Sunday, February 08, 2004

Pack Mentality

Sunday Star Times
February 8, 2004
Pack Mentality
by David Fisher

"I wonder how easy she would be," a senior male police officer says to another, referring to a female colleague. The comment was among those collected by Prue Hyman, a research associate in gender and women's studies at Victoria University, in her police-commissioned study, Women in the CIB, in 2000. Hyman interviewed dozens of officers and plans to discuss her report with police headquarters, to discover if it will be put forward to the commission of inquiry. She believes it should be be.

Women police officers told Hyman:

* "I have found the only guys who want to mentor you will end up wanting something different. "The senior people within the police who sort of start the `you're a very special person routine', and then they start visiting you at home and it goes on from there. "And they say, 'We don't work in the same station so therefore it's not going to be a problem'. Personal experience, and not once, several times. They're not junior staff, they are senior managers."

* "It's male culture and we're always considered fortunate to be there, and that's how I felt a lot of the time. It (is) only like that because of the pack - they all egg each other on. Split them up and they're not like that at all."

* "On their own they can be really nice chaps but in a group situation it is quite intimidating especially socially. "Sometimes I don't think you can blame individuals, I think you just blame the whole police system."

Police headquarters would not discuss the report.

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