minimum of 18 months’ experience, transitioned their careers following intense and comprehensive study over 17 weeks of the pilot Constable Qualifying Program (CQP). Designed specifically to provide the opportunity for Transit PSOs to become police, the program’s learning outcomes are the same as the standard 33-week foundation training, however, the delivery and assessments have been enhanced. Participants of the CQP completed assessments for a Diploma of Public Safety in Policing, including four weeks at dedicated training workplaces and a three-day practical assessment reflecting the core duties of a frontline police officer. Find out how you can become a PSO or police officer at on the internet.

ODD SPOT CORNER Sergeant Darren Brown

Sergeant Luke Holmes



“I was on bicycle patrol with a colleague in Kerang who had just completed the bike course. We were riding around a car park, following reports that school students had been causing mischief. My partner approached a group on his bike to ask them some questions and tried to jump the gutter onto the footpath. He failed to clear the gutter and hit a shopping trolley, which shot towards a car. Luckily, the car wasn’t damaged but my partner’s pride was hurt. It turned out to be a good ice breaker with the students.”

“I was on duty at the Caulfield Cup when I had to use the bathroom. I called out to the guy next door and asked if he could pass some toilet paper. He gave me the paper and also asked if I wanted something extra. He then held out a bag of speed. I left the cubicle and waited for him to come out. The look on his face was priceless when he opened the door. I located the drugs and arrested him.”



Dedicated cop calls time 41 YEARS OF SERVICE

Tim Cartwright has dedicated 41 years of service to the community, including time as the Acting Chief Commissioner. He speaks to Police Life about his early career days and the challenges of policing ahead of his retirement in July.






Police Cadet

1974 – 1988

Worked at the Russell Street Police Complex, general duties, plain clothes and performed criminal investigation duties in the northern and western suburbs


Received the Australian Police Medal

1988 – 2000

Senior Sergeant to Chief Inspector roles in a variety of projects within the then Corporate Strategy and Performance Department, Personnel, and Operations departments

2000 – 2003

Superintendent at Business Information Technology Services Department, and Divisional Superintendent roles


Introduced LiveScan fingerprint technology to Victoria Police

2003 – 2008

Led several police divisions across Victoria, including Diamond Creek, the CBD, and western suburbs

2005 – 2006

Operations Commander for major events including 2005 AFL Grand Final, Spring Carnival and Commonwealth Games

2008 – 2011

Assistant Commissioner in operational regions, leading the Regional Boundaries team, and establishing the North West Metro Region


Deputy Commissioner of Regional Operations after six months acting in the Specialist Operations role

JAN 2015

Appointed Acting Chief Commissioner

JUL 2015


02 Images A worthwhile career 01 Tim Cartwright enjoyed his time as Acting Chief Commissioner. 02  In his Sergeant days. 03 The Cartwright brothers celebrating Rick’s police graduation in 2001.


How would you compare the early days of your career to now?

What has been your most memorable moment as a police officer?

What do you see as the biggest challenge for Victoria Police in the future?

Lots of things have changed. Some of those are about everyday simple things that are amusing - I used to chop wood for the police station’s fires and our toilets were outside. Other changes are much more concerning; the challenges we now face in terms of drugs, terrorism and technology-enabled crime didn’t really exist.

There are so many, from amazing work by our people on Black Saturday and in the days following, through to more personal moments.

The face of policing is changing and we need to keep up with different demands. Although technology provides opportunities, we also face challenges because of it. Child exploitation, online fraud, drug and weapon trafficking are all areas that are now harder to police because of advances in technology. We need to work through the continued threat of terrorism. And we also need to continue encouraging people to report sexual offences and family violence.

When I graduated, women in my squad were among the first to start working general duties. Although we have come a long way since then, we still have a long way to go in terms of attracting more women to the job. Looking back on your career, what would you say are your greatest achievements? I’ve always been committed to building strong relationships with the community. I’ve enjoyed strong professional relationships with people from many cultures and religions. My background is largely in the northern and western suburbs, and I have many years of working with Islamic and Aboriginal communities in particular. It gives me a great sense of pride to have contributed to the strength of Victoria’s multicultural community. I’ve also had the chance to contribute to many projects that have changed legislation, or implemented policies making Victoria Police a better place to work. What is the most challenging aspect of policing? Without fail the toughest part of operational policing is delivering a death message or dealing with the serious injuries of children. I clearly remember the last death message I had to deliver telling a mother that her middleaged daughter had committed suicide. As soon as she saw me at the door she assumed something bad had happened. There is no easy way to tell someone a loved one has died. Dealing with these sensitive issues is a really tough part of policing.

I was so proud to see two of my brothers graduate as police officers. My brother Gerry is still serving and one of my other brothers, Rick, served for eight years before re-joining the army. Recent events and achievements have been a source of pride as well. The resolution of cold case murders are always important because they reinforce the care and commitment that we show, particularly for the victims and their families. The finding of Luke Shambrook and the community involvement was also a very significant and proud achievement for everyone at Victoria Police. Why is communicating with frontline police so important to you? The men and women on the street are our unspoken heroes. They deal with mental illness cases, aggression, family violence and sieges day in and day out, consistently seeing people in some of life’s most challenging situations. It’s crucial I understand, value and appreciate the tough work they do, and support them. What advice would you give to people who want to join Victoria Police? You have a real chance to make a difference in people’s lives and do good in the community. I say go for it, it’s not just a job, it’s a rewarding career. There are not a lot of jobs where you can go to work and say ‘I made the community a better place today’.

What’s next for you? Spending quality time with my family is very important to me. I can’t wait to get back into fitness, in particular bike riding. I’m looking forward to travelling with my wife around Italy and experiencing the country’s culture and cuisine. I know whatever work I choose to do, I will always want to give back to the community and volunteer my services.

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the community for the past 41 years, and to be able to leave as the Acting Chief Commissioner is just a wonderful end to my career. It’s been a great privilege to lead the organisation.”

Most importantly – wear the uniform with pride. We’re a great supportive family, and we should feel proud to serve the community and represent the organisation.

Editorial: Mandi Santic Photography: David Johns POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015



Victoria Police’s Parsu SharmaLuital is changing attitudes towards police. The former refugee is improving relationships between police and people from new and emerging communities by initiating a number of innovative programs. It is difficult for Parsu Sharma-Luital to tell strangers about his journey to Australia as a Bhutanese refugee. But, he saw it as the only way to save a life when a man stood on the roof of a detention centre and threatened to jump late last year. Mr Sharma-Luital, a New and Emerging Community Liaison Officer (NECLO) for Victoria Police, was called to the incident by his senior sergeant after a Rohingya refugee from Burma refused to talk to uniformed police and immigration officials. According to Mr Sharma-Luital, it is not uncommon for people who are new to Australia to distrust police.



“As the NECLO for Moonee Valley, Hume and Moreland, I work with about 26 different community groups,” he said.

Mr Sharma-Luital said there were three steps in his role – breaking barriers, bridging gaps and building and maintaining trusting relationships.

“The majority of communities I work with come from countries where police are their enemy.

“I don’t just talk to newly arrived communities on the role of police here in Victoria, I also educate our police officers,” he said.

“Police have killed them, police have beaten them, police have tortured them. “We can’t just say to them that police don’t do that here. They have been traumatised. “That is why they under-report to police. “One major part of my role is helping people understand that our Victorian officers are here to help, not hurt them.” Mr Sharma-Luital started working for Victoria Police in 2012. He was already an experienced community liaison officer, having spent seven years working with new arrivals to Australia at another organisation. “Community liaison is not a nine-to-five job. I take calls anytime of the day or night,” he said. “I have to do that to maintain true relationships and that takes a lot more than just shaking hands.”

“I say don’t be surprised if you get money in your hand when you are giving a speeding fine because in many cases, in their home country, they have been able to bribe police. “One example I remember clearly is some members of the Burmese community telling me they were walking beside the road and heard a siren. As soon as they heard it they jumped over a fence and hid. “In Burma, they said, when they hear a siren coming, the police are coming to shoot them. “It’s trauma that doesn’t go away just by relocating. “When I heard this story I organised information sessions between the Burmese community and police to help them understand each other.”



In the last two years, Mr Sharma-Luital has supported the North West Metro Region’s Fun in the Aussie Sun festival. “It is the only festival that I am aware of where such a diverse range of communities come together. There are 5000 people from 26 different communities,” he said. “It is a wonderful sight watching uniformed police join in traditional dance from South America to the Cook Islands and Middle East to Africa.” But perhaps his biggest achievement is the food and culture project. “Last year I started the food and culture project in my area and we are about to go into our ninth month,” he said.

“The majority of communities I work with come from countries where police are their enemy. Police have killed them, police have beaten them, police have tortured them. We can’t just say to them that police don’t do that here. They have been traumatised.”

“There are kids running around under the table and it’s just amazing to see what kind of connection can be developed through sharing food.” Back at the detention centre, Mr Sharma-Luital remembers opening up to the distressed man on the roof. He told the man he and his father had been imprisoned while fighting for democracy and his sister sexually assaulted and killed by the army. “Then he understood that I was just like him. He started to cry and came down,” Mr Sharma-Luital said. “When he came down I just hugged him.”

Mr Sharma-Luital was named Inaugural New Australian of the Year in 2014 for helping Melbourne’s newly arrived communities and his contribution to Australian farming. Mr Sharma-Luital’s skills extend far beyond community liaison. A horticulturalist with specialist knowledge in growing mushrooms, he has pioneered methods of cultivating log-grown shitake mushrooms in Australian native plants and has shared his knowledge with Australian farmers and newly arrived refugees.

“Every month a different African community group cook a banquet. “They bring it to the police station along with up to 30 people and they join police of all ranks to share a great meal and discussion.

Images Making a difference 01 Food unites police and the community. 02 M  r Sarma-Luital is a New and Emerging Community Liaison Officer. Editorial: Sara-Jane Hooper Photography: Shane Bell POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015



Victoria Police has worked hard to build positive partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, dedicating police and staff resources to programs focused on engagement and education. In the depths of the Barmah National Park police are invited to walk alongside its custodians giving them a rare glimpse into one of the oldest surviving cultures in human history. The Shepparton Cultural Camp is one of many programs available to police who want stronger connections and understanding of Aboriginal culture and community. Coordinator of Victoria Police’s Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) program, Jacqui Marion, was recently invited to take part in one of the camps alongside police and described the experience as truly spiritual. “I felt our ancestors were around watching us, looking over us, making sure we were okay,” she said.



“It just felt like there was a very spiritual connection. It was quite strong and a very powerful experience.”

The Elders take participants on guided tours to cultural and sacred sites, and share their stories in ‘yarning circles’ around the camp fire.

It has been 10 years since the state-wide ACLO program was established to build positive partnerships between Victoria Police and local Aboriginal communities.

Uncle Larry said it warmed his heart to see how the relationship between police and the community had improved in the past 10 years.

ACLOs are not police but work to assist in building trust with their community and create local police engagement programs. They work independently but in partnership with Police Aboriginal Liaison Officers (PALOs) who are also appointed to liaise with their communities. Ms Marion said she always wanted to work for Victoria Police and became an ACLO in 2006. At the time there were only two ACLOs but the program has since expanded to nine at police stations across the state. Shepparton’s Cultural Camp gives police and ACLOs personal insight into local Aboriginal traditions, customs and history under the guidance of two Yorta Yorta Elders, Uncle Col Walker and Uncle Larry Jackson.

“The camp allows police to be more open to some of the issues and why things are the way they are. The community has started to come around and see police differently too,” he said. “The best part of the cultural training is all the young ones are going to carry that knowledge with them throughout their police career.” Ms Marion said every community had different cultural protocols and the camp provided police with a golden opportunity to learn from the Elders. “It was very special. I think that’s why it’s important to spend this wonderful time with the Elders because they have so much cultural knowledge and experience we can learn from.” The camp has been a popular training resource for Shepparton PALOs, who use this knowledge to work with their communities and share it with colleagues.

Image Shared experiences 01 Ldg Sen Const Waren Lomas and ACLO Jon Henderson spend time with Yorta Yorta Elders.

Lakes Entrance Police Station’s Acting Senior Sergeant Linda Dillon has been a PALO on-and-off at different stations for the better part of 13 years. A/Sen Sgt Dillon said it could be difficult to build rapport with a community, particularly as a non-Aboriginal person. “Community trust is something you have to build up before you can start doing something proactive,” she said.

A/Sen Sgt Dillon said it was important to be available to community members, including those who live remotely and do not have access to transport or basic services. “There are many Aboriginal people who are not aware of services available to them. That’s why it is really important to take steps to engage,” she said.

“It takes a long time to build trust and break down barriers.”

“I really try to encourage referrals and get in at the bottom level with the kids. I try to interact with them as much as possible.”

There are about 100 PALOs based at more than 50 police stations in Victoria. Unlike the ACLOs police don’t need to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to take on the portfolio.

In one case a young boy was getting into trouble for stealing but it was discovered he was stealing food because there was nothing to eat at home.

The PALOs are responsible for building partnerships, engaging in community activities and providing advice to police and Aboriginal community members.

A/Sen Sgt Dillon worked with other government agencies to get the boy care and support to keep him out of trouble.

The Lakes Entrance PALO program involves police participation in a number of youth-orientated activities and regular visits to the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust.

“You really need to drill down to understand where a person’s come from in life, it’s important to look beneath the surface and hopefully make a difference,” she said. The work of ACLOs and PALOs helps to support Victoria Police’s aims to close the gap between the number of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the justice system.

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Check-out some of the latest cultural activities and events involving police. • N  ational Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week is held from 5 to 12 July. Visit for more information. • Dreamtime at the G marks the annual AFL match between Essendon and Richmond. Every year, police and Aboriginal children from across the state head to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the big event in May. • The YMCA Massive Murray Paddle involves police and Aboriginal young people from across the state teaming up to paddle 404km from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill over five days. It is held from 25 to 29 November.

Editorial: Jane McCubbin Photography: Liz Arcus POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015



Victoria’s population is among the most diverse in Australia and police are committed to understanding the varied cultures they serve. Placing a hand on someone’s shoulder is often seen as a gesture of comfort or support. But for an Orthodox Jew, Muslim or Sikh woman, the same well-meaning gesture can be regarded as offensive. It is customs like these that police in Southern Metro Region are experiencing first-hand when they take part in interfaith tours. The Southern Metro Operations Support Division started a program earlier this year to allow police to visit places of worship and learn more about different religions. Run by the Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong, the tours involve visiting an array of sites including a Hindu Temple, a Sikh Gurdwara, a Mosque, a Buddhist Temple and a Christian Church.

Inspector Ron Gardner said the tours aimed to provide police with greater insight into the region’s multicultural community and promote understanding, tolerance and respect. “Every faith has different practices and unless you’ve been exposed to them, they may seem mysterious,” he said. “It’s about breaking down the barriers and learning more about each other. “This will help police when they are out and about in the community and liaising with people from different religions and cultures to understand what the practices are and what is considered respectful or disrespectful.

“In the past, we have sent a bus-load of police to undertake the tour, now we are sending them along with regular tour groups,” Insp Gardner said. “We’re hoping this will be beneficial to everyone from the police who want to learn more about the community, to the members of the community who are just as curious about police.” Insp Gardner said Victoria’s Southern Metro area was home to one of the most multicultural communities in the country, with more than 150 different nationalities calling it home. “It just makes sense to have a program like this.”

“So if they see a Sikh carrying a small sword, they will know that it may be a ceremonial one for religious purposes.” The tours, which are open to the wider community, have been running for more than 20 years. While police have previously attended, this program will mark the first time officers have mingled with the community.

Image Working together 01 Police visit a Springvale temple as part of cultural tours to help them understand different communities. Editorial: Belle Nolan Photography: Craig Sillitoe



People in the Greater Dandenong and Moonee Valley areas are being handed receipts after contact with police and protective services officers as part of a trial program. When Moonee Ponds Police Station’s Leading Senior Constable Andy Uren noticed a young woman acting strangely at the local shopping strip, he wanted to check she was ok. “She was pacing up and down the street, so we wanted to check on her welfare,” he said. “When we told her that, she was appreciative of us being concerned, gave us her details and we were able to give her a receipt of that interaction.” The Receipting Proof of Concept (RPOC) trial to issue receipts began in the Greater Dandenong and Moonee Valley local government areas in March. The business card-style receipts provide individuals with a tangible record of their encounter with police and protective services officers (PSOs).

They include the date, time, location and reason for the contact as well as the officer’s registered number and police station so they can follow up on the interaction if needed. The receipts also include information about why receipts are issued and how to provide feedback to Victoria Police. They are handed out when a person in a public place is asked to provide their details but there is no law enforcement outcome, such as an arrest being made or a fine issued. The Greater Dandenong and Moonee Valley local government areas are first to undertake the trial, which will end in December, and were selected for a number of reasons including their cultural diversity and high youth populations.

“Victoria Police committed to this trial after the Equality is not the same report found there were perceptions in the community that police stopped some people more than others,” he said. “These receipts serve as a tangible record of contact with police or PSOs and aim to ensure the contact is appropriate and accountable, promoting trust and transparency in the community. “We are committed to ensuring every member of the community who comes in contact with officers is treated with dignity, respect, fairness and that their human rights are properly considered.”

Stage two of the trial will begin in the Boroondara local government area and in Mildura at the end of June.

The RPOC trial was developed in consultation with police and community stakeholders in the receipting locations and engagement will continue throughout the trial.

Victoria Police’s Acting Deputy Commissioner Jack Blayney said the trial was developed in response to community concerns.

Visit for more information, including multilingual brochures and frequently asked questions. Image Receipting trial 01 A police officer issues a receipt as part of the trial. Editorial: Maria Carnovale POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015


Keeping the community safe is a number one priority for Victoria Police’s Critical Incident Response Team, which recently led a series of exercises to improve emergency response procedures.

CIRT’s Sergeant Chris Allen facilitated the discussion and said it aimed to give in-depth insight into how police and stakeholders would respond to a terrorist attack.

“We really stressed the importance of safety precautions and the use of specialised equipment, making sure police knew exactly what to do in such a circumstance.

“We spoke about how we would practice the processes if a terrorist incident occurred in regional Victoria, ensuring everyone knew their roles and responsibilities,” he said.

“It provided CIRT officers with a greater understanding of the decontamination process and allowed us to test our operational equipment.

Seventy two Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) officers, alongside the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Disaster Unit and regional police, were recently involved in mock terrorism scenarios in Bendigo, Horsham, Warrnambool and Mildura.

“It was really important to work closely with the stakeholders, building strong relationships. An incident like this would involve everyone working together.

The carefully orchestrated scenarios aimed to provide police with specific skills in how to deal with a situation if a chemical attack occurred. An emphasis on safety and the use of equipment was a key component of Exercise Airborne. Sixteen to 18 CIRT officers were involved in each day’s activities and were dressed for the occasion, wearing their decontamination equipment including gas masks, specialist overalls, gloves and boots. Funded by the Australia New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee, Exercise Airborne gave police the opportunity to work with people from local emergency responders and government agencies including State Emergency Services, Ambulance Victoria, Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Department of Human Services. The mock scenario involved a protest at a local airport, which escalated when a gas canister was thrown at an arriving VIP. A chemical fire and explosion in the airport’s car park followed. The exercise was broken into two phases, beginning with a four-hour discussion.

“The discussion focused on how we would deal with such an incident upon first hearing about it, how everyone would deal with it once they arrived on scene and how we would physically respond.” Sgt Allen said everyone worked well together. “There was a really good response to the exercise. We also talked about how we would manage the scene following an attack.”

“CIRT officers are highly trained and experienced in the tactics of arresting someone who poses a risk. “Overall, everyone involved was able to respond well in a challenging and dynamic scenario. It also allowed police to foster relationships in rural areas, being able to respond in an emergency scenario.” Sen Sgt Edge said the community should feel confident and reassured. “We are well equipped to respond to an incident of this nature and constantly keep training to the highest standard.”

The second phase was a practical exercise, involving the apprehension of suspects and decontamination of anyone exposed to chemicals. Participants were sprayed with water for three minutes and scrubbed and scanned by members of the CFA’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit. They then washed off exterior layers of clothing before moving to another area where all equipment was removed and placed in a sealed bag. These would be sent to Victoria Police’s Forensics Unit for further examination or destroyed. Exercise control coordinator Senior Sergeant Phil Edge said safety was paramount. “The decontamination process was extremely thorough,” he said.

Images Ready to respond 01 Decontamination exercises were crucial to the training. 02  Equipment is decontaminated and secured. 03 Sen Sgt Edge debriefs the police and stakeholders involved. 04 C  IRT officers are highly trained.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING In an emergency call Triple Zero (000), or call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 Editorial: Mandi Santic











An injured man cowers at the scene of a brutal double murder.

The Homicide Squad’s Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon attended the scene and took his statement.

“When we played it back, we were shocked to see him shooting the victims and stealing their diamonds.”

A diamond merchant, his wife and son have been gunned down in front of him and he waits, terrified, for police to arrive.

“I escorted him out of the building and down the busy street to the police car,” Det Sgt Solomon said.

Detectives initially kept the discovery under wraps and continued to interview Adajian before playing the footage during the interview.

But is all as it seems?

“He seemed to be holding up pretty well for someone who had just witnessed a horrific murder and had been assaulted himself.

“It surprised me how cool and collected he was,” Det Sgt Solomon said.

It is December 1996 and police are called to the vicious slaying at a jeweller in Swanston Street’s Century Building, in Melbourne’s CBD. When officers arrive on the eighth floor diamond merchant, a grisly scene confronts them. Shop owner Lean Thoeun Pin’s lifeless body is lying on the floor. His 30-year-old son, Vireyuth Pin, has also been shot dead while his wife, Siveng, has been critically injured.

“But I tried to comfort him, telling him he was in safe hands.” Det Sgt Solomon drove Adajian to the Homicide Squad’s interview room. The man told the veteran investigator that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Det Sgt Solomon had begun to smell a rat.

“I’ll never forget his reaction: ‘My God, that’s me,’ he said. ‘I’m shooting those people.’ “And he certainly was. “This happened in the days when CCTV was a fairly limited resource in the investigation of crime compared with today. “So he didn’t expect that everything he was doing was being filmed.”

The execution-style murder occurred in the main office area of the quiet jeweller.

“When I confronted him about this, he said he wasn’t sure how they got there, he must have grabbed hold of them in all the confusion.”

Despite claiming to have suffered from a mental episode, which left him with no memory of the murders, Adajian was convicted and is serving a 50-year sentence with a non-parole period of 25 years.

The door to the office safe is wide open and a number of precious jewels are missing.

In his other pocket, Det Sgt Solomon made another telling discovery – empty diamond sachets.

The case is one that still sticks in Det Sgt Solomon’s mind.

The murder weapon, a handgun, lies nearby.

“He gave me the same explanation.

“It was a terrible homicide,” he said.

And a 47-year-old man is trapped inside as the shop’s security doors closed on the gruesome scene.

“He said he didn’t know what he was doing and may have grabbed it without thinking.

“Three members of a tight-knit family shot in cold blood for nothing more than greed.

“It was all starting to sound a bit fishy.”

“I still can’t believe I casually walked out of the building with the murderer thinking he was an innocent victim,” he said.

All three were shot to the head at close range. One of the dead men was also savagely bashed.

The man tells responding officers a horrific story. He was in the store at the time of the murders and blacked out after being assaulted by the killer. It emerges that the man is Manuel Adajian, a fellow jeweller from Endeavour Hills. Police believe he could also be the sole surviving witness to the gruesome murder, which appears to be an armed robbery gone wrong.

“I searched his pockets and found the keys to the safe.

It was then that Det Sgt Solomon received a phone call from a colleague, which would change the course of the entire investigation.

“You couldn’t make a story like this up.”

“He was at the lab processing the video tape containing the store’s CCTV footage,” Det Sgt Solomon said. “He said ‘Sol, please tell me you still have that guy in custody.’

Officers are keen to interview him about what he has seen but the frightened man has other ideas.

“I told him I did and he said ‘Thank God – he’s the murderer!’

Desperate to escape, he initially tries to slip past police but is stopped so officers can take a crucial witness statement.

“It turned out the newly installed CCTV system had captured the entire incident.

Editorial: Belle Nolan 18



Adajian was caught in the act by CCTV.



On an overcast winter’s night an armed robber is on the run.

Luke Shambrook was lost in bushland near Lake Eildon on the Easter long weekend. On the fourth day of searching, the Air Wing’s Acting Sergeant Brad Pascoe spotted him in dense bushland.

Police are in pursuit, but lose him among the houses and dark backyards in the built-up suburban area.

If not for his keen eyes, Luke may not have survived.

Victoria Police’s Air Wing is called and is flying above minutes later. It doesn’t take long to spot the man hiding behind a fence, not far from police searching on foot. Their heat detection technology lights him up like a beacon. The man doesn’t know he has been spotted, probably even thinks he’s in the clear with the helicopter hovering some distance away, but a laser beam is pointing directly at his feet, leading specialist police straight to him. This scenario is common for the Air Wing. Using high-tech equipment to conduct searches and with specialist training, they navigate tough weather and are able to spot a person, vehicle or item from a considerable distance in darkness or light. A recent job attracted nationwide and international attention, showing how well they do their jobs.



As well as lost bushwalkers or rescuing people stricken at sea, the squad plays a part in police investigations, including anything from armed robberies and vehicle pursuits to gathering intelligence for drug seizures or taking crime scene photos from above for evidence. An average day can consist of planned operations where the Air Wing help local police in their investigations or targeting crime and road hot spots. When Police Life visited, the team of three in the helicopter, including pilot Rob Rogel and tactical flight officers (TFOs) A/Sgt Pascoe and Leading Senior Constable Karlis Broders had a clear schedule for the day, but they knew that wouldn’t be the case for long. They started their shift by checking personal equipment, the helicopter, on-board cameras, the winch and any other equipment they may need for a rescue before towing the helicopter out and lifting into the air. Not long into their flight they were redirected to Corio, a seaside area in Victoria’s west, where there are reports of a fire.

Within minutes they are flying over and confirm no one is in danger. It is in fact a planned grass burn-off. TFO Leading Senior Constable Melinda Lenders reports back to the local police from the Air Wing’s Flight Coordination Centre, where she is based for the day’s shift. From her position in the centre, she can see the flight path and footage from the on-board forward looking infrared camera. Ldg Sen Const Lenders’ career with Victoria Police has spanned over 20 years in general duties policing, including a stint in the Solomon Islands. It was while volunteering with the Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad in helicopter rescues that she developed a passion for flying. “I got a taste for it and wanted to join the Air Wing,” she said. Ldg Sen Const Lenders has been part of more search and rescues than she can remember, but a dramatic car chase is one job imprinted in her memory.

2:00PM A shift starts and A/Sgt Pascoe begins by checking the aircraft and all equipment on board is in working order.

“We were called to a vehicle pursuit in Epping during a busy weekday afternoon,” she said. “The car was identified as being used in armed robberies and burglaries and the ground pursuit was called off because it was too dangerous. “We were overhead in the helicopter with the camera on the vehicle, following and recording its movements.” The car was driving at dangerous speeds on the wrong side of the road, running red lights and causing other vehicles to stop and swerve. When it was clear the car was heading to Tullamarine Airport, the crew contacted Australian Federal Police and directed them to the offenders who were running from the carpark to the airport terminal. “The offenders later stated they were not aware the helicopter was overhead at any time,” Ldg Sen Const Lenders said.

2:40PM The helicopter is towed out to the tarmac where it will be ready for any calls for assistance.

“If not for the helicopter camera they would have escaped.” On the police helicopter two TFOs and a pilot are on board, each with critical roles. One TFO sits next to the pilot checking and planning their navigation and operating the winch in a rescue, while the other sits in the back seat operating the forward looking infrared camera. The person in the back seat will be the one to go down the winch for a rescue. “There is a lot of trust in each other,” Ldg Sen Const Lenders said. “During a rescue, the pilot can’t see behind them, so they rely on the TFO to tell them if they are in the right position, while the TFO is making sure the person on the winch is safe. “It only takes minutes to get to a job, so the team is constantly discussing their route as they go and what they need to do when they get there. You’re always busy.” In the watch house Ldg Sen Const Lenders receives and dispatches jobs to the helicopter, while monitoring the aircraft’s movements and briefing those on board about what they are heading to.

3:15PM A call comes through to the watch house that there is a boat on fire in Corio. The helicopter heads to the scene with the pilot and two TFOs on board.

“They’re in Corio at the moment, but we could get a call any minute now that would send them across the other side of the state,” she said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get. Everything is urgent.”

Watch the Air Wing in action at

4:50PM A/Sgt Pascoe zooms in on a vehicle as part of a road safety operation. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Shane Bell POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015





The Fugitive Taskforce, part of the oganisation’s State AntiGangs Division, is responsible for hunting down and arresting convicted offenders who have breached parole conditions and supervision orders.

Finding an offender may take as little as two hours, but some have taken more than 20 years.

Established in 2012 following the Repeat Offenders Parole Enforcement pilot program, the Fugitive Taskforce focuses on finding highrisk escapees and parole violators who have committed serious crimes. Made up of highly trained detectives and an intelligence research analyst, the taskforce makes more than 700 arrests each year.

“There are no time limits on warrants and it doesn’t matter how long someone’s been wanted for, we won’t stop looking and we don’t lose interest.”

Officer in charge Detective Senior Sergeant David Snare said community safety was top priority. “Our job is to take fugitives off the street and return them to prison before they can re-offend,” he said. “We want the community kept safe and free from crime and for people to sleep well knowing convicted criminals including child rapists, arsonists and drug traffickers are behind bars. “We are always actively on the road looking for offenders who are not complying with their parole conditions.” Detective Leading Senior Constable Brendan Finn said police conduct extensive intelligence checks for each target. “The more we get to know a fugitive and find out who their partners, friends and family are, the more we can predict their movements and locate them,” he said. “Many times, we’ve had mothers giving us information wanting their sons or daughters locked up because of their continued drug addictions. They believe jail is a better option for their children in contrast to the path they’re on.”

“There was one fugitive on the run for 21 years who went hiding interstate,” Det Ldg Sen Const Finn said. “We collaborated successfully with New South Wales police who located the offender and the Fugitive Taskforce extradited him to Victoria and sent him back to jail.

The taskforce works closely with areas across Victoria Police, including regional police units, covert police, the Homicide, Dog and Armed Robbery squads and the Special Operations Group (SOG). Det Sen Sgt Snare said the Fugitive Taskforce regularly assisted regional areas. “We helped locate a prominent burglar in Melton and in another case a murderer, who was then handed over to the Homicide Squad. “If there’s ever a need for police in any area of the state to call upon us, we’re ready to respond.” A significant amount of time researching and gathering intelligence prior to an arrest is crucial to a successful outcome. “It’s really important to get the intelligence right,” Det Ldg Sen Const Finn said. “We sometimes use the SOG, especially for high-risk arrests where offenders could be armed with guns or knives and it’s always been a successful outcome.” Det Sen Sgt Snare said once offenders were found they usually didn’t resist arrest. “Most are compliant and say ‘I was going to hand myself in tomorrow’.

Although hunting fugitives can be challenging, Det Ldg Sen Const Finn said detectives knew all the good hiding spots. “We’ve found crooks hiding in cupboards, washing machines, underneath a bed with their feet sticking out, inside roofs, in front of a house sleeping in the front seat of their car and underneath dirty clothes,” he said. “We’ve also located them at sporting events, music concerts and holidaying interstate.” When detectives make a house arrest, it’s not uncommon for them to discover more crime. “While hunting down one offender, we found another wanted guy with him and located drugs, stolen jewellery, cash and property,” Det Sen Sgt Snare said. High on the taskforce’s list is underworld drug trafficker and convicted killer Graham Potter. “It’s only a matter of time before we catch him,” Det Sen Sgt Snare said.”

“There are no time limits on warrants and it doesn’t matter how long someone’s been wanted for, we won’t stop looking and we don’t lose interest.”

Image Fugitive Taskforce 01 The Fugitive Taskforce team tracks down and arrests convicted offenders.

DID YOU KNOW All Fugitive Taskforce officers have extensive tactical arrest training, which teaches them how to search houses safely and make successful arrests. Editorial & Photography: Mandi Santic




MA NS F I E L D PO L I C E STAT I O N 7:45am

Ldg Sen Const Rebecca Watkins in Mansfield’s police operations centre.




Sgt Bennett inspects search and rescue equipment.


Sgt Bennett and Sen Sgt Lyn Holland enjoy chatting with locals.

More than a million tourists travel through the picturesque town of Mansfield every year keeping local police busy with community engagement activities and responding to calls for help.

“Sometimes people go to lunch at a café and when they walk out their skis are missing. “Strong cooperation between resort management, ski hire outlets and police has increased community awareness about opportunistic thefts and we’ve also identified a reduction of other offences such as assaults.”

Activities such as skiing, hiking, mountain and trail biking, fishing, boating, water skiing, four wheel driving and festivals attract people to the region.

Mansfield Police Station’s Sergeant Matt Bennett said local police had good knowledge of bushland in the area, which helped in searches for lost bush walkers.

Although the activities are meant to be fun, sometimes things go wrong.

“Sometimes it can take a few hours to find someone or it could take a few days,” he said.

That’s when police step in and take control of the situation.

“A lot of people get lost, even on the Australian Alpine Walking Track. In the bushland areas it can be hard to find someone.

Searching for and rescuing missing or lost bush walkers or hikers is a regular occurrence. Most police at Mansfield have search and rescue qualifications and are equipped with map reading navigation and alpine survival skills. Mansfield’s officer in charge Senior Sergeant Lyn Holland leads the 19 police, including two Victorian public service employees at the station. She said policing priorities varied with the seasons. “In summer, boat and fire safety is significant,” she said. “We attend camping areas, conduct fire patrols and deal with noise complaints. We get a lot of motor bike riders doing the wrong thing. With Lake Eildon so close by, we also respond to boating accidents.” There’s no slowing down for police throughout the winter months. “Last year, twice as many visitors travelled through Mansfield to the ski resorts than in previous years,” Sen Sgt Holland said. “As we cover the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling resort areas, during winter we deal with a lot of snow-related incidents, including thefts.

“In one case a few years ago, a man activated his Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which alerted police. “The beacon gave us an indication of the area the man was in, but we didn’t know why he had called for help. He could’ve been bleeding out or bitten by a snake for all we knew.” Three officers set out to locate the man and took search and rescue equipment and food with them. They ended up having to set up camp overnight as it was too dangerous and dark to continue the search in the night. “While they camped overnight, myself and a few other officers worked out of the police operations centre back at the station, regularly communicating with them and making sure they were ok,” Sgt Bennett said. “Luckily they located the man in the morning and were able to successfully bring him out of the bush. He was exhausted and relieved they found him.” Sen Sgt Holland spoke highly of the Mansfield community.

“People are so caring in Mansfield. I really think because there are many activities and events happening in town, youth offending is low,” she said. “There are so many things for kids to do and they take pride in where they live. We regularly give educational talks at schools about graffiti, drugs, alcohol and other offences. “Many of us police are parents ourselves and because we get involved in the community, whether it be in sporting or school events, it makes relationships much stronger and allows people to trust us.”

BUSHWALKING SAFETY TIPS • T  ell someone your plans and register your details at the nearest police station. • Be prepared and do your research. Have the right equipment, including map, compass, proper clothing, tent, torch, first aid kit and check the weather. • When possible, walk with other people, not alone. • Drink plenty of water and take snacks with you. • Mobile phone coverage can be limited in remote bush areas. Take an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) as an added safety precaution.

Images Policing Mansfield 01 Mansfield police have good knowledge of local bushland. Editorial: Mandi Santic Photography: Andrew Henshaw


Sgt Bennett and Ldg Sen Const Brendan Lampkin visit a local property.


Police in Mansfield regularly inspect farms and chat with local farmers.


Patrols of nearby bush areas are common in Mansfield.




DETECTIVE INSPECTOR JILL DYSON Detective Inspector Jill Dyson is haunted by the ghosts of victims whose killers walk among us. As head of Victoria Police Crime Command’s newly-formed Cold Case and Missing Persons Squad, Det Insp Dyson makes a living delving into the minds of murderers. “I’ve always been fascinated by the nature of these offenders – the killers and the rapists,” she said. “I’ve tried to get inside their heads and understand what motivates them to do the things they do.” Det Insp Dyson’s team is in charge of more than 500 unsolved cases from mysterious murders and suspicious missing persons to historical rape cases. She is acutely aware of the responsibility. “These are cases that have already been investigated and re-investigated by some of the best detectives in the business and they haven’t been able to unravel them. “Some of these families have been waiting decades to get answers.” The work she is doing now is a far cry from her first day on the beat as a bright-eyed 22-year-old in April 1988.

The detective still remembers her first arrest after witnessing an assault outside Flinders Street’s iconic Young and Jackson’s hotel.

Somehow, she managed to juggle her career with studying a law degree and raising four children.

“The victim had a broken jaw and the offender was a huge hulking guy,” she said.

“At the time, there were very few women in supervisor positions so I didn’t have many role models,” she said.

“My partner and I managed to tackle him to the ground and I remember being unsure if I was doing everything right.” Despite her initial jitters, Det Insp Dyson excelled as a police officer. Early in her career she was stationed at Caulfield and went on to work in the Regional Response Unit, Crime Investigation Unit and Fraud Squad. In 1999, she landed a role at the Sexual Crimes Squad. One case has always stuck with her. It was 2005 and huge storms had turned Melbourne into a swimming pool.

“I think it was sheer determination that saw me through.” As the public face of cold cases in Victoria, it is not unusual for Det Insp Dyson to be recognised in the community. But she struggles to impress her toughest critics – her kids. “They aren’t at all fussed by what I do,” she joked. “To them, I’m just their mum. It certainly keeps me grounded.”

A woman was abducted while walking to work by a man with a screwdriver. Although the victim had never seen her attacker before, Det Insp Dyson and her team managed to identify him and link him to the crime with DNA. Over the next decade, Det Insp Dyson sunk her teeth into numerous roles from stints in prison management to E-Crime and the Detective Training School.

Image Leading the way 01 Det Insp Dyson is in charge of the Cold Case and Missing Persons Squad. If you are looking for a diverse, rewarding and sometimes challenging career, visit to apply.

Editorial: Belle Nolan Photography: Craig Sillitoe 26





“Often there’s a bit of investigative work that goes into finding it.

The 36-year-old is head archivist at Victoria Police’s Archive Storage Centre in Melbourne’s west.

“I like to leave no stone unturned because every little scrap of information could be the last piece of the jigsaw which goes into solving the case.”

The sprawling site is home to half a million records, some dating back to as early as 1860.

In 2005, an 84-year-old strand of hair held by the Office of Public Prosecutions was the piece of evidence that helped posthumously exonerate Colin Ross, hanged for Melbourne’s Gun Alley murder. Modern forensic technology was used to test the hair.

Between them, Ms Llewellyn and her team receive, store and manage thousands of documents each week. Depending on the nature of the file, each one is held for between seven and 100 years; others are kept permanently. Homicide Squad detectives are among the more frequent visitors to the facility as historical cold cases are dusted off and re-examined.


“There’s always a bit of excitement when Cold Case requests a file,” Ms Llewellyn said.

Cases like these serve as a reminder of just how important it is to preserve historical files, even when investigations seem done and dusted. Sometimes the seemingly trivial titbits of information can be just as important to preserve.

Sometimes, a long-forgotten clue is key to unravelling the riddle and cracking open a case.

Throughout history, police officers have been required to turn in their diaries, court briefs and other paperwork into the archives for record keeping.

While Ms Llewellyn and her team do not often hear about the solved cases, they know they exist.

The practise continues today.


In 2005, an 84-year-old strand of hair held by the Office of Public Prosecutions was the piece of evidence which helped posthumously exonerate Colin Ross, hanged for Melbourne’s Gun Alley murder. Ms Llewellyn said it was crucial to keep this paperwork in a central location to ensure it was easily accessible.

It’s a mammoth task but a momentous one.

“If a case is re-opened, the last thing an investigator needs to be doing is running around trying to track down a former detective,” she said.

“In today’s digital world, it’s expected that the information you need will be instantly accessible.

They are also important to keep from a historical perspective.

“You’ll hit a button and the computer will retrieve the information for you. And it will all happen in the blink of an eye.”

“The books and diaries of former officers can shed light on what life was like and how the organisation was run back in the old days,” Ms Llewellyn said. “Some of them could be considered quite funny nowadays, like the constable who was asked to clean windows at the local racecourse as part of his duties. “These anecdotes are priceless because they give you a glimpse into the organisation’s history, which would otherwise be forgotten.”

“It’s the future,” Ms Llewellyn said.

Although the significance of the project is unquestionable, Ms Llewellyn believes there is still a place for the traditional records. “There’s something tangible about them,” she said. “They’re hand written, you can touch and smell them. They aren’t on a computer screen but were written by a real person. “And you can’t imitate that.”

Despite being surrounded by the past, the collection is moving with the times. The small but dedicated team is spearheading a project to digitise the storage centre’s archives, beginning with the most accessed and requested files.

Images Boxes of clues 01 Victoria Police’s head archivist Nicole Llewellyn inspects historical records. Editorial: Belle Nolan Photography: Craig Sillitoe POLICE LIFE | WINTER 2015






BOMBING HERO REMEMBERED Victoria Police’s Irex Tawfik was the first civilian to receive the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Award for his brave actions in the aftermath of the Russell Street bombings. Mr Tawfik passed away earlier this year but his memory lives on through his family who flew from Queensland to mourn his death. They spoke to Police Life about their father’s legacy and shared personal memorabilia to ensure his place in Victoria Police history is not forgotten. This year’s 29th anniversary of the bombings was particularly special for Mr Tawfik’s family who was hailed a hero at the time. His son, David Tawfik, said he was very proud of his father but did not grasp the significance of his actions at the time. “It’s not until his passing that you really appreciate the gravity of the circumstances,” he said. “My father always wanted to help others and always put other people before himself.” On 27 March 1986 a car bomb hidden in a stolen Holden Commodore was detonated outside the Russell Street Police Complex. 30


Mr Tawfik was the chief engineer of the complex and was working on the eighth floor when the first bomb exploded. He rushed to turn off a high pressure gas line at the building’s front entrance as he feared it would ignite. While working to isolate the main gas supply a second explosion blasted Mr Tawfik several metres and knocked him unconscious. The Assistant Commissioner for Services Noel Newnham presented Mr Tawfik with the bravery award a year later and said his presence of mind and quick action prevented catastrophic damage to life and property. Mr Tawfik’s son said his father suffered serious injuries to his back and hearing from the explosion but did not regret his actions. “I don’t believe it changed him as a person, it was just another chapter in his life and he always credited his colleagues for their contributions,” he said. “It’s good to remember that in times of disaster people are selfless and should not be forgotten.”


Images Family remembers 01 The Tawfik family honours the memory of their father. 02 M  r Tawfik outside the Russell Street Police Headquarters. Photo courtesy of Herald Sun.

Constable Angela Rose Taylor was critically injured in the Russell Street explosions and died from her injuries 24 days later. Editorial: Jane McCubbin Photography: Clay Burke

FALLEN SOLDIERS REMEMBERED Twenty seven Victorian police died while serving in World War I, including three who died on Anzac Day. One hundred years later, First Constable Greg Williams from Broadmeadows Police Station was among many paying tribute to those who lost their lives in Gallipoli. First Constable Greg Williams can only imagine what Australian soldiers went through when they landed on the shores of Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. But he got as close as he could to experiencing it when he travelled to Turkey with other Australians to participate in Anzac commemoration activities in April.

Const Williams paid special tribute to the 27 Victorian police who died in World War I by visiting the memorial sites and battlegrounds where many had died. He also paused on the sands of Anzac Cove, where three police were killed on the first day of war. “I wanted to stand where they stood and make that emotional connection with them,” he said. “It was an opportunity to pay tribute to those that have fallen, including the police who served and didn’t come back. “One of the many highlights was placing a poppy with a blue ribbon proudly alongside Corporal Reginald Arthur Penrose’s name, a Victoria Police officer who enlisted and fought in World War I. “He was killed in action on Anzac Day in Gallipoli 100 years ago.”

“I wanted to stand where they stood and make that emotional connection with them”

Like many others who died that day, there is no known grave for Cpl Penrose. However, his life is remembered at plaque number 28 at the Lone Pine Memorial. Const Williams served with the Australian Army for four ½ years and on the front line in Afghanistan for nine months. Now a Victoria Police officer at Broadmeadows Police Station, he chaperoned a group of young Australians on the five-day tour of the battlefields of Gallipoli and participated in Anzac centenary services. Eighty young people had competed for a chance to join the tour. “They all had their own reasons for going over there and were all excited to be given the chance to experience it,” Const Williams said. “It was breathtaking and heartbreaking all at once.”

Image Remembering war heroes 01 Const Williams at the memorial for Cpl Penrose at Lone Pine. Editorial: Maria Carnovale



OPENING SOON AT THE VICTORIA POLICE MUSEUM 13 JULY 2015 As part of Victoria Police’s commemoration of the ANZAC Centenary, an exhibition honouring the service and sacrifice of Victoria Police members during WW1 will open in July.

The exhibition Above and Beyond is supported by the Victorian Government World Trade Centre, 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 3008 03 9247 6354

Police Life Winter 2015