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Homophobic police stuck in a time warp, says Chief Commissioner Ken Lay

Some members of the Victoria Police have 1970s attitudes to homosexuality and some have had 1950s attitudes to police corruption, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has said.

Mr Lay described both sets of outdated views as "unfortunate" on Fairfax Radio's 3AW.

The chief commissioner joined the Gay Pride March at the weekend to show his support for an "important part of the community" and to support officers who were gay or lesbian.

"We have quite a number of gay members and it's not always easy being gay in the police force I would think," Mr Lay said.

"Every now and again I hear stories that I am really disappointed with . . . There are some of our members that simply haven't moved on, that have got an attitude that is more akin to '70s thinking than these years."

He said he had not participated in the march previously because it had conflicted with bush fire remembrance services.

Mr Lay said he was unaware if some Pride marching officers had been rostered on to work at the time, but he said police may be rostered to work when they attend some events, such as multi-faith events.

Mr Lay did not limit his backward-thinking comments to homophobic police. He criticised some police who face disciplinary and criminal action over the cover-up of a drunk police officer's crash into a Bendigo hotel in 2005.

Then senior constable Dean Robinson was tried and convicted in 2011 over the case, while three others face investigations by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and four face disciplinary offences, he said.

"If you look at the circumstances you'd think of it as something from the '50s or '60s," Mr Lay said.

"Unfortunately, there was some opportunity for some of our people to stand up and be counted – not be bystanders – but some of them didn't take up that opportunity.

"[They] tried to cover up some behaviour which the community shouldn't tolerate and certainly I don't tolerate.

"It is a wonder over the years we didn't lose many, many more police officers in car crashes, isn't it?"

An investigation into the Bendigo station's culture sparked by the cover-up found 17 officers were now facing criminal or disciplinary charges, including the eight in the crash cover-up. Mr Lay said the other nine cases were the result of a broader investigation into the station's culture.

"The evidence is pretty stark actually. When you have got 17 members facing criminal or disciplinary charges obviously that is a problematic workplace."

He said investigators were "working through" other matters including one that involved a Bendigo superintendent.

He said more than 120 other officers in the region would be disappointed by the actions of their colleagues.

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