Continuing the legacy left by former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, current Commissioner Simon Overland will march in next year’s Pride March.
Overland made the announcement last week from the Victoria Police Centre as part of a special Community Safety Month broadcast on Melbourne’s GLBTI radio station, JOY94.9.
“I’ve been invited to walk as part of the next Pride March and I’ve accepted the very kind offer, so I’ll be continuing that tradition,” Overland said on air.
“It’s important to reaffirm our commitment to work with the gay and lesbian community.”
Overland said he was not concerned about adverse reaction to his decision, and did not expect the same media controversy that followed Nixon‘s announcement that she would march in 2001.
“I think we’ve all moved past all of this, haven’t we? I mean there’s greater maturity in the general community when dealing with these issues,” Overland said.
“The point I make is that I’m here to police for the entire community. The gay and lesbian community is an important part of the Victorian community so it’s no different from any number of things I do in engaging in the [community].”
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit manager Sergeant Scott Davis did much behind-the-scenes work to secure the broadcast from the police headquarters.
Davis joked on-air that rumours Overland was going to come out surfaced after the internal police news feed revealed the Chief Commissioner would make “an announcement” on the gay radio station.
Anti-Violence Project convenor Greg Adkins said the broadcast involving the GLBTI community and Victoria Police’s top cop was “historic” and important to shore up the relationship between police and the GLBTI community.
“It’s about continuing the relationship with Simon marching in Pride March, it sends a strong message and continuity of message that Christine Nixon started,” Adkins said.
“We’re about generational change in values, generational change in communication and this helps set up this generational change in relationships between the gay community and Victoria Police.”
Studies currently show around nine out of 10 homophobic incidents go unreported to police and Adkins said it’s now up to government to come to the table to help combat homophobia.
“All these voluntary groups like the AVP, we’re all out there doing stuff, we touch on the issue but we are limited by resources, limited by opportunities,” Adkins said.
“We actually need governments now to fund us, governments to look at long-term systemic programs to address violence at its root.”

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