‘The Angry Ant’ by Kelvin Glare AO, former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police (2015) Book review by Meredith Fuller

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'The ANGRY ANT' by Kel Glare AO
‘The ANGRY ANT’ by Kel Glare AO

I see too many kids today who do not appreciate their own intrinsic value as human beings being bombarded with negative feedback about their worth. Little wonder that these kids get into trouble when they’re constantly reminded that they are failures. That success comes in a variety of forms is something we should all appreciate…self-esteem and a sense of self worth is an important human attribute.” Conspicuous at the recent youth violence & drugs forum, he stresses that, “With strong support from my colleagues I will not give up on trying to change youth behaviour for the better. Prevention is far better than cure. Also not likely to keep my mouth shut!”

This book provides a refreshing insight into his family of origin and influencing life experiences that formed a leader who was responsible for over 10,000 sworn police staff and 2,000 unsworn; alongside an honest look into what he encountered throughout his professional life that informed his leadership style.

Kel Glare was a career policeman and lawyer who took the reins of an organization that was about to restructure following a state government inquiry. He developed the very first corporate plan for the Force and pushed for an integrated anti-crime strategy, as well as being a strong advocate for continuous education.

He brought the organization into the 21st Century: introducing technology; best practice management; a new balance of crime detection and crime prevention; new community programs that targeted educating children and youth about good citizenship; and embedding recognition of minority groups with the organization.

Glare’s philosophy of “setting a direction and getting others to follow willingly’ alongside his attitude of “never judging so called ‘misfits’ who may be ‘inherited’, but enabling them to become A teams” managed the perennial problem of being understaffed and underfunded in this complex profession.

What makes his book a great read for anyone interested in leadership in large organisations is his transparency of examination and reflection of the management and leadership of such a complex organisation.   How he handled opposition and political games is worth the book purchase, let alone the insight into country life, rabbiting, and flying planes! Glare is a future-thinking questioner of all things; his energy for continuous improvement and providing stretch for members explains how he ensured that change occurred.

We are given a fascinating look into the politics and dynamics of his career development, and his perspective on law enforcement. He chronicles in detail how a country boy from a background of adversity managed to rise through the ranks to become the Chief Commissioner.

Candid and controversial, Glare gives us insight into his personality, his style, and opinions. His integrity and honesty is refreshing – whether or not you agree with his assessment of politicians; members of the force; and the public, you can appreciate that he supports his conclusions by elucidating personal experience and evidence that informed his views. His ability to call a spade a spade is done with clarity and wry humour.

Glare admires determination and strong will, and maintained his ethics throughout his 30 year career. Unsolicited anecdotal comments from former criminals indicate that they considered him to be a ‘respected bloke who was firm and fair,’ a rare accolade.

As a vocational psychologist I am fascinated to note that his earliest recollections, at eighteen months, were a portent of ‘breaking road rules’ and ‘uniforms’; and the first life he saved was at the age of seven. Destined to join the police! He overcame the common obstacles of poverty and paucity of opportunity – a typical feature in many leader’s backgrounds – by taking self-responsibility, returning to study (becoming a barrister), and seeking to make society more equitable. He continues to work with project teams to address today’s societal problems.

He writes with humour, good natured self-deprecation, passion, and acknowledgement of his values, including his love for his family. He respects the support of his wife, Trish, and daughters Andrea and Lyndal who have been instrumental in helping him to continue his mission.

That he is also a Collingwood supporter is yet another endearing quality.

I recommend this book – book sales www.bookstore.bookpod.com.au or good bookstores such as Readings and Dymocks.  5 min VIDEO interview to follow shortly

Kel Glare AO, author chats with Meredith Fuller about 'THE ANGRY ANT'
Kel Glare AO, author chats with Meredith Fuller about ‘THE ANGRY ANT’

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