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Policing memoir a big hit at Wallan launch

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By Colin MacGillivray

A life spent striving to improve the lot of Victoria Police members was celebrated with a book launch in Wallan last week.

Kilmore man Bryan Harding rose through police ranks during his career, becoming chief superintendent of Victoria Police and subsequently heading the Police Association of Victoria for three years.

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Mr Harding, who is now aged in his 90s, completed the manuscript for his book Always in Need of Reform: Reflections of a Policeman last year but is yet to finalise a deal with a publisher.

He said his son Shane was in talks with an international book publisher, but that in the meantime he had chosen to print copies of the book himself.

At Wednesday’s launch at Hogan’s Hotel, attended by a large crowd, he said he sold every copy he brought.

“Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we ran out of books,” he said.

“I thought it went very well. It was a nice afternoon.”

Mr Harding said the book detailed his at times controversial attempts to reform Victoria Police and what he described as ‘an absence of sensible administration’ within the service.

“What I think I have reopened are my concerns about the stressful nature of policing and the difficulty that police administration have in Australia of recognising the fact,” he said.

“What I want them to do is more research on the police working environment. Too many people are getting sick, which the book focuses on as much as anything.”

The book also focuses on Mr Harding’s relationship with Ronald Ryan, the last man to be executed in Australia.

Mr Harding, who grew up in Kilmore and attended Assumption College, said he was advised by former college sports mentor and Review contributor Ray Carroll when writing his book.

“Throughout the actual writing I was advised by Mr Ray Carroll ‘it is your book’,” he said.

While a publishing deal is yet to be finalised, people can find copies of Always in Need of Reform at The Kilmore Bookstore on Sydney Street.

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