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Another mystery police operation

June 1, 2008

As I was walking down Spencer Street this morning, a police car sped by with lights flashing but no sirens. When I reached the LaTrobe Street corner, the citybound lane was blocked off by a police van and two officers were standing by, redirecting traffic. Odd, I thought, but kept walking.

At the next corner, another van was parked. Beside this van was an unmarked car with a flashing dashboard light. More officers were standing by. A group of people (onlookers? voyeurs? passers-by? evacuees?) were standing on the western side of the street, angling for a view of Little Lonsdale Street.

A few metres up Little Lonsdale, a large group of officers surrounded a prone figure. I kept walking. At the corner of Lonsdale and Spencer Streets, four heavily armed and armoured officers seemed to be readying for some sort of action. I started walking faster. A photographer, presumably from The Age, was capturing the scene. I noticed a number of larger police vans and more cars milling around.

Given that this was a typically quiet Sunday morning, and the action was taking place right next door to one of the two major metropolitan newspapers, I was sure that I’d be able to find out what it was all about without doing what the onlookers were doing – standing near lots of armed people and risking my own safety. Funnily enough, more than four hours later, there is not a mention of any such incident on The Age‘s website. The Herald-Sun and the ABC haven’t covered it, either.

Am I alone in expecting that these types of incidents are newsworthy? Or, at least, more newsworthy than, say, Patti Newton’s stolen handbag?

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