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Pontificating Police

By 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.

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36 Responses to Pontificating Police
#1
bd848:42 am, 04 Aug 14

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

#2
neanderthalsis8:59 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…

#3
bundah9:08 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

#4
magiccar99:23 am, 04 Aug 14

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

#5
justin heywood9:52 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.

#6
grump10:10 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

#7
Spiral10:17 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?

#8
Holden Caulfield10:40 am, 04 Aug 14

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

#9
VYBerlinaV8_is_back11:00 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.

#10
Mysteryman11:32 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.

#11
HenryBG11:46 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.

#12
John Hargreaves Ex M1:31 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.

#13
Smithers2:00 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.

#14
bigM3:42 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

#15
John Hargreaves Ex M4:23 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.

#16
astrojax4:51 pm, 04 Aug 14

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.

so you’re concerned that the communications arm of the law’s long arm is propagating a message to the community to remind them to act in accordance with the laws, which is what right minded citizens should anyway do? i find this gripe bizarre…

if you were complaining about police asserting such and such a law was well / badly drafted or should / shouldn’t be enforced, then i’d perhaps agree with you. you kind of hid their gripe about alleged offenders being granted bail, so not sure if that was part of your beef.

suggest you sit back with a bonox and look to those damn kids cavorting on your lawns again…

#17
tuco5:59 pm, 04 Aug 14

So, no clouds to shake your fist at today?

#18
HiddenDragon6:15 pm, 04 Aug 14

It might be more to do with the medium, than the message (which is usually aimed at boofheads) – there must be camera-friendly cops, with an appealing “bedside manner”, who could sell the message in a style which has wider appeal.

#19
magiccar97:34 pm, 04 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

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.

Where did I say anything like that John?

What I’m saying is that the police we see on TV and hear on the radio, are qualified to represent the police force in media releases. All you are now (by your own description) is an ex-MLA who seems to abuse this public forum to over-express his opinion in pointless topics.

To summarise, you’re an ex-MLA who takes to public forums to complain whereas police media representatives are approved to speak and discuss their work in the hope that the community can learn/act and have a positive influence in general.

#20
chewy148:01 pm, 04 Aug 14

Do you feel the same when Martin Parkinson talks about fiscal responsibility at Treasury or Mark Binskin talks about issues with Defence?

#21
house_husband7:38 am, 05 Aug 14

“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”

Here is the most recent Ministerial Direction issued to the AFP:

http://www.police.act.gov.au/~/media/act/pdf/2014-15%20Ministerial%20Direction.ashx

Seeing as it specifically mentions the two issues in your example as areas for special focus, are they not just conducting a media and public relations campaign that is aligned to current government policy and expectations? It isn’t like they are saying “We don’t think there is a problem with violence in Civic and the Minister is wrong” or “We really think illicit drugs aren’t that bad so we won’t enforce the law”.

As the frontline to counter anti-social and illegal behaviour I believe they have every right to express opinions and explain clearly what activities they are concerned about and what their members will do.

#22
John Hargreaves Ex M5:42 pm, 07 Aug 14

When I was a serving officer of the public service, I was told that I could comment publicly on any subject other than that of the department in which I was serving. The validity of this position is that pronouncements of policy on a given subject is the province of the Minister or to a delegate of said minister.

Police in the ACT are in fact contractors to the Territory. the AFP has a contract with the ACT Govt to provide policing services. This is enshrined in the Self Govt Act and the AFP Act (Commonwealth).

But a contract it is and thus the officers are employees of a contractor. How would you feel if an employee of a road building contractor made public statements criticising the general public?

Further, The police do a great job; it is a tough job; but they should keep opinions on issues to the private arena unless expressly asked to do so by the Minister or delegate.

#23
John Hargreaves Ex M5:47 pm, 07 Aug 14

magiccar9 said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

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.

Where did I say anything like that John?

What I’m saying is that the police we see on TV and hear on the radio, are qualified to represent the police force in media releases. All you are now (by your own description) is an ex-MLA who seems to abuse this public forum to over-express his opinion in pointless topics.

To summarise, you’re an ex-MLA who takes to public forums to complain whereas police media representatives are approved to speak and discuss their work in the hope that the community can learn/act and have a positive influence in general.

I must take issue with your view that police media are entitled to give “opinion”. They are not. They are obliged to give facts not views. And I do not criticise the media unit which is acting at the behest of the Minister or delegate. You often see a senior officer saying that the police are “sick of seeing X or Y” and “They are not going tolerate X and Y”. This is not their job to take the position of judgment.

BTW, ex MLAs are entitled to a view on anything they wish and your inference that they should refrain from expressing a view is a denial of the right to freedom of speech, something rampant in totalitarian societies.

#24
John Hargreaves Ex M5:48 pm, 07 Aug 14

bd84 said :

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

Your post is shallow and unbecoming. Your inference that I am a minister is also way out of date.

#25
John Hargreaves Ex M5:49 pm, 07 Aug 14

Spiral said :

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?

Doctors on the public payroll, unless directed or requested to do so by higher authority should not voice their views publicly.

#26
bigfeet7:37 pm, 07 Aug 14

This post is just way out-there and screams “Look at me I’m still relevant… someone look at me… I’m doing something… LOOK AT ME”

I think it’s time for a hobby John: Quilting, Home-brewing, cross-dressing, model trains, bee-keeping, cross-dressing bees … the possibilities are endless.

#27
dungfungus7:58 am, 08 Aug 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

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.

A volunteer fire fighter like Tony Abbott has been for many years and still is. I haven’t heard Abbott advise on fire safety though.

#28
HenryBG9:31 am, 08 Aug 14

bigfeet said :

This post is just way out-there and screams “Look at me I’m still relevant… someone look at me… I’m doing something… LOOK AT ME”

I think it’s time for a hobby John: Quilting, Home-brewing, cross-dressing, model trains, bee-keeping, cross-dressing bees … the possibilities are endless.

I don’t understand why ad hominem nonsense such as this is accepted on this website.

Hargreaves has his opinions. Unlike some, he is happy to share those opinions. We can agree or disagree with those opinions, and perhaps even provide cogent argument and quote facts to support our position.
On the other hand, we can indulge in personal attacks, thus admitting our intellectual insufficiency.

#29
John Hargreaves Ex M9:55 am, 08 Aug 14

HenryBG said :

bigfeet said :

This post is just way out-there and screams “Look at me I’m still relevant… someone look at me… I’m doing something… LOOK AT ME”

I think it’s time for a hobby John: Quilting, Home-brewing, cross-dressing, model trains, bee-keeping, cross-dressing bees … the possibilities are endless.

I don’t understand why ad hominem nonsense such as this is accepted on this website.

Hargreaves has his opinions. Unlike some, he is happy to share those opinions. We can agree or disagree with those opinions, and perhaps even provide cogent argument and quote facts to support our position.
On the other hand, we can indulge in personal attacks, thus admitting our intellectual insufficiency.

Yeah but Bigfeet still read the posts and is adopting a superior position to which he/she is not entitled.

People are entitled to their opinions and to express them (thanks that 18C is dead) with courtesy, even ex pollies.

#30
John Hargreaves Ex M9:56 am, 08 Aug 14

Aren’t Labor haters such good copy. God gave them to me for my entertainment. Abuse and nastiness are no substitute for clever repartee.

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