Cops killed for the Painters and Dockers but now politicians are blind to their Armani suits.

I’ve been exposing the Victorian police in my novels for several decades; through all those times that politicians maintained what a great police force we have. It began when I observed police behaviour as a crime reporter in the sixties. I saw the things that happened then and stored them up for the years I could write about them. There was no way I could have used the names of those involved because of our libel laws. There were the members of the Homicide Squad who killed for the Painters and Dockers. Occasionally criminals took on the corrupt police – the likes of Jack Twist (great Dickensian name) – but no one else did. There was the time that the Attorney-General Arthur Rylah had his wife found laid out on the high cement path to her clothesline. She was fully dressed, and laid out like a body on a morgue slab, her shoes placed neatly at the back door. After a young ambulance driver, who was found dead a week later of flu, accused the Homicide Squad of not doing their job, Arthur Rylah was under house arrest for twenty four hours and then released. A few years later I examined the file on the murder but it was empty.

Now we have Mr Brumby, the darling of the Melbourne Club (according to the Victorian archives, edited by Michael Cannon, the Melbourne Club used to sell grog to the aborigines on the Yarra River bank) saying he thinks the Victorian Police are doing a super job. Of course this is a class thing. Melbourne Grammar Old Boys are seldom pestered by police in their Toorak houses and Range Rovers unless they’re delivering drugs to known criminals. The police are unsure how they should approach such affluent individuals.

However politicians should have known the police force was on the cusp of something big when plainclothes cops began to wear Armani suits. It was the Licensing Squad who first adopted that sartorial look but it quickly spread to other squads. Now that senior cops have been rumbled it is time to say that Christine Nixon has done a great job but we must remember that it is the majority of the cops who are corrupt not the minority.


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