Geelong Police Station: Don’t Bother Us, Call 000

Asleep on the job: pic by Ewen Roberts

A disturbing little story in the Geelong Advertiser.

Melbourne man Zac Damelian complained to police after he was subjected to an unwanted sexual advance at a toilet block. A man allegedly exposed himself and grabbed Zac by the leg.

When Zac ran police station to report the attack, he was told to call 000 on his mobile instead. Acting Senior Sergeant Matthew Sims, of Geelong police told the Advertiser

” [he] must have thought he was at fictional TV police station Mount Thomas from Blue Heelers and the police would run out from the station and chase after the accused.”

Zac contacted the duty sergeant the following day saying that regardless of the media coverage he had not had the opportunity to make a statement about the attack. The duty officer remarked that she did not want to get involved and was not interested in taking a statement.

It may seem like a relatively minor manner, but it left Zac feeling disrespected and belittled. It seems bizarre that he was asked to go outside the police station and call 000, instead of the duty sergeant making the call. I wonder if Zac had been a woman, or a young person, would the police response be the same?

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)