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Pontificating Police

By John Hargreaves - 4 August 2014 36

police-generic-a

Do you wanna know what annoys me? Probably not. Anyway, heaps of things do.

As an over 65 year old, I have a duty to pick things which give me the irrits and whinge about them. It comes with the right to hiss at noisy children in supermarkets, the right to make unseemly noises in the back pew, the right to find fault with everyone younger than me and yearn for days gone by.

So, here is my latest. When I was in the Legislative Assembly, I looked into the doctrine of the separation of powers. You know… the difference between the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive.

Judicial officers, ie Magistrates and Judges are the Judiciary, and parliamentarians are the Legislature. The Executive are Ministers. Well, public servants come under the Executive as they are charged with doing the bidding of the government of the day. Not a hard thing to grasp, I would have thought.

Now, did you know that police officers are in fact, part of the Executive too? They are not part of the Judiciary. They answer to the Minister for Police in the same way as doctors in the public health system answer to the Minister for Health. They are not judge, jury and executioner. Or at least not supposed to be…

So where do they get off expressing opinions on anything? How would you feel if some run of the mill public servant was on telly being judgmental on stuff we are doing? Police officers are often found on TV saying “they are concerned at the road toll”; “they are not going to put up with violence in Civic on a Saturday night”. Etc, etc.

Police are there to do their best to protect the community and do an extremely good job and one we often undervalue. But they don’t do their case any good by pontificating on TV about the behaviour of our citizens. Any comment of this nature is for the Government should be through the responsible Minister.

I understand their frustration about seeing habitual crims released on bail, but it is not for them to voice that frustration. They are servants of the people, and they do not sit in judgment of the people, the judiciary does that.

Anyway, whinge over. I’ve been irritated by this for 40 years and I guess will continue for the next few.

But at least I have had my whinge.

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Pontificating Police
1
bd84 8:42 am
04 Aug 14
#

Sorry, did you say something? Nobody listens to ministers.

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2
neanderthalsis 8:59 am
04 Aug 14
#

Police have every right to make comment on social issues that directly impact on the work in the same way as doctors have every right to tell that we are all going to die in an ebola pandemic…

The police are usually amongst the first professional people on sight at road accidents or when a teenage boy has massive head injuries from a one-punch hit or when husbands/wives bash each other senseless in acts of domestic violence.

Police carry far more weight than the local Minister, having a uniformed figure of authority telling us not to drive when off our face on ice or not to drink until we feel it necessary to bash someone is a reasonably effective way to get the message across.

Having the local Minister as the single mouthpiece would have no impact. In the ACT, and indeed across the country, the Ministry is generally not recognisable to the broader populace and carries almost no credibility, probably having spent their entire working life in student politics, then as a staffer, back bencher and eventually a Minister…

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3
bundah 9:08 am
04 Aug 14
#

I can well understand police frustration given they are constantly dealing with the same criminals who continually reoffend after being handed a slap on the wrist by the judiciary. That being said we have an article in today’s CT where the plod have monumentally buggered up!

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/police-mistakenly-hand-personal-details-of-terrified-family-to-daughters-violent-exboyfriend-20140803-zy2v4.html

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4
magiccar9 9:23 am
04 Aug 14
#

I could say the exact same thing about ex-MLAs “expressing their opinion” on public forum sites…

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5
justin heywood 9:52 am
04 Aug 14
#

So where do they get off expressing opinions on anything? How would you feel if some run of the mill public servant was on telly being judgmental on stuff we are doing?

But they aren’t ‘run of the mill’ public servants, are they John. Their world isn’t one where everything is on paper or on the screen in front of them. They can’t pass ‘difficult’ clients along to their supervisors or call a meeting when things get a bit sticky. There are no barriers between them and the worst aspects of our society.

I want our police to be passionate and courageous, and if that includes them speaking out when the rule book says that they should not, then so be it.

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6
grump 10:10 am
04 Aug 14
#

“I could say the exact same thing about ex-MLAs “expressing their opinion” on public forum sites…” and “the Minister is generally not recognisable to the broader populace and carries almost no credibility, probably having spent their entire working life in student politics, then as a staffer, back bencher and eventually a Minister…”

+1

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7
Spiral 10:17 am
04 Aug 14
#

Wow! Are you for real? I am so glad you are an ex-MLA.

I suppose you are against doctors saying things in the public arena too?

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8
Holden Caulfield 10:40 am
04 Aug 14
#

What we need is a 65yo+ ex-AFP officer to come here and offer his/her two bobs worth.

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9
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 11:00 am
04 Aug 14
#

There are plenty of mid-level and above public servants making policy decisions on behalf of the public, about a whole raft of issues.

The police get the short end of the stick in a lot of respects. They are the first to receive criticism when something bad happens, they deal with the dregs of society and see things that would break most hearts. They aren’t paid well, and have to put up with political masters making rules that can be difficult to enforce on the ground.

If we supported our police a bit more, and gave them some leeway to really deal with the very small number of genuine criminal scumbags in the ACT then the community would be a better place.

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10
Mysteryman 11:32 am
04 Aug 14
#

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

There are plenty of mid-level and above public servants making policy decisions on behalf of the public, about a whole raft of issues.

The police get the short end of the stick in a lot of respects. They are the first to receive criticism when something bad happens, they deal with the dregs of society and see things that would break most hearts. They aren’t paid well, and have to put up with political masters making rules that can be difficult to enforce on the ground.

If we supported our police a bit more, and gave them some leeway to really deal with the very small number of genuine criminal scumbags in the ACT then the community would be a better place.

I agree with this completely. I don’t envy their job. Not in the slightest.

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11
HenryBG 11:46 am
04 Aug 14
#

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

The police get the short end of the stick in a lot of respects. They are the first to receive criticism when something bad happens, they deal with the dregs of society and see things that would break most hearts. They aren’t paid well, and have to put up with political masters making rules that can be difficult to enforce on the ground.

If we supported our police a bit more, and gave them some leeway to really deal with the very small number of genuine criminal scumbags in the ACT then the community would be a better place.

Hear hear.
Additionally to be forced to prioritise the supposed “rights” of criminal recidivist scumbags above the genuine rights of the community at large, the police also have to cope with the frustration of being required to enforce laws which are clearly ineffectual and counter-productive, eg, the prohibition on Cannabis.

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12
John Hargreaves Ex M 1:31 pm
04 Aug 14
#

magiccar9 said :

I could say the exact same thing about ex-MLAs “expressing their opinion” on public forum sites…

So you’re saying that people who have retired from politics are not permitted the same rights as you are. As a citizen and not an elected representative, I have the same rights as you, but I am not part of the doctrine separation of powers. Police are part of the Executive and thus are part of a process. they are not the process itself and are not independent of it.

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13
Smithers 2:00 pm
04 Aug 14
#

Isn’t every person allowed an opinion? Of minor consequence John. They are going to have them anyway. Why would that worry any person? Corbell stated just the other day that ‘Crime isn’t a problem for canberra”. There for what any police member thinks matters none as it only becomes a problem when their opinions are relevant to solving crime. Ask Eastman.

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14
bigM 3:42 pm
04 Aug 14
#

Ok, so we will all wait with anticipation for simon corbell and our magistrates and judges to come out and make daily public media releases about issues within our community………because the Police are just there to do what we the public want them to do, cant have them expressing an opinion given they experience it everyday. If we let the courts release the media releases, we’ll find out about what occurred a year or so ago because they are so far behind.

Given that it has annoyed you for so long, I assume you raised this issue with the minister whilst you were a member of the assembly??????

I cant wait for Mr Corbell to lecture me on fire safety and give a good demonstration of the stop, drop and roll

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15
John Hargreaves Ex M 4:23 pm
04 Aug 14
#

bigM said :

Ok, so we will all wait with anticipation for simon corbell and our magistrates and judges to come out and make daily public media releases about issues within our community………because the Police are just there to do what we the public want them to do, cant have them expressing an opinion given they experience it everyday. If we let the courts release the media releases, we’ll find out about what occurred a year or so ago because they are so far behind.

Given that it has annoyed you for so long, I assume you raised this issue with the minister whilst you were a member of the assembly??????

I cant wait for Mr Corbell to lecture me on fire safety and give a good demonstration of the stop, drop and roll

I had this view and expressed it when I was the Minister for Police but I still say that the police, who do a brilliant job, ought not try to drive community attitudinal change unilaterally.

AND… Mr Corbell is well qualified to advise on fire safety. He was for many years a volunteer fire fighter.

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