Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay stands down
By Cameron Best, staff
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has announced he is standing down, three years after taking on the role.
Mr Lay made the decision to stand down to support his wife, who is facing an illness that requires treatment over the next 12 months.
“Being Chief Commissioner is an exhaustive job. It requires absolute focus, commitment and energy for 365 days a year,” he said at a press conference Monday morning.
“I simply cannot invest that energy at the moment.”
Mr Lay said he had been considering his decision for the past six months.
“My decision has not been made lightly but I believe it has been made for all the right reasons,” he said.
After coming to the top job in June 2011, Mr Lay developed a blueprint to change the strategic direction of policing in Victoria.
“The 50s and 60s were wonderful decades, but if we think we can use the same geographical model of policing 65 years on, we are putting our heads in the sand and we will do the community harm in the process,” he said.
“This change may well be uncomfortable for governments, the community and our organisation at first but I believe it is the right thing to do.”
Victoria could not have hoped for a better chief commissioner of police.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
Mr Lay said his proudest achievement was helping to drive a change in community attitudes towards violence against women and children.
It prompted the State Government to announce a royal commission into family violence.
“These complex, yet cowardly crimes wreak untold havoc on our society,” Mr Lay said.
“They ruin lives and they are overwhelming our justice system.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews praised Mr Lay for his dedication to policing and his fight against family violence.
“No Victorian has had a more consistent and more important role in raising the awareness, particularly of men right across Victoria, that this is a crime and it is unacceptable,” Mr Andrews said.
“Victoria could not have hoped for a better chief commissioner of police.”
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles paid tribute to Mr Lay as a “very understanding and compassionate person”.
He said Mr Lay had been a stabilising figure in the police force.
“Victoria Police went through a reasonable rough time but he’s been able to steady that and build relationships with all the members and also the Police Association.”
Originally from Gippsland, Mr Lay has spent 41 years with Victoria Police, working his way up to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner before taking over from Simon Overland in 2011.
Mr Lay’s resignation will be made formal at the end of January.
Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright has been named as Acting Chief Commissioner.