Australia — A country policeman hailed as a hero for helping lead hundreds of Marysville residents to safety minutes before the town was engulfed by fire may face disciplinary action for making a statement to the bushfire royal commission.
Counsel for the commission, Melinda Richards, said Senior Constable Ken Dwight told lawyers he had been called to a disciplinary interview for an alleged breach, apparently because his submission was made using Victoria Police letterhead, The Age newspaper reported.
Snr-Const Dwight is the lone policeman at Woods Point, east of Marysville, and is also a Police Association union delegate.
He volunteered to help Marysville police on February 7 and was at the back of a convoy that evacuated 200 people to Alexandra as the fire swept over Marysville.
Snr-Const Dwight would not comment to The Age on Monday night.
At the commission, Ms Richards asked Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe if he was aware of the situation faced by Snr-Const Dwight, and he said he was not.
When she asked Mr Walshe if it worried him a member who had raised matters that concerned him might be subject to an internal disciplinary process, counsel for the Victorian government Garry Livermore interjected, saying there was no evidence to support such a claim.
Ms Richards said evidence supporting the claim would be presented next week.
Mr Walshe said police were encouraged to make any submissions to the royal commission through the Victoria Police royal commission liaison unit, and said he thought it was reasonable that the force was aware of what its members had to say.
Mr Walshe had earlier named Snr-Const Dwight as a member who had been told he might face an offence under section 127A of the Police Regulation Act, which bars members from using without authorisation, accessing or disclosing information learned through the course of their work unless it is their duty to do so.