Friday, June 06, 2014

Adelaide Siege

Image: Sydney Morning Herald

You wouldn't expect Adelaide CBD to be in lock down because of someone  so violent the police were trying to protect everyone and get their man. Rodney Clavell had evaded them for a fortnight and there had been some interesting searches of about 80 premises. Interesting because we don't normally have to experience this in Adelaide. I remember a hold up of a bank at Marion which kept everyone quiet and busy for a while quite a few years back. We know to be careful. We know to listen and we know to stay out of the way and get on with our lives. Yesterday was quite remarkable because the siege had a specific area of the city locked down for around 12 hours. I was concerned because I had a relative in that area. One who had planned to go out. What impressed me the most was how well informed I was. From the time I found out on the way to work in the morning, to the time it was all over  ABC radio and internet site kept me, as a suburban Adelaide resident, totally and completely informed. This would not have been something the police could run from experience because it doesn't happen here. They ran it from their protocols. The media fell into step with them and  the management of the situation and the subsequent communications were exceptional.  Our Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Dickson, came on the news later in the day and fully updated us without compromising their continued plan of action. It was confidence inspiring. It was even better to be listening to 891 this morning and they were asking some good questions to get to the bottom of why it had ended in the apparent suicide of Rodney Clavell. There was empathy for him from all sides even though he had been a violent man. There was a compassion for the situation he had found himself in and then we found out the lengths they had gone to to try and get him out of the adult services building. There was an understanding there that  he would be reluctant to deal with the police and a depth of appreciation for his situation as a human being. Some people would not worry that a violent person had lost his life. That perspective reminds us that yesterday occurred because he was high risk to the community. What was impressive is that the people in charge of this situation managed it so it was not alarming, not alarmist nor was it judgemental of someone who had a lot of problems. What was even more impressive was the woman who came on 891 to advocate for the sex workers involved. She had a battery of information which put things in place very smartly and , again, she was someone who could stand up for people who might be easily overlooked, dismissed or not taken into account. The fact the radio station thought to interview her was a good thought. There are times when things are difficult but when you are kept informed, when the powers that be act in the interests of all human beings involved and when the follow up is a clear, hard headed, humane and logical look at what occurred then you know you are doing well. Adelaide did well yesterday and those who managed and reported on the situation had very good skills sets for dignifying a tough situation competently and in a safe manner.

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