Australia’s greatest detective reAEects on a successful career
True crime meets biography in investigative journalist Justine Ford’s latest book that places the life of one of Australia’s most well-known homicide detectives under the magnifying glass.
The Good Cop: The True Story of Ron Iddles, Australia’s Greatest Detective recounts the life and career of a man who after 25 years as a homicide detective had a 99 per cent conviction rate.
Known for working on cases such as the murder of Shepparton teenager Michelle Buckingham in 1983, Mr Iddles’ career has seen him encounter some of Australia’s most hardened criminals.
But in reality it was classic Australian TV show Homicide that inspired the man, who grew up in Rochester and Lockington to pursue a career with Victoria Police.
“Believe it or not I was fascinated with the original Homicide series,” he told Weekend Life. “I thought that would be a fantastic job. “It’s been a fascinating career, a fascinating journey.”
Mr Iddles joined Victoria Police when he was 18 and said back then it was fairly easy to get in.
“In 37 years of policing I don’t think there’s too much I haven’t seen,” he said.
During the creation of The Good Cop, Mr Iddles met with Ms Ford several times to recount his story.
Mr Iddles said when he left the Homicide Squad he was approached by three publishers to have a book written about his career and eventually agreed to do it on the basis that he did not get paid for sharing his story.
“It’s a bit daunting to have a book written about you,” he said.
“It was a long process but then you think, ‘Gee, have I done all that?’
“(But) I think it reads well, it’s well put together.
“To some extent it’s for everyone who has approached me and followed my career.”
During his career, Mr Iddles has travelled abroad investigating crimes and has only lost three trials in the Supreme Court.
A moment that stood out for Mr Iddles’ as a police ofÅcer was when the Russell St police headquarters complex in Melbourne was seriously damaged in 1986 after a bomb hidden in a car detonated and killed Constable Angela Taylor.
“That was an attack on all police,” he said.
But since 1986 the nature of policing across the state has changed signiÅcantly.
Mr Iddles said ice, terrorism and family violence were serious problems, as well as the mental health of police ofÅcers.
As the secretary of the Police Association Victoria, Mr Iddles is aware of the problems many ofÅcers face while working.
He said many police left the force because of mental health problems and never returned, which was something the association was working to address by asking the Victorian Government to change the legislation around psychological claims.
A long career has seen Mr Iddles receive an Order of Australia Medal and an Australian Police Medal. Despite this, Mr Iddles remains humble. “I’m honoured to have a book written but that was not what I was ever about,” he said.
WEEKEND LIFE GIVEAWAY Weekend Life has Åve copies of The Good Cop: The True Story of Ron Iddles, Australia’s Greatest Detective by Justine Ford to give away thanks to publisher Pan Macmillan Australia. To enter, email the code word COP to...