Leaving Islam




When the Middle Eastern crime groups emerged in the mid-to-late 1990s no alarms were set off. The Crime Intelligence unit was asleep. I know personally that operational police in south-west Sydney compiled enormous amounts of good intelligence on the formation of Lebanese groups such as the Telopea Street Boys and others in the Campsie, Lakemba, Fairfield and Punchbowl areas. The inactivity could not have been because the intelligence reports weren’t interesting, because I have read many of them and from a policing perspective they were damning. Many of the offenders that you now see in major criminal trials or serving lengthy sentences in prison were identified back then.

But even more frustrating for operational police were the activities of this ethnic crime group, activities that set it apart from almost all others bar the Cabramatta 5T. The Lebanese groups were ruthless, extremely violent, and they intimidated not only innocent witnesses, but even the police that attempted to arrest them. As these crime groups encountered less resistance in terms of police operations and enforcement, their power grew not only within their own communities, but also all around Sydney — except in Cabramatta, where their fear of the South-East Asian crime groups limited their forays. But the rest of Sydney became easy pickings.

The second in the series of events began to take shape with Peter Ryan’s executive leadership team. Under Ryan’s nose they began to carve up the New South Wales Police and form little kingdoms where a senior police officer ruled almost untouched by outside influence. They then appointed their own commanders in the police stations. Almost all of them had little or no street experience; but they in turn brought along their friends as duty officers, similarly inexperienced. Some of the experience these police counted on their resumes included stints at Human Resources, the Academy, the Police Band in one case, the various cubby-holes in Police Headquarters, almost no operational policing experience — yet they were tasked to lead. Never has the expression “the blind leading the blind” been more appropriate.

The impact that this leadership team had on day-to-day operational policing was disastrous. In many of the key areas that were experiencing rapid rises in Middle Eastern crime, these new leaders became more concerned with relations between the police and ethnic minorities than with emerging violent crime. The power and influence of the local religious and minority leaders cannot be overstated. Police began to use selective law enforcement. They selected targets that were unlikely to use their ethnic background and cultural beliefs to hinder police investigations or arrests. It was mostly Anglo-Saxons and Asians that were the targets, because they were under-represented by religious leaders and the media. They were soft targets.

AN EXAMPLE of the confrontations police nearly always experienced in Muslim-dominated areas when confronting even the most minor of crimes is an incident that occurred in 2001 in Auburn. Two uniformed officers stopped a motor vehicle containing three well known male offenders of Middle Eastern origin, on credible information via the police radio that indicated that the occupants of the vehicle had been involved in a series of break-and-enters. What occurred during the next few hours can only be described as frightening.

When searching the vehicle and finding stolen property from the break-and-enter, the police were physically threatened by the three occupants of the car, including references to tracking down where the officers lived, killing them and “fucking your girlfriends”. The two officers were intimidated to the point of retreating to their police car and calling for urgent assistance. When police back-up arrived, the three occupants called their associates via their mobile phones, which incidentally is the Middle Eastern radio network used to communicate amongst gangs. Within minutes as many as twenty associates arrived as well as another forty or so from the street where they had been stopped. As further police cars arrived, the Middle Eastern males became even more aggressive, throwing punches at police, pushing police over onto the ground, threatening them with violence and damaging police vehicles.

When the duty officer arrived, he immediately ordered all police back into their vehicles and they retreated from the scene. The stolen property was not recovered. No offender was arrested for assaulting police or damaging police vehicles.

But the humiliation did not end there. The group of Middle Eastern males then drove to the police station, where they intimidated the station staff, damaged property and virtually held a suburban police station hostage. The police were powerless. The duty officer ordered police not to confront the offenders but to call for back-up from nearby stations. Eventually the offenders left of their own volition. No action was taken against them.

In the minds of the local population, the police were cowards and the message was, Lebs rule the streets. For a number of days, nothing was done to rectify this total breakdown of law and order. To the senior police in the area, it was more important to give the impression that local ethnic relations were never better. It was also important to Peter Ryan that no bad news stories appeared that may have given the impression that crime in any area was out of control. Had these hoodlums been arrested they would have filed IA complaints immediately via their Legal Aid lawyers and community leaders. To senior police, this was a cause for concern at the next Op Crime Review.

So the incident was covered up until a few local veteran detectives found out about it and decided to act. They went quietly to the addresses of the three main offenders early one morning and took them away with a minimum of fuss and charged them. Some order was restored, but not nearly enough.

By avoiding confrontations with these thugs, the police gave away the streets in many of these areas in south-western Sydney. By putting in place inexperienced senior police who had never copped the odd punch in the mouth or broken nose in the line of duty, the police force hung the community and the local police out to dry. Most of these duty officers had retreated to non-operational areas early in their careers because they couldn’t stomach the risks of front-line policing. Yet they put their hands up to take vital operational roles because the positions are highly paid — duty officers receive about $30,000 to $40,000 a year more than a detective sergeant, which is ludicrous.

When I say that this type of policing was condoned and encouraged across wide areas of New South Wales, I am not exaggerating. The problems in south-western Sydney are a direct result of covering up criminality because it went against the script that Peter Ryan and his executive had continually pushed in the media, day after day after day — that crime was on the decrease and Peter Ryan was the world’s best police commissioner.

In hundreds upon hundreds of incidents police have backed down to Middle Eastern thugs and taken no action and allowed incidents to go unpunished. Again I stress the unbelievable influence that local politicians and religious leaders played in covering up the real state of play in the south-west.

The third event was the reforming of Criminal Investigations into a centrally controlled body called Crime Agencies. All the specialist crime squads were done away with: Arson, Armed Robbery, Drugs, Organised Crime, Special Breaking, Consorting, Vice, Gaming, Motor Vehicle Theft were wrapped up into one-size-fits-all. Ryan once boasted that by the time he finished retraining the New South Wales Police, constables could investigate a traffic accident in the morning and a homicide in the afternoon, a statement that summed up his Alice-in-Wonderland policing theories. All the expertise and experience evaporated overnight.

It was as if the public hospitals had suddenly lost every surgeon and had GPs perform major surgery. No matter how bright and dedicated these GPs were, they would simply not have the expertise, the training and the experience to take over. It would be a disaster. Well, that is what happened to criminal investigation in this state. Crime Agencies was an unmitigated disaster. Yet those who designed and ran this farce have gone on to highly paid government jobs.

The final straw for the New South Wales Police was the OCR — Op Crime Review, which Peter Ryan and his executive team came up with. It was loosely based on the groundbreaking Compstat program of the New York Police Department, the brainchild of Commissioner William Bratton. The difference between Ryan’s OCR and the NYPD Compstat was that the NYPD model covered everything on the criminal waterfront. The Ryan-inspired OCR had just six crimes. And those six included domestic violence, random breath testing, theft, robbery, assaults and motor vehicle theft — no drugs, organised crime, firearms, shootings, attempted murders, homicides. The crimes that instil fear into the average citizen were ignored, and with plenty of innovative answers as to why. The OCR focused police attention on a limited number of crimes and allowed far more serious and deadly crimes to get out of control.


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