Truck cop's tough love: Ian Musgrove on the beat

By: Steve Skinner

Retired police officer Ian Musgrove made a mark with the Victorian truck task force and then with truckies on the second major route between Sydney and Adelaide

Truck cop's tough love: Ian Musgrove on the beat
Lifesavers: Ian 'Mussy' Musgrove (left) and Trevor 'Blue' Wyatt.


When Victoria Police leading senior constable Ian Musgrove hit town, local legend Trevor 'Blue' Wyatt noticed something extraordinary happening.

Car and truck accidents in the area started dropping off.

Blue should know. He’s been a volunteer ambulance driver in the Victorian Mallee town of Murrayville for 50 years.

"After a year or two of Ian being here, I think for the rest of the time we never had a truck tip over, and they were tipping over as regularly as clockwork," Blue recalls of his mate.

"He stopped most of the accidents on the highway because everyone was looking for that mongrel copper hiding somewhere, so it slowed them down and kept them awake."

Of local road accident victims, Blue adds this: "The help he gave the families was incredible".

Murrayville is halfway between Sydney and Adelaide on the second major truck route between the two cities. It’s just across the border from the South Australian town of Pinnaroo.

Musgrove’s effectiveness in saving lives on the Mallee Highway shouldn’t have surprised anyone when he moved up from the big smoke in Melbourne in 1997.

Through most of the 1980s and 1990s he had been trying to minimise the carnage on the Hume Highway and elsewhere as a member of the VicPol truck task force.

At one stage he literally wrote the book for general duties officers on how to deal with truckies, and from Murrayville travelled all over Victoria presenting courses to up to 50 police at a time.

Now battling the Parkinson’s disease which forced him to retire in 2008, Ian Musgrove is still doing what those who know him say he’s been doing for decades – serving the community way beyond the call of duty.

"Since his retirement he hasn’t backed off," says Blue Wyatt. "He’s looking after a lot of the senior people’s gardens (for free); he’s always cleaning up around the town and footy oval."

And despite problems speaking, Musgrove – or 'Mussy' as everyone calls him – works closely with Blue in the local Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteer bush fire brigade movement.

Blue, a farmer, is the group officer for District 18 in the Mallee, with Mussy as the group secretary/treasurer and one of the communications officers in the local control facility.


Despite booking thousands of truck drivers in his time, Ian Musgrove says he found most of them to be "good honest hard-working fellers". There weren’t many female drivers in his heyday of course.

Musgrove says he became an expert at telling when he was being lied to.

His next comment about a lot of the drivers he encountered might shock you.

"They’re just like victims of domestic violence," he says. "Sure, that can’t happen if the drivers don’t cooperate, but they get used and abused that much by their bosses they get used to it.

"If you threatened people in an ordinary industry, you would have nobody working for you."

So how do cowboy company owners get away with pushing drivers?

"They say it didn’t happen or they put people in the middle between them and the drivers – operations managers, compliance managers, I think they put them there to take the pressure if anything happens. They’re the scapegoats."

Check out the full feature in the April issue of Owner//Driver, subscribe here.



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