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A veteran Victorian police officer is facing disciplinary action for online posts mocking gender equality in the force.
Sergeant Bruno Staffieri, who has served on the force for 35 years, is reportedly facing an investigation by the force’s internal watchdog.
Staffieri has become a polarising figure in the force as he regularly expressing his Christian faith and beliefs online, according to The Age.
The news outlet claims the 62-year-old was interviewed by the Professional Standards Command on April 26 over a post he made to senior project officer Bonnie Loft from Gender Equality and Inclusion Command.
In the post made last November, he said: “So you are doing tertiary education studying genders. I’ll make it easy for you to pass....there are 2.”
He also came under fire for a post made in March referencing an ABC News report on a gay pride group for students started by a Western Sydney teacher.
Staffieri posted: “What a disgrace. Bad enough having gay, non-binary teachers, but to have them push their filth on students is a disgraceful crime. Why can’t we sack these teachers?”
Lawyer Lee Flanagan from Arnold Thomas and Becker told The Age that it was unclear whether Staffieri was facing sanctions from the Victorian Police.
Flanagan said: “There’s two competing arguments at play. Victoria Police will have policies and procedures in place that its officers presumably agree to abide by. But he [Staffieri] is also entitled to express his opinions providing he does it in a respectful and reasonable manner.
“However, I think it’s clear he crossed the line with some of his comments.”
Staffieri has also clashed with Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson over Victoria Police’s campaign to promote workplace equality.
Paterson had reportedly shared a post on Victoria Police’s internal communications platform Yammer in June 2021, sharing the force’s recognition for inclusion.
He posted: “Victoria Police is proud to have been recognised as a silver employer at the 2021 Australian LGBTQ+ inclusion awards.”
Staffieri responded: “Yes I agree. Great achievement. But if the public knew how much time, effort and taxpayer dollars went into this, they would also be demanding why we didn’t get a gold.”
According to The Age, Paterson defended the campaign and denied it had received any funding.
Staffieri responded: “Sir, I totally value and respect your opinion and your rank, I simply ask that you value and respect mine.”
In reply, Paterson said: “I don’t respect or value your views as they are offensive and there is no place for those views in Victoria Police.
"Either limit your comments on Yammer to comments that are respectful of everyone or consider your employment options.”
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