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Controlled operations to go

By johnboy - 7 August 2008 71

One of the livelier debates on this site was sparked by the Crimes (Controlled Operations) Bill 2008.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, has now announced that it’s passed into law.

Deb Foskey was up in arms about this on Tuesday saying:

    “Unlike other jurisdictions which are able to exercise close oversight and control of their police forces, the ACT has no such power. ACT policing only has to submit a limited report once a year to the Attorney General” Dr Foskey said today.

    “NSW has the Independent Commission against Corruption. Other jurisdictions have similar bodies. We rely strongly on the AFP to oversight ACT Policing. I agree with the AFP Association that the Haneef case has undermined the public’s faith in the independence of the AFP. The ACT needs its own anti-corruption body.”

Simon says don’t you worry about that:

    Dr Foskey also alleged that ACT Policing lacks independent oversight, which is another complete furphy. I would point Dr Foskey to:

    — The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) – the Commonwealth body empowered to prevent, detect and investigate corruption in the Australian Federal Police, including ACT Policing, and the Australian Crime Commission; and,
    — The Commonwealth Ombudsman and Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner

I’d ask Simon when was the last time any of those bodies held public hearings, conducted wiretaps, or compelled witnesses in relation to ACT policing matters?

ACT Policing

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71 Responses to
Controlled operations to go
captainwhorebags 8:58 am 08 Aug 08

I respect the work of the police forces in what is a difficult, dirty and usually thankless job. I’m all for police being given the powers necessary to maintain law and order. I think that the ACT Police do a very good job with limited resources, and as mentioned above, the recent increase in visibility is a positive step.

However, telling the general public “you don’t need to know” when police are asked about their methodology is, to borrow Ari’s comment, bullsh*t. Any law enforcement agency, be it state or federal, should be subject to high scrutiny to ensure that their powers are being used appropriately. Of course there are matters of operational security, particularly around intelligence details, but otherwise the operations of the policing agencies should be open for public scrutiny. The populace/society gives police special powers over the general public and as such we need to be assured that those powers are not being misused.

DJ 2:23 am 08 Aug 08

JB…. obviously we have clashed on this subject before so without bringing up my thoughts regarding the past (cause it will get me moderated):

*he sighs as once again he is dragged unwillingly into a debate with the corrupt and the ill-considered*

Are you suggesting that because somebody doesn’t agree with your position regarding this subject they are corrupt? Surely not!

Here goes:

1) No comment – this caused moderation between us!

2) Very long bow there JB. Wouldn’t a rational thinker go with the idea that since the suggestion in the media of corruption in the AFP (including the ACT) is so very low that the only remaining logical conclusion is that it must be a small (albeit very serious) problem?

3) An interesting insight there JB. Do you have any proof that allegations of corruption are NOT investigated?

4) Cost v Need here JB. There isn’t a need (see my thoughts re: point 2)

5) What questions haven’t the Canberra Crimes (and that fool editor) and many on this site asked? I believe that we should respect those you refer to (and the families left behind) and leave it at that. What is there to gain?

How do you know there are “a very high number of very good officers on “stress leave””. You mention your experience… what is a very high number?

6) I am sure that the numerous levels of oversight and scrutiny will be pointed out to you and the well worn reply could also refer to my thoughts relating to point 2. Also, isn’t the ombudsman independent enough for you?

You may not be anti-police however you seem to have a deep seeded belief that there is corruption just under the skin and a slight scratch will uncover it all.

I would suggest that if you question Policing methodology the correct response should always be “you don’t need to know”. It doesn’t even come out in Courts in some cases…

johnboy 12:51 am 08 Aug 08

*he sighs as once again he is dragged unwillingly into a debate with the corrupt and the ill-considered*

1. OK firstly this site has first hand experience of the police conducting personal civil investigations, with the threat of the retribution of the full force of the law, on behalf of local politicians.

I am told the police do not consider this to be corrupt but I offer that the public and interstate corruption investigators hold a contrary view.

2. Several AFP officers, when moving to other jurisdictions and services have been found to be corrupt. This does not mean that all are corrupt. It does, however, suggest to a rational thinker that all AFP officers are demonstrably not above corruption, no human is.

3. That corruption thrives in environments where it is not investigated is a concept so universal as to be axiomatic

4. To suggest that a dedicated solely responsible anti-corruption authority is too expensive is to ignore both the costs of corruption and the possibilities of outsourcing to another jurisdiction’s corruption fighting body.

5. A force with two very senior officers dead before their time in the space of living memory has some questions to answer, to say nothing of the, in my experience, very high number of very good officers on “stress leave”.

6. I’ll just make a, somewhat forlorn, plea for the very large number of fine AFP officers to think through these points and consider that maybe, just maybe, a single and efficient anti-corruption body might actually make their lives easier rather than the current arrangements.

I’m not anti-police. I’m extremely pro quality policing and I want to help wherever possible.

I just have questions, and “you don’t need to know” doesn’t cut it for me.

el 11:39 pm 07 Aug 08

Mark Standen and the NSW Crime Commission anyone?

And the relevance of this comment was….what exactly?

The NSWCC were the ones that brought Mark Standen DOWN. Yes, one of their own.

MRB 10:33 pm 07 Aug 08

Ari, most people give a reason for their views. If you write one word ‘opinions’, you’re hardly going to convince/convert anyone to your way of thinking. If you have an opinion, tell us what it is AND the reasons. If you have evidence of what you describe as bullsh*t, tell us here or report it to the relevant authority.

DJ 10:33 pm 07 Aug 08

Ari, not specifically but you do portray an individual who had an ignorant knee jerk reaction. I note you dodn’t respond any of the questions asked of you… base your response on something and you might have a chanve of being taken seriously regarding this subject.

Boomcat – a stab in the dark? There have been a number of Police around Australia in ALL jurisdictions who have made decisions to overstep the line in the past few years. When you look at the circumstances of the basis of the Commissions (as thecman did quite well) you can can’t compare them to the AFP.

JB -“I’d ask Simon when was the last time any of those bodies held public hearings, conducted wiretaps, or compelled witnesses in relation to ACT policing matters?”

Why? Has something happened that you know and we don’t?

Ari 10:03 pm 07 Aug 08

It seems this whole issue is actually about me, is it?

boomacat 10:03 pm 07 Aug 08

Mark Standen and the NSW Crime Commission anyone?

Headbonius 9:36 pm 07 Aug 08

Ari, sorry dude, I forgot to add that you remind me very much of a male fowl.

bigred 9:35 pm 07 Aug 08

I used to be underwhelmed by local plods ability and motivation, but never felt there was large scale corruption like existed in NSW. Lately they seem to have improved a fair bit in terms of presence (new head honcho? greater numbers?) so maybe its turning around.

Headbonius 9:34 pm 07 Aug 08

Ari, very strong sentiment to express. On what basis do you hold that view? Are you an expert in Policing matters. Please enlighten us as to your level of knowledge or more to the point are you an armchair expert like Deb?

Controlled Operations are a necessary legislative power for Police to do their job properly. I doubt whether you even have any comprehension about what a controlled operation is or what it is designed to do. At the end of the day Police actions are subject to intense scrutiny by the Courts, internal mechanisms, external mechanisms such as ACLEI etc etc etc.

If you are so dead set against Police having this power please explain why. I would be most interested in your response.

thecman 9:27 pm 07 Aug 08

Yep – good reply Ari. Clearly you are a deep thinker.

Ari 9:08 pm 07 Aug 08

That said it is pretty clear that the layers of oversight and review currently in place are ample for the task.

Bullsh*t.

thecman 8:24 pm 07 Aug 08

JB – I would ask:

Where is the evidence of systemic corruption within ACT Policing?

Where is the evidence that ACT Policing members who break the law or behave corruptly are not identified and dealt with appropriately?

Is the ACT Community prepared to spend several hundred thousand dollars a year to maintain a Police watchdog like the NSW PIC or the Victoria OPI? If yes, what community programs should be sacrificed to provide the funding?

What does Deb Foskey know about Policing matters? How many questions has she asked about Policing matters in the Assembly in the last 12 months?

Let me answer that one for you – not very much and less then 10. Therefore she must be an expert – apparently.

In addition to the review and oversight mechanisms detailed by Mr Corbell you can also include AFP PRS, the ACT Magistrates Court,the ACT Supreme Court and local and National media.

Looking back to identify the precipitating factors that led to the Fitzgerald (QLD) and Wood (NSW) Royal Commissions into Police corruption it is quickly apparent that:

1. failed prosecutions, accompanied by strong Judicial criticism of Police conduct; and

2. frequent and detailed media reports of improper / corrupt / suspicious Police behaviour

were invariably the catalysts for Governments to act to address the problem. Have we had any of this in the ACT?

Nobody would claim that ACT Policing is perfect and constant vigilance is required – if for no other reason then that our Police will reflect the society from which they are drawn and that society is absolutely flawed. That said it is pretty clear that the layers of oversight and review currently in place are ample for the task.

Ari 7:43 pm 07 Aug 08

This is a system ripe for corruption.

At least there will be lots to talk about when it goes wrong.

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