Brad Powell is a former Victoria Police Sergeant who's now an Investigative Steward at HRV and in this Integrity Matters Q&A he shares how the trots have challenged and interested him.

Tell us about your background?

I grew up in north-metro Melbourne and spent a lot of my time involved with several sports clubs, playing football, cricket and hockey. After Year 12, I completed further studies in electronics and was employed in that field for several years. In 2001, I changed careers and joined Victoria Police, where I worked for 15 years. I resigned as a uniform Sergeant, but most of my career involved investigative work as a Detective. I investigated many crime themes including, drugs, firearms, gang related offending, sex crimes and child exploitation. As a police officer I saw myself as representing the community and I felt it was important to remain impartial when dealing in all matters. Since resigning from the police, I have maintained investigative work; firstly, with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources investigating Commonwealth legislation and then working for Linfox in security and asset protection regulating corporate legislation, policy and procedures.

How have you found the change in a new role and learning about harness racing industry?

I’ve found the change to harness racing to be challenging but enjoyable. I enjoy learning and gaining an in-depth understanding of why things are done certain ways. I’ve enjoyed being out and about attending stables and meeting industry people and, of course, the horses. I’ve always been interested in sports integrity and I understand the importance that all professional sporting codes need to maintain high standards so that participants can fairly compete at the highest level. I look forward to playing a role in maintaining those high standards within harness racing.

You recently spent the day at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, how was that experience for you?

I had a great day and I look forward to going back for some further training – thanks to Jenni Lewis and her team. During the day, I was shown all the harness equipment available to the horses. I now have a better appreciation for the attention to detail the trainers must give each horse so that the gear they use provides the horse with the best opportunity to run at top level. I was also given the opportunity to drive a horse (using the dual-seated sulky of course) and now understand the power and strength of a horse and how well trained they are to instinctively react to the driver. I can only imagine the adrenaline rush drivers must feel when they’re driving at full speed during a race. We also spoke about horse welfare and that a component of the centre’s training involves integrity, which had been positively received by the students.

What does integrity mean to you?

When I think of integrity, I fall back to three words – FAIR, JUST and PRACTICAL. We all make decisions daily, and in some cases, we’re confronted with decisions that test our judgement about what’s right and wrong. I feel that if these decisions are based on being fair, just and practical, then most of the time it will pass the integrity test.