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Policeman facing charges

The arrest of a policeman who is expected to be charged for a brutal attack on a woman in North East Victoria has undermined Chief Commissioner Ken Lay’s public campaign against domestic violence.

The senior constable from Belgrave allegedly punched the woman, believed to be his partner, after wedding celebrations in Victoria’s high country turned ugly. The policeman was only suspended yesterday, a day after Victoria Police was contacted by Fairfax Media.

The couple had returned to a Mansfield motel in the early hours of Sunday morning following a wedding at the base of Mount Buller.

Security footage captured the couple with up to eight other intoxicated wedding guests, “crowded around” in the Alzburg Resort car park at 2am, a resort employee said.

The CCTV footage, which has been handed to police, allegedly shows the off-duty officer punching the woman to the face and several members of the group seizing the man and restraining him until local police arrived.

The woman was taken to hospital for observation while the policeman was arrested and held overnight at the Mansfield police station.

He was released pending charges on summons, but on Thursday Victoria Police had confirmed he was not yet suspended from the police force.

However, yesterday a police spokeswoman said he had been suspended with pay.

The spokeswoman said it would be “inappropriate” to comment as an investigation was under way.

“Any offences alleged to have been committed by police members are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly,” the spokeswoman said.

The senior constable is one of four Victorian police officers who are facing recent assault charges.

In August, a sergeant was suspended without pay after he was charged on summons with serious assault offences for allegedly bashing a woman known to him at Rutherglen.

Last week, a senior constable was suspended with pay pending his court appearance for an assault in Rosebud and a senior constable was “directed to take leave” in September for an assault at a licensed venue in Lakes Entrance.

When asked for statistics from the police force on how many of its officers had been charged for domestic violence-related assaults in the past year, police said a Freedom of Information request would be needed to access those figures.

The incidents — particularly the alleged Mansfield and Rutherglen assaults — contradict recent attempts by the police force to clamp down on domestic violence — the most recent occurred just days before White Ribbon Day.

In his speech on Tuesday that marked the national day of action against domestic violence, Chief Commissioner Lay promised to provide the leadership “so desperately” needed on the issue of violence against women.

Chief Commissioner Lay has been a vocal opponent of violence against women since he took the top job in 2011, calling domestic violence one of the most significant law and order problems in the state.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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