18 January 2006

Crime and (no) Punishment

| paperboy
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On a couple of occasions now, I’ve heard ACT Policing use a comparison with television crime shows to, at least in part, defend themselves against criticism over the time they’re taking to solve some local crimes.

“Just because the good guys at CSI and Law and Order can solve their cases in an hour, minus advertisements, don’t pressure us to do a rushed job and botch it,” appears to be the message.

But many of the problems being faced by the AFP today are of their own making.

About ten or fifteen years ago, the AFP did away with so-called specialist policing. No longer would the ACT have a team of officers who could dedicate their lives, if that was their wish, to working in a specialist area such as homicide, car theft, fraud etc etc.

Instead it was decided that officers could be assigned to a specialist area for a maximum of only five years.

It was a move aimed at preventing corruption. But the cost, all these years later appears to be mounting, in terms of unsolved crimes, and an apparent inability to assemble enough evidence to win a conviction.

I’m referring here, in particular, to the major crimes like murder, rather than the petty, but nuisance value crimes of ram raids and small time hold-ups where the (often) drug affected culprits leave behind a trail of clues.

The old system may have had some disadvantages, but few would argue that a unit headed by a detective or officer with years of experience in the field had both the contacts and the knowledge that today’s officers, with a maximum of 60 months experience, can’t hope to match.

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Ok kiddies sit around Bonfire and we can all learn about how to enforce the law of the land – careful for the spears and gallows. Say nothing even if you are innocent, don’t help those scary Police who are helping the public by establishing the facts surrounding an incident. Hell, you pay their taxes, say you’ll talk to them, demand a coffee then clam up before demanding a lift home and telling them what you think of them – they can’t be offended don’t you know!

Maybe I can help you a little here with your idea – to start with we have to be PC – Police Service please (and in lower case as to avoid scaring the kiddies). A “Force” sounds like cargo pant wearing thugs chasing down people who do the wrong thing and other stuff you see in the movies like helping people. A “Service” makes it look nicer to all and much less scary to junkie filth and pissy drivers.

Ah, nuts, I’m all over the place trying to think up sensible arguments to make myself look intelligent and you less so – my head hurts. Bonfire you are wrong. We have a professional and proud history of Policing in the ACT who I’m guessing perform under more political scrutiny that in other States/Territories – it isn’t broken don’t try to fit it.

Bonfire, you’ve got your head up your arse. Who do you think would make up the ACT Police force if the AFP was not contracted to do it anymore? The same people who are doing it now, just with a different name.
Or. get rid of everyone and start from scratch, I am sure the experience is out there on the streets to establish an entirely new Police force.

I think there’s been a trend away from ‘specialist’ policing because it often encouraged specialist corruption. Drug squads being the prime example.

For smaller forces, the challenge of both training and retaining specialist police as well as keeping them occupied can be problematic. Far easier to change policy and do a bit of creative rotation!

But then, I’m probably talking through my arse.

doesnt matter, most crimes are solved by the offenders big mouth. its only a secret if you tell no one.

if you get picked up by plod my advice is say nothing, even if you are innocent.

you arent answering questions to help yourself out and clear things up. the only reason police ask you questions is to build a case.

get legal representation before talking.

of course this can also go against you. in britain where d’s prepare prosecution cases, one london d told me that in court a person volunteered something while being questioned in the witness box by the defense counsel.

he hadnt heard this nugget of volunteered info before and realised straight away they had the wrong guy. of course the rest of the brief, plus the fact he was ‘known to police’ for years saw him do time.

the d doesnt feel too bad, this professional crook had plenty of other crimes he hadnt paid for in his past.

i think act need to get rid of afp altogether and develop their own police force.

maybe its harder these days because the criminals are watching CSI and the like and learning what not to do and how to cover stuff up?

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