7 July 2020

The Flemington-Kensington CLC’s Police Accountability Project: “Interventions into this pandemic, however necessary the rationale, are not neutral.  Government and public health interventions can either strengthen the health and capacities of affected communities or they can cause harm. The policing we have seen in Victoria to date and scale of the policing we have seen last night and today in Flemington & North Melbourne, has caused and continues to cause harm. … The policing of the emergency lock-down takes place in the context of long-running and well documented community concerns and extensive legal action to regard to discriminatory policing, documented racial profiling, policing operations targeting particular ethnicities and multiple incidents of severe human rights abuses over many years. … It is paternalistic that people living in these towers were not considered active partners in the need to prevent COVID transmission and instead have been made to feel like criminals in an urban detention centre. … The need for rapid and urgent measures to control the spread of coronavirus is undisputed.   But health and social workers, housing workers and community leaders need to be resourced and empowered to communicate the Chief Health Officer’s directions in partnership with residents and their associations, instead of public order police.”