Ken thanks his backers
KEN Lay believes his Australia Day honour belongs to his family and the 17,000 members of Victoria Police.
The Inverloch resident was formerly chief commissioner of Victoria Police and was named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in last Thursday’s Australia Day honours for his service to the police force, and to social and community leadership.
During his term at the helm of the state’s police force, Mr Lay brought more attention to the issue of domestic violence and encouraged greater diversity among police recruits.
He went on to head a national domestic violence taskforce, and is now chair of Ambulance Victoria and a board member of Essendon Football Club.
“I feel proud and honoured to receive this because it causes you to think about how you got where you got to,” Mr Lay said.
“When I left South Gippsland I did not think I would have an AO.”
Mr Lay said individuals need good people around them to achieve and so cited, in particular, the support of his wife Chris and children Scott and Amy.
At Victoria Police, Mr Lay instigated a program never before seen in Australia and possibly the world, to improve the attitudes of police towards people of all genders, sexual orientation, ethnicities and ages by increasing the force’s own diversity, particularly by increasing the number of women recruited.
“If you think of how diverse our community is, the best police service will reflect that community,” he said.
“We brought young African people into the organisation at an unsworn level and that gave them the confidence to apply to become police.”
He made changes to improve road policing by involving detectives in investigating fatal accidents and increasing the number of marked police vehicles on roads.
Family violence, in Mr Lay’s view, is driven by men having a sense of entitlement, thinking they are better than, or owed more than women.
“When you have a better balance of women and men (in the police force), the men have a better sense that women are equal,” he said.
His involvement with domestic violence as a young police officer influenced him and that interest increased when young Luke Batty was murdered by his own father at Tyabb.
Mr Lay came to know Luke’s mother Rosie well and he went on to promote domestic violence awareness at every opportunity, in the media and speaking at public events.
He helped establish the Family Violence Command within Victoria Police, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and the Review into Sexual Harassment and Bullying in Victoria Police.
Mrs Batty went on to become Australian of the Year in 2015 and Mr Lay later chaired the Council of Australian Government Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children in 2015. That council lodged recommendations for change now being considered by the Federal Government.
At Ambulance Victoria, Mr Lay has welcomed an extra $500 million injected into the organisation by the State Government, including for the recruitment of additional paramedics and improving technology.
After a tumultuous period at Essendon, Mr Lay is looking forward to a brighter year on and off the field this year, with the players banned as a result of the supplements scandal returning to the fold.
At Inverloch, Mr Lay enjoys cycling with the Coastal Crewzers group.
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