Coronerís findings highlight the need for better training to avoid future police shootings
23 November 2011
The Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres today welcomed the State Coroner’s recommendations in the inquest into the death of Tyler Cassidy on the need for better Victoria Police training, particularly around dealing with young and other vulnerable people. The Federation’s Executive Officer, Hugh de Kretser said the recommendations were timely given there has been six police shootings, including one fatal shooting, in 2011.
‘The State Coroner has repeated warnings made by the Office of Police Integrity in reports in 2005 and 2009 about the need for ongoing police training to prevent avoidable use of force’, Mr de Kretser said. ‘While Victoria Police has improved its tactics and training, we have concerns about its ongoing commitment to this given previous lapses noted in the two OPI reviews. The Coroner has highlighted that this training must be constantly responsive and vigilantly maintained.’
‘The Coroner also highlighted problems around the police investigation of the shooting. This is another reminder that we need an independent investigation of deaths in police custody. In the future, deaths in police custody should be independently investigated by the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission’ Mr de Kretser said. ‘This will help ensure that police training is responsive, appropriate and continuous.’
The Federation of Community Legal Centres endorsed the Coroner’s recommendation that Victoria Police officers be assessed on their skills in safely managing vulnerable people. Evidence given to the inquest was that Victoria Police stopped testing police officers on these skills about four years ago.
Media backgrounder on statistics showing Victoria’s high rate of police shootings is available at www.fclc.org.au/cb_pages/files/Media%20Backgrounder%20Tyler%20Cassidy%20inquest%20findings.pdf
Hugh de Kretser, 0403 965 340