I recently discovered that ACT Police expect me to do my own investigating into the theft of my vehicle. They have instructed me to contact Westfield Woden and ask into security camera footage of the gated carpark from which my car was stolen last Sunday evening. I reported the theft to ACT Police immediately over the phone, and then walked to Woden cop shop (as it was the only place open and warm at that time of night) to finalise the report and wait for a cab home.
Two days later I called the ACT Police general phone number (131 444) again to follow up on any progress with my job #. I mentioned to the officer that there would probably be some kind of CCTV or security camera footage available, as the car was parked in a gated/secure carpark. He put me on hold to check if there were any Police CCTVs in there area (which there aren’t) and then said that I would need to contact Westfield Woden myself to chase up whether the carpark has a camera and if there was any useful footage.
When I queried if it was my responsibility to follow up possible security camera footage of the crime, and to – in effect – conduct my own investigation to uncover additional information pertinent to the crime, he responded in a lacsadaisical fashion that “if we followed up every car theft, we’d be on the phone to security companies all day long”.
I was dumbstruck. I wondered, is that not part of their job? – to look into crimes and liaise with other bodies who may have information pertinent to said crimes? Surely …!?
(Prologue: The vehicle was located today in Mildura (Victoria) 3 days later, thanks to the proactive approach of Victoria Policing, who noticed the car on the highway, driver and passenger hiding their faces, 2 school age small children in the back seat, (stolen ACT rego plates) and got suspicious. The family of 4 had been living in the car for the past 3 days, and were heading to Perth. The driver (who has an extensive record in WA, NSW and ACT but not VIC) was charged with entering the state with known stolen goods, and was sentenced today to 14 days imprisonment in a Melbourne jail.
ACT Policing will presumably (hopefully) issue a warrant, so that, if the adult drivers return to the ACT they may be apprehended. (It was too minor a crime to bother with extradition apparently.) VIC Policing will also issue a DHS notification so that, whatever state they end up in, DHS might be able to follow up to check if the 2 small kids are ok.)