Calls for 'police sympathy' following arrest of pregnant woman over anti-lockdown protest
Broadcast on Today (Nine Network) on 4 September 2020.
Authorities have moved to defend the arrest of a pregnant woman in Victoria, saying the public must have "a little bit of sympathy for the police" as they deal with anti-lockdown protesters across the state.
"It's a really tough job in Victoria for our police officers at the moment," Police Association of Victoria secretary, Wayne Gatt, told Today.
"When they are executing search warrants anything can happen. You wouldn't believe the amount of things that come out of the blue with search warrants. They have to take reasonable precautions."
A video showing Zoe Buhler being put in handcuffs in front of her partner and children, accused of organising a prohibited anti-lockdown protest, has been viewed online more than seven million times.
She has since been banned from posting on social media when she was bailed yesterday following her arrest in Ballarat.
"Those handcuffs were off nearly as soon as they were on that person in custody, once that scene had been secured," Mr Gatt said.
"(The police) have then made phone calls to the hospital to make a fresh appointment for that person so she could have her ultrasound, allowed her time to get dressed.
"They really did treat this person with dignity and respect and acted very professionally."
It's feared outrage around the arrest could add fuel to the fire as anti-lockdown protesters vow to defy public health orders and rally in Melbourne tomorrow.
"Some of these people will attach to anything they can, that they see as anti- authority," Mr Gatt said.
"We have to have a little bit of sympathy for the police in this, they are not making up the rules, these aren't their rules or restrictions, but they have got a job to do."
Yesterday, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said he believed officers acted "appropriately" when arresting the woman.
"We're satisfied in those circumstances the members behaved appropriately and in accordance with our policy," he said.
Mr Gatt said he feared for the safety of police on the front line when dealing with anti-lockdown abusers.
"On any given day I've got members in quarantine in hospitals, they are not getting to hug and kiss their kids at night-time or tuck them in, they have been away from their families.
"I've had members who have missed the birth of their children because they have been in quarantine because they have been out there helping the community.
"They are on the front line with the doctors, nurses, ambos and other emergency services workers trying to help us all get through this.
"We want out of this just as quickly as every other Victorian."