“Too bad, so sad”: VicPol’s disgraceful targetting of Mike Sloan
2 December 2020|Security industry, Victoria Police
- VicPol LRD cancels the business and handgun licences of licensed security industry instructor, Michael Sloan, for failing to respond to demands for information about his business’s viability
- The demands took place while Mike was in hospital recovering after a heart attack and with an officer responding to his explanation as “too bad, so sad”– in what we allege was a vendetta void of ‘fair legal process’,
- The NSC is supporting Mike with appeals in the Firearms Appeals Committee and VCAT to help him get his licences back. We will be seeking clarification around the legal basis that VicPol claims it is acting on; and
- You can help support these legal actions
MIKE SLOAN is a Victorian Security Industry Instructor, a member of the NSC, and an avid shooter who taught the Iraqi National Police on behalf of the Australian Government.
Mike is well known to many in Victoria and across Australia and is well liked and regarded.
LRD’s own failure to account for firearms
In 2017, the LRD charged Mike with operating in breach of two conditions of his Security Industry Instructors Licence, shut down his training school and seized his guns.
The matter went to trial in the Magistrates Court in 2018 where the LRD’s claims were proven to be false as it had failed to update its own database with the correct firearm information. LRD was forced to drop its case against Mike and pay his legal bills.
To make matters worse for the LRD, Mike’s story made it to the front page of The Age , which you can read by clicking here.
Licence suspensions: an act of revenge?
Like many other businesses, Michael Sloan’s security business suffered because of the COVID pandemic. Mike couldn’t run his security training school during the COVID restrictions, as his business provides training “face to face”. Then he got hit with a double whammy after suffering a major heart attack which resulted in him being hospitalised for several weeks.
While in hospital, and after putting into renew his licences, Mike received notices of suspension of his firearms and security licences, stating “there may be grounds” to cancel his licences. The letters stated that the LRD was ‘not satisfied that it is in the public interest’ for him to hold the licences or that he met the probity requirements of being a ‘fit and proper person’.
Why the LRD decided this is not clear: Mike did not do anything that would be of concern to them.
After leaving hospital, the LRD visited Mike’s business to go through its books with him. Officers noted that he had not been trading for a period of time, which Mike explained was because he was in hospital and limited by the COVID restrictions. The response of one officer was "too bad, so sad" before then leaving.
Then, in early November, the LRD sent Mike notices of cancellation of his security training business and firearm licences.
Mike is still a licensed Victoria Police Firearms/Security Industry Instructor and authorised Victoria Police Firearms Safety course Instructor. He just can’t do this running his own business or use his “tools of the trade” (the businesses firearms). It is the licences for these that the LRD took away from him.
Legal issues – security industry
It appears to us that the LRD took it upon itself to use the renewal process to determine that his business wasn’t ‘financially viable’ during that period. Why, is not clear, and we cannot discount the likelihood that this was in fact LRD’s revenge for the earlier embarrassment they suffered. The fact he had been sidelined due to hospital and COVID were clearly sound explanations that didn’t matter to them.
We will have more to say on ‘financial viability’ below, but it is clearly a bad sign for the security industry when its regulator who should be looking to have policies which facilitates the industry it regulates and affords ‘fair legal process’, kicks “a good guy when he is down”.
The question of financial viability only comes up under the Private Security Act 2004 when a person is ‘granted’ a security licence the first time around. Mr Sloan already had his licence, which raises three legal questions that we want answered:
- Does the LRD have the legal authority to review the financial viability of an agent after the licence is granted? Given the way the Act is worded, we think the answer is clearly not.
- Given the term financial viability is not defined in the Act, what does it mean and who should decide that? If it means – as the LRD seems to be suggesting - losing money at some point in time, then most businesses would be in trouble at any given time, especially during the COVID lockdowns.
- Why was fair legal process not afforded? The LRD knew Mike had been in hospital and impacted by the COVID restrictions, yet simply and disgustingly dismissed his situation as “too bad, so sad”.
Legal issues – gun dealers
The letters Mike received alleged that he was no longer a fit and proper person to hold his licences.
While the legal requirements for gun dealers are different, the concern we have is that it is not too hard to see the LRD target gun dealers who they allege are also no longer fit and proper to hold their licences, without explaining why.
NSC helps Mike lodge appeals - can you also help?
With our help, Mike has lodged appeals against the decisions in the Firearm Appeals Committee for his handgun licences and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for his business licences.
Again, we are engaging the best legal minds we can find. We want to fight this as long and hard as we can.
If LRD are allowed to do this unchallenged, then it will not be long before they do the same to the next security trainer, or gun dealer who may not be able to trade for whatever reason.
The LRD has form in this area: readers will remember how badly our gun dealers were treated during COVID, including the complete shut down after the “decision of National Cabinet” lie the NSC exposed earlier this year and the legal action we ran to help them re-open.
Legal fights are not cheap, so we’re looking for your help, especially if you are a security industry operator or gun dealer who is sick of being targeted by a contemptuous regulator. Enough is enough. You can either donate via our:
- GoFundMe campaign by clicking here – or
- PayPal by clicking here. Donating through PayPal provides total anonymity.
You can also join the NSC as a member by clicking here.