The Victoria Police seem to have listened to criticism of “cultural issues” over the sharing of photos of arrested former AFL coach Dean Laidley allegedly by its officers.
The Professional Standards Command Investigation launched by Victoria Police will look at ways to build on work with LGBTQI communities. This was confirmed on Friday by the state anti-corruption watchdog Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC), which said it will continue to keep a close watch on the progress of the investigations.
“The community is right to expect that police always conduct themselves in accordance with the law, and this must include ensuring that people’s privacy is appropriately protected at all times,” said Robert Redlich, Commissioner for IBAC in a press release.
“Importantly, Victoria Police has confirmed they are looking at any underlying cultural issues, and how they can build on their work with the LGBTQI community and ensure their officers have proper regard to human rights.”
“Addressing any such cultural issues and improving police training will be fundamental to ensuring this type of behaviour is simply not tolerated and doesn’t happen again. While IBAC is satisfied that the investigation scope is sufficient, we will be keeping a close watch on progress, as part of our independent oversight of Victoria Police,” Redlich said.
Laidley (53), a former North Melbourne coach was arrested on the night of May 1, 2020, from outside a home in St Kilda. He was charged with stalking and other offences. A photo of Laidley dressed in a blonde wig and a dress while he was in custody were leaked and published in the media. While it is not known if Laidley has self-identified as a transgender person, activists have accused that the act of leaking the photographs was a breach of privacy and had transphobic overtones.
Victoria Police launched an investigation into the leaks and four police personnel have been suspended with pay following the incident.
According to the IBAC, Professional Standards Command investigation will examine the following aspects:
- The number of officers involved in taking the initial photographs, and the conduct of any other officers who were present and aware of this behaviour.
- How other officers received the photographs and responded to this material, including whether they further distributed the photographs and if they complied with their obligations to report the improper conduct.
- The alleged leaking to the media of information from the interview with the person in custody, along with images from the person’s mobile phone.
- Policies, systems, and practices relevant to this conduct, including any underlying leadership and cultural issues and the adequacy of associated police procedures and training.