Professionalism commended

Two local detectives have been commended for their professionalism in investigating a raft of serious offences committed by inmates who escaped from the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre in January last year.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Wade Andrews and Detective Leading Senior Constable Glenn Johnston were awarded Divisional Commendations last Tuesday for their dedication, resilience and investigative skills displayed during the lengthy operation.
The two detectives coordinated the brief preparation for 25 offenders who were charged with rioting, escape, armed robberies, aggravated carjackings, serious assaults, theft of motor cars, conduct endangering life and other offences.
They took hundreds of witness and victim statements, analysed hours of CCTV footage from the centre and worked solidly for four months on the investigation and court process.
DSC Andrews said a huge amount of police resources had been committed to the events over the course of the breakout, the recapture of the offenders and the completion of the investigation.
“The fallout from it all went on for months,” he told the Express.
“There was $217,000 worth of damage at the facility.
“The victims were terrified, they were terrified by what happened on the day and a lot of them have received ongoing counselling about it because it was an astonishing level of violence displayed by the offenders once they’d left the facility.
“The conduct that they engaged in was life-threatening – driving at high speeds, stopping cars that were travelling at 100km/h, attacking cars and the people in them, so it’s lucky that no-one was seriously injured.”
DSC Johnston said he and DSC Andrews were grateful for being recognised for their work.
“We received significant support from local police and police from Bendigo on the day and in the weeks following, particularly in relation to the taking of statements from staff and witnesses at the facility,” he said.
“It was certainly a team effort.”

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