News State Victoria News Melbourne News VicPol sergeant quits over enforcing COVID lockdown orders

VicPol sergeant quits over enforcing COVID lockdown orders

Krystle Mitchell ended her police career rather than enforce laws she says are alienating the public. Photo: YouTube
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Victoria Police is investigating a senior policewoman who sensationally quit the force by appearing in online video to declare that the state’s lockdown and harsh enforcement has alienated the community.

Former Acting Senior Sergeant Krystle Mitchell, who has worked for Victoria Police for more than 16 years, appeared in video on the Discernable site on Facebook on Friday night.

Dressed in full uniform, she said police were “scaring people in the community” by enforcing the Chief Health Officer’s public health restrictions.

“I couldn’t be happier in terms of the work that I do on a daily basis,” she said in the video.

“But behind that is all of my friends that are police officers, that are working the front line and are suffering every day enforcing CHO directions that a vast majority, or certainly a great majority, don’t believe in and don’t want to enforce.

“The consequences of me being here today is that I will be resigning from Victoria Police, effective at the end of this interview, because the consequences of me coming out publicly would be dismissal.”

AAP understands Ms Mitchell resigned from Victoria Police on Friday morning, before the video was released, and is now being the subject of an investigation by Professional Standards Command.

She is currently on personal leave and will not return to work.

Ms Mitchell has claimed to be the founder of a group of police officers opposed to mandatory vaccination of the force and before her resignation she was working in a non-operational role as part of the Gender Equality and Inclusion Command.

Victoria Police said Ms Mitchell’s comments “in no way” reflected the organisation’s views.

“For the past 18 months, our members have been working tirelessly to enforce Chief Health Officer directions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus to keep all Victorians healthy and to save lives,” Victoria Police said in a statement

‘Fragile public trust’

“The CHO directions are based on health advice and set by the Victorian Government. Victoria Police cannot pick and choose what laws it enforces.

“We acknowledge this has been an extremely difficult time for all Victorians who have had to give up so much.

“We know how fragile public trust can be and it is important people can have confidence in what we do.”

Victorian deputy Liberal leader David Southwick said police members had visited his office “in tears” over having to enforce public health rules.

“None of them signed up for this, it’s a tough job, and I sympathise with that front line – they’ve been forced by the Andrews Government to enforce some of the toughest rules that we’ve seen anywhere,” he said.

“This is not what members of Victoria Police signed up for.”

Assistant Treasurer Danny Pearson, who spoke at Victoria’s daily coronavirus update and recently served as Acting Police Minister while Lisa Neville was on leave, thanked Ms Mitchell for her service and deferred questions to the police commissioner.

“Our officers do a fantastic job and I believe that the community really does value and respect them for what they do, under very trying and very difficult circumstances,” he told reporters.

Victoria Police said it supported the right for people to peacefully protest “and this has not changed”.

“While now is not the time to protest due to risk of the spread of the virus and the current restrictions, Victoria Police is committed to facilitating peaceful protests once the directions allow,” the statement said.

– with AAP