VICTORIA POLICE HAVE REFUSED to say why they conducted a series of community surveys that included ‘firearm safety’ in the latter half of last year – and won’t release details of the results or explain why they were conducted.

With a state election in Victoria this November, we’re keen to understand what our regulator and bureaucrats are up to.

VicPol's mystery safety survey

In July 2021, Victoria Police published a “Moreland Safety Survey” which asked that local community about a range of safety issues such as family violence, drugs, youth offending – and firearms. 

In fact, the question wasn’t about anything illegal, such as gun crime, but ‘firearm safety’

As you know, firearm safety is a good thing. It’s about the basic rules of handling firearms – such as keeping your firearm pointed in a safe direction, and finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. 

These rules were developed by the firearms industry and are well documented. They are also supported by Victoria Police, which you can see here.

NSC puts in FOI request

Firearm safety isn’t a problem so why this was even included is not clear. 

If Victoria Police was truly concerned about the dangers of firearms, the question would be on illegal firearm use or their own inability to keep track of guns.

Curious about why this was even raised, we put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out more.

We would, for example, be disappointed if the survey was being used to prop up the new safe storage requirements that were introduced in Victoria after these surveys were conducted. Or some other measure that the Andrews Government is holding back until after this year’s Victorian State Election.

Then we noticed other surveys for other areas pop up in several other areas, covering:

 

  • Bendigo
  • Goldfields
  • Horsham & surrounding areas
  • Hume
  • Maribyrnong
  • Macedon Ranges
  • Mallee
  • Mildura
  • Moorabool
  • Northern Grampians
  • South West (Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite)
  • West Wimmera

The results

The survey results from all the areas suggested that ‘firearm safety’ was not among the top community concerns. 

The top concern – using Moreland as the yardstick – was the safety of property, road safety and alcohol and drugs.

The results from the other areas were similar: firearm safety simply did not rate a mention.

What this says, is that the community does not see firearm safety as a problem – which we suspect is not the result VicPol was hoping for.  It also explains why the Labor Government neglected to mention these results when it tabled new storage requirements in the Victorian Parliament last year. 

In fact last year, former Victorian Police Minister, Lisa Neville, told the media that firearm theft remained an ongoing concern in Victoria – even though these survey results which came out at the same time, point in other directions.

What we haven’t seen – which is the focus of our FOI – is the more detailed breakdown of where firearm safety ranked – and who actually organised the surveys. In fact we’re interested in understanding if anyone linked to last year’s changes in storage laws or this year’s Victorian State Election has anything to do with this. That’s why we’re persevering with our FOI request

Off to VCAT

A year on, Victoria Police are still yet to provide any response, even after we paid ‘access’ fees earlier this year.  Even the FOI Ombudsman couldn’t speed things up for us.  That’s why this matter is now in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

At a minimum, the NSC will be making sure the main political parties do not use stunts like this to find ways to tighten gun laws in Victoria after November’s state election. 

That’s because history has shown why it is very difficult to trust them.

7 thoughts on “NSC digs deeper on mystery ‘firearm safety’ surveys

  1. Peter McKenzie says:

    It’s not my problem to stop people stealing my firearms. I secure them to prevent inadvertent access by a child or non-trained adult. If a thief enters my property with the specific intent of stealing my firearm, they will likely be tooled up to succeed, no matter what I may have put in place. The Police should be monitoring such ‘targeted’ thefts and arresting the perpetrators, then tracking how they knew I had firearms in my home. I do have a security camera system monitoring my property and firearms safes.

  2. LH says:

    I find it hard to believe that anyone surveyed would have said they wanted more speed cameras, or that it was a higher priority for them than drugs/alcohol/anti-social behaviour. There are already more VicPol members per head of population in Victoria than in any other state in Australia. Are they so inefficient that they need more?

  3. Ian L Daly says:

    Thank goodness someone is keeping an eye on these “Sneaky Bugger Tactics” by the police, who are doing this at the behest of the government. Unfortunately they are winning as less new people are taking up shooting as a sport, and although there are more privately owned firearms they are held be less people. The government is slowly getting what it wants and that is to disarm the population, and we all know what that leads too.

  4. Mark says:

    They are just so corrupt, so very corrupt. It’s their culture since the colonial days, and it’s not going to change, not ever.

  5. Gregory says:

    I wouldn’t trust the Andrews GOVT they tell way too many lies and are very corrupt. They have never said why they wanted to sign the Belts and Roads Agreement with china. Makes me wonder if it wasn’t a way of trying to sneak china into Australia. I do hope the people of Victoria get rid of this corrupt and socialist Govt.

  6. Graham says:

    NSC , you are doing a fantastic. Job for us , keep up the good work, I am so glad I joined after being with 2 other organisations who basically sat on their hands and did not much.

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