In a candid admission in the wake of a spate of attacks on Indians in Australia, a top Victorian police official said there were racists in Melbourne and the issue needed to be discussed to tackle an upswing in street crime.

“Part of that (statement) is being absolutely upfront about every society having racism and racists,” Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Ken Jones was quoted as saying by ’The Australian’

However, he said racism was not endemic in this city.

“We have got murderers and rapists, but for a developed country, less than our share. We’ve got less than our share of racists, but we have got them.

“The more we can be accurate in our discussion, the more likely we are to be able to focus on that small element of society and prosecute it,” he said. “The more scattergun our commentary and approach is, we are offending an awful lot of people unnecessarily.”

Ken said Indians were “bearing the brunt” of an upswing in violent street crime in Melbourne.

He said it was the result of the types of jobs and hours they work and how and when they travel, rather than a surge in racial tension, which he would expect to be accompanied by more activity from hate groups and by racist graffiti.

Indians should not be blamed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ken said.

“The fact we have got morons out there waiting to attack people who happen to be wandering through a park late at night is a problem for us all,” Ken, a former top cop in Britain, said.

He further said that “if we amplify the problem, we are more likely to get inaccurate policy responses as well as fear of crime that doesn’t match reality.”

“There is crime out there. We need to address it and we are addressing it. But we need to address it in a targeted way. We’re not going to do that if perception either wildly under-estimates or over-estimates the real threat.”

The immediate aim, Ken said, is to ensure his investigators find the killer or killers of 21-year-old Indian youth Nitin Garg, the Punjab-born accountancy graduate who was stabbed to death in a park in Melbourne’s west two weeks ago.

The longer term task is “closing the gap” between public perceptions and the reality of crime, he said.

Having worked in England, then the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Los Angeles and Delhi, Ken claimed that Melbourne has an extremely low crime rate for a major city.

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