Victoria doesn’t have a gang problem; it has a policing problem


Another mass riot in Melbourne, another official “meh”;

Victoria Police top brass are reeling from deepening criticism that their no-arrest policy is failing to tame teen gangs following a violent street brawl that involved more than 200 ­African-Australian and Pacific ­Islander youths and ended in a terrifying car ­attack.

An 18-year-old man was in hospital in a critical condition last night with leg injuries after being hit by a car at the end of a huge fight that broke out at a ­record label launch early yesterday morning.

Five other youths were hospitalised with injuries suffered during a fight in the street.

The latest public brawl involving African-Australian youths comes three weeks after riot police and helicopters were called to control a clash between warring teens in the outer-northwestern suburb of Taylors Hill.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton established an African-Australian Community Taskforce in January to deal with youth crime. Since then, there have been several out-of-control parties and violent robberies…

Officers were called to Smith Street in inner-suburban Collingwood soon after 2.45am yesterday after reports of a fight between ­African-Australian and Pacific Islander youths leaving the “66 Records Label Launch” at the ­Gasometer Hotel…

The teens reportedly ran riot down Smith Street, jumping on cars and brawling as they went, ­before congregating on nearby Mater Street.

Soon after police arrived, a car drove at speed into a group of youths on the side of the street, pinning the 18-year-old against another car and seriously injuring his leg.

Victoria Police is yet to make any arrests but says it anticipates some will be made in coming days.

We’re all waiting in anticipation. A few weeks ago, after some arrests were made in connection with another case, Detective Inspector Parnell was quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t call them a gang, no, they’re a collective group of individuals who know each other”. Just like the Victorian police force; not a police but a collective group of individuals who know each other. No gangs, no gang problems; easy.

While the Taylor’s Hill fracas took place relatively far from the happy inner city (and Waleed Aly’s residence), Collingwood is a bit closer home. The award for bad timing this time around goes to Peter van Onselen:

Next dinner in Collingwood, perhaps? (hat tip Andrew Bolt)