What Victoria Police must do after ‘appalling’ leak of Dean Laidley photos

victoria police dean laidley photo leak
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton. Photo: Victoria Police

LGBTIQ advocates have called for more training for Victoria Police officers after the leaking of photos of former AFL player and coach Dean Laidley while in police custody.

Laidley was arrested on Saturday night in St Kilda and faces charges including those related to stalking.

At the weekend two photos, a mugshot and a photo of the 53-year-old wearing a blonde wig and dress in an interview room, were leaked and spread on social media.

The Herald Sun and West Australian newspapers also published the photos on their front pages on Monday.

On Monday, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton (pictured) said he was “appalled” a Victoria Police employee took the unauthorised photos.

“It’s unacceptable, appalling conduct and and it has no place in our organisation,” Patton said.

“It breaches a person’s privacy. It breaches their human rights. We’re taking this matter extremely seriously.

“It’s a breach of trust with the community. It’s a breach of our values. That conduct by an officer should never have occurred.”

On Monday, Victoria Police suspended a senior constable, effective immediately, after he allegedly sent the photos to six others.

Patton said the officer, who was “cooperative and remorseful”, could face up to two years jail and almost $40,000 in fines.

He said the Victoria Police investigation will continue, and others could also face charges.

Transgender advocates want awareness training for police officers

Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville also slammed the incident as a “completely unacceptable breach of privacy”.

But Neville dismissed concerns the leaking of the photos of Dean Laidley had transphobic overtones.

“I think this had much more to do about football than it did about anything else, but let the investigation go on,” she said.

However longtime transgender advocate and just.equal spokesperson Martine Delaney said the minister’s remarks send a negative message.

“Ignoring the likely transphobia behind this incident sends a message to trans sportspeople and police that the authorities don’t care about the prejudice and discrimination they face,” Delaney said.

“Victoria Police must investigate transphobia as a motive, and do more to challenge transphobia in its ranks.

“We call on all Australian police services to implement nationally-consistent and high-standard training for police in transgender issues.”

Delaney said the privacy breach occurred just days after Victoria’s new gender recognition reforms began.

She said it shows “law reform must be accompanied by campaigns to improve attitudes and practices.”

Dean Laidley privacy breach ‘simply not good enough’

Victoria’s LGBTIQ Legal Service wrote on Twitter the incident could lead to further community distrust of police officers.

“The leaking of these photos is an appalling breach of privacy… Such disregard speaks to deep transphobia that still exists within some elements of the Victoria Police,” they said.

“Our trans and gender diverse clients routinely report a lack of trust in Victoria Police and this incident serves to show why.”

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