Victoria Police’s Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit has been disbanded.
The announcement was made last week by Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit manager Sergeant Scott Davis (pictured) who will transfer to the Police Academy training office.
ight years of service to Victoria Police and the GLBTI communities, the Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit will cease to exist as we know it,” Davis said.
“I cannot put into words how much of a privilege and an honour it has been to be the manager of the Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit since December 2004, and to work with such fine people.
“As a team … we have made a significant change, for the better, to the way Victoria Police responds to the GLBTI communities. We shall never go backwards.”
Davis’ departure follows a two-year review of Victoria Police’s Operations Coordination Department which houses the Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit.
The announcement confirms the unit will amalgamate into a more generalist community engagement model.
Although the unit will no longer exist in its current format, Davis’ role will continue and will be advertised in coming weeks. The position will become part of Victoria Police’s Community Engagement Support Team which will deal with a range of areas including multicultural, youth and human rights issues.
Anti-Violence Project Victoria convenor Greg Adkins said the group has requested a meeting with Chief Commissioner Ken Lay to seek assurances the changes won’t diminish the relationship between the community and police.
“They’re rushing in to disband it before they’ve even worked out how they’ll do it,” Adkins told the Star Observer.
“We need some clarity as to how this will all unfold, especially as there hasn’t been a person yet nominated to fill [Davis’] role.
“We need some certainty it’s not going to have a negative impact on reporting of violence and the successes we’ve had.”
Adkins said the AVP has raised concerns that expertise on LGBTI issues may be lost among the competing concerns of other marginalised groups.
He also said the move will restrict the ability of the community to have input and offer police feedback.
“We can’t possibly go to four sets of meetings [across four state police regions], the community can’t spread itself four times as thin,” Adkins said.
“It spreads us rather than unites us.”
Victoria Police’s GLBTI community reference group met on Tuesday to discuss the changes.