The new head of Victoria’s police union wants to be on the ground in the aftermath of police shootings.
Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles says he wants to speak face-to-face with officers immediately after traumatic events to make sure they know they have support.
On his first day as The Police Association Victoria secretary, he said he would campaign for better pay and conditions for officers, who have seen their jobs become increasingly complex.
Sen Sgt Iddles said when he started in 1973 the approach to policing was much simpler.
“If we went to a domestic argument, predominantly husband and wife, you’d lock the husband up as a drunk for four hours, and that resolved the issue – only temporarily – for that night,” he told AAP.
Now he said officers used family violence laws and intervention orders to start a more complex process.
Sen Sgt Iddles said he wanted police officers to know he was there to support them and represent them.
“I’ve followed police shootings, deaths in custody, all the way through to an inquest,” he said.
“I’ve talked to members all the way through the process, I know how they sort of feel at that time.”
Sen Sgt Iddles also said he personally wanted to see longer sentences for serious crimes like murder and rape.
“I don’t think that sentences actually reflect community standards,” he said.
Sen Sgt Iddles said a minimum sentence would still give judges discretion, but they would need to start from a higher base.
He called on people outraged by sentences to make their voices heard.
“The community think someone else is going to do something about it, so they don’t do anything,” he said.
“If you’re outraged by a sentence, you can actually have a public voice and say `well that sentence is manifestly inadequate’, write to the Office of Public Prosecutions and get them to review it.”
The next enterprise bargaining agreement between police and the Victorian government is due at the end of 2015.
Sen Sgt Iddles said the union was consulting with members to prepare its submission for the negotiations.