A really soft cop: Why Victoria Police threatened Adam’s licence

We know there are some really good cops out there, but there are also some who shouldn’t be wearing their uniforms. 

This is a story about how a shooter was threatened with the loss of his shooter’s licence simply for telling them what they should be doing – catching criminals.

Readers may recall our recent blog on the shameful treatment SA Police gave to some shooters revealed by their Police Ombudsman.

Now we’ve got a story affecting one of our own.

Adam [not his real name], a shooter from Melbourne, was a passenger in a car driven by his wife around this time last month when they were pulled over by an officer from Victoria Police.

Adam didn’t have any firearms with him, nor did he engage with the officer, so there was no way the officer could have known who he was.

As the officer left, Adam said to his wife obviously loud enough to be heard something along the lines of “Why don’t they go and catch the real criminals?”.

Nothing more happened.  Adam’s frustration wasn’t just about the ticket: he earlier had suffered damage to one of his own vehicles which the police did not investigate, so it’s easy to see why he said what he said.

A week later, Adam received a call from his local district firearms officer who told him [Adam] that his statement was probably enough for him to no longer be a fit and proper person to hold a shooters licence. He was told his licence would be suspended it if he didn’t go to the station to discuss this further.

That’s when Adam contacted us.  While we cannot give legal advice, the options the two of us he spoke with outlined were that he could:

  1. Roll over, go to the station and apologise;
  2. Not turn up (and let them try);
  3. Require their threat in writing;
  4. Turn up with his lawyer; and
  5. Lodge a complaint with the Police Ombudsman

Personally, I – and I’m sure many of you – would have forced their hand.  As we explained to Adam, the threat to suspend the licence is not based on any conviction, nor anything else involving the law.

Rather, it’s based on his suggestion the police go and catch criminals.

Fancy that!

Adam said he would go to the station to get it over and done with, even though he knew he didn’t have to.

The more familiar you are with the police and law, the more likely you are to force the issue with the police.  Adam, like many other shooters, wasn’t as confident about the outcome so he went to the station, and apologised.

Their response was to say he was ‘naughty’ for what he did and told him not to do it again.

They told him they could have suspended his licence, which would have cost him money in transferring his firearms.

So there you have it. A police officer takes offence at being told to do their job.

The best the police could argue they had concerns over his attitude. Even the National Firearms Agreement requires tests such as having a convictions of offences involving violence, fraud and deception.

It’s not helpful to talk back to someone doing their job, however, if the statement was enough to cause a DFO to threaten a licenced shooter, then you have to wonder how tough – or soft – are our police?

We’re grateful to Adam for telling us his story.  Again, we can’t give legal advice, but the law isn’t just what the police think it is.

If the police threaten your licence, we recommend you insist they put in writing to you.  Then get a lawyer or go to the Police Ombudsman.

If you do lose your licence, go to the Firearms Appeals Committee. Make sure you exercise every avenue of appeal.

As for whether the police should go and catch criminals, we can only say they should be sacked if they don’t!

Leave a comment ?

17 Comments.

  1. fucking sooks

  2. Unfortunately many in the Police Service like to throw their weight around, others are downright corrupt. The attitude during the normal firearms inspections is that “I am guilty of something until proven innocent”. This attitude coupled with their ignorance has cost me time & money in the past.
    Keith.

  3. My advice would be to ask the DFO to put it in writing before engaging in any conversation.

  4. We regularly see police take the position that firearms in the community increases the risk to police officers. Those who hold this view fundamentally misplace the role of police in society.

    Citizens do not exist to minimise the risk of policing. Police exist to protect citizens from criminal activity and sometimes crises such as bushfires.

    This example demonstrates how some police see themselves as above the ordinary citizen, able to exercise their power to make that person’s life difficult. It’s unacceptable, but it’s also a common occurrence.

  5. So hang on, this officer abused his power to do an illegal search on their data base to find out who the passenger was? Seriously.
    Definitely a complaint to the ombudsman

  6. Thats a pathetic use of taxpayers money!! I would have asked them to prove it in writing, did the officer have proof he said it?…..of course he did….they are the powers to be….
    Abuse of power!

  7. Cops out on the highways on their own , getting like the cop in qld , road warriors 🙄

  8. There are cops who try to lay down the law according to themselves and try to bully people and bluff them into thinking police have powers they do not. Sometimes an embarrassment to decent cops. I wonder in this case if DFO had heard an honest story from the one making the report to him? Need to politely compare notes. A good DFO should tell little pimp where to go if found he had been fed a misleading and /or preposterous report. If his attitude proved as bad, and local Member of Parliament is sympathetic to shooters rights, which is less likely in city than country could be another option as well as police ombudsman and ethical standards or whatever to lodge complaint to try and cut police bullies down to size.

  9. I’ll give you a what if? What if Adam and his wife were driving somewhere and saw a lone police office patrolling the highways and the byways on his own, had stopped someone and looked like he was in serious trouble, real serious trouble and in obvious need of urgent assistance, many miles from nowhere that his own wouldn’t be there anytime soon. Now really Adam and his wife don’t have to stop and assist, remember Adam’s last involvement with Victoria police was concerning a comment he made, a comment that is made every day. He was threatened that he would have his firearms license canceled etc etc. Adam’s dilemma…stop and help or remembering the earlier incident just drive on? My past would make me feel duty bound to stop and help. But had I been subjected to the same sh1t that Adam had been, even I would probably just drive on by. I can understand nor condone the abuse of their position and powers by the police in the earlier matter with Adam. In fact I am sickened, particularly in this day and age that police are playing an active part in firearm prohibition laws. I am long retired but at the time of the ‘Lindt’ siege I commented to my wife that the only way I could confidently protect her was for me to be able to ‘self carry’ because I know my capability. Besides I reckon ANY assistance from ANY of Australia’s Police Forces ANYWHERE is 30 minutes away! People please read the Australian/New Zealand Government Active Shooter Guide. So well publicised it might as well be ‘top secret’ it will open your eyes.

  10. This whole story needs to be related back to the Minister for Police, the local member and the top police personel to highlight this misuse and abuse of the regulator’s position. It’s only going to get worse for us if we don’t. The police involved in this are in dereliction of their duty and need to be held to account.

  11. As much as I would like to challenge the DFO and traffic officer Adam probably did the most sensible thing.

    He could have challenged and won, no doubt but… in six months he’s pulled over and breathalysed, his car searched on suspicion of drugs. A surprise firearms inspection at his home of he’s pulled over on his way to the range and his mobile firearms security tested – ie. harassment.

    You don’t think so? It has been happening to someone I know for ten years.

  12. when you are pulled over even if its for a broken /not working light, the rego niumber is put in and youre history comes up- LAFO- IS THE FIRST / OWNER OF VEHICLE / -CO- OWNER- ( JOINT NAMES. IF YOU HAVE A GUN LICENSE THAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT COMES UP ON SCREEN. YOU ARE LISTED ON A CRIMINAL POLICE LIST/REGISTRAR AS A FIRARM OWNER..

  13. I don’t agree with the criticism of the cop. However; due to the policing focus on the law-abiding it’s something the cop should expect. The real problem here is using a firearms licence as an avenue to threaten in order to correct behaviour. It seems we are well on our way to the type of policing where not only are they essentially making the laws that they can interpret on the fly, but also use that interpretation to reprimand as they see fit. This is why governments make laws, courts punish, and cops are supposed to do neither. Next time, go to IBAC because this behaviour and culture needs to be corrected.

  14. Sounds like a Ned Kelly story all over again !!

  15. This is down right BULLING at its worst. What a soft cock Copper. He is such a BIG MAN behind his badge. They forget that if they are in a situation and need the Public’s help who is going to step up and do the Australian thing and just get in and help. No question’s. Just like GMan said. And these things do happen. Its not bloody Hollywood. But then again, if we stand up for our right’s as law abiding citizens as Anonymous and P.Cherry metioned we run the risk of victimisation. What in the HELL do we do. CRIKEY, this world of our’s is really becoming so BLOODY SOFT. I am so sick of hearing about this crap. We are supposed to be living in a DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY where the MAJORITY rule. What a load of bulltish. The damn MINORITY are ruling our lives. And it BLOODY stinks. Its enough to make a Bloke or Sheila take up arms. Just like Eurake Stockade. They had to take matters into their own hands to be heard. Not much has changed in 163 years.

  16. Googled Australian/New Zealand Government Active Shooter Guide.

    This summarizes the 3 things you can do:
    http://www.news.com.au/national/australian-government-guide-to-survive-a-mass-shooting/news-story/211a485228b68cdec54d2169d6f2f15d

    The 3rd is:
    “People should also come up with a plan for if they are discovered, WITH VIOLENCE THE BEST COURSE.
    “This can include using or THROWING AVAILABLE OBJECTS or using aggressive force when confronted,” it says.

  17. I think Adam went down the path of least resistance which many of us would. However there are more serious concerns here, such as misuse of Police powers, a total lack of understanding of the law as it relates to who is, or is not, a fit and proper person and simple natural justice. Let’s hope this is an isolated incident, although I doubt it.

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