Friday, December 16, 2005

Was Cronulla left unprotected?

All week I have been asking people I know this question: Why were convoys of Lebanese men allowed to drive into Cronulla and other Sydney suburbs smashing cars and shops and bashing local residents? Surely, these large convoys must have been noticed by the police. Why weren’t they stopped?

My work colleagues gave me some unconvincing answers: that the police couldn’t be everywhere, or that the police could not have stopped the cars.

But now a different answer has surfaced. The Seven Network claims to have a police report instructing officers to stay away from Punchbowl Park where a convoy was gathering in order not to “antagonise” the young Lebanese men. The convoy then moved into Cronulla unimpeded by police.

I can only hope that the media pursues this incident vigorously. Who was responsible for the directive? What was the thinking behind it? It was a decision with serious consequences: it left the residents of Cronulla unprotected from a serious attack.

Police tactics will be different for this Sunday, though. A force of 1500 officers is being organised to patrol Cronulla and surrounds.

Meanwhile, there have been four attacks on churches in Sydney, the worst of which was an attack on a Catholic primary school during a Christmas carols service. Shots were fired into cars and parents abused.

1 comment:

  1. When you are threatened with a fight, you ask yourself:

    1 - what are my chances of winning this battle?

    2 - what are my chances of winning the longer-term war?

    1 - Police were badly outnumbered by the convey of cars. It's not too smart to weigh into that situation. I think both the officers on the ground wouldn't want to go in, and nor would their leaders would not want to send them into harms way. OH&S might come into it too these days.

    2 - People only "put in" when they see the whole team is doing likewise. If you look around and see everyone else is slacking off, you will say "why do I bother?". The resolve to fight is not there.

    The problem with the Lebanese is so long-standing that it is just the norm for police to throw up their hands and say "well, what can we do?". "Why should I go put out this 'fire' when it will only start up again sometime soon?".

    We need to go back to a Tim Priest style of zero-tolerance policing, and put the size and strength back into the force. We need to stop every form of anti-social behaviour in its beginnings with stern punishment. And look at the size of the little girls in uniform these days - just a joke.

    We need a concerted effort so that everyone believes it will actually do some good. Strong discpline right from school, through to police, and the law courts. You can't leave one brick out of the wall. The courts and schools are too soft too and just encourage disorder.

    Otherwise we are just playing reactive policing. That's not good for police morale.

    That's a part of the problem, anyway.