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Police not answerable to the public?

By johnboy - 23 April 2007 59

The AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty, was on ABC radio this morning with Andrea Close and despite speaking in the elliptical fashion for which police are famed he clearly laid the blame for the death of the Chief Police Officer Audrey Fagan at the door of both Jack Waterford and Geoff Pryor.

Consistent with the tight spin control which, if he is to be believed, got us here, he’s demanding there be a “week of respect” in which the media knuckle down and report only that which he would like us to report.

It seems odd that he could be so certain of what is to blame at this time. It certainly helps divert attention from his own organisation which would appear to have failed miserably in either the promotion of CPO Fagan to a position she couldn’t handle, or in the support and resources it gave her to meet the demands placed on her.

Of greater ongoing significance Commissioner Keelty asserted that the Chief Police Officer was answerable only to the Minister for Police and that the public and media had no business in questioning her policies. If this is so then it needs to be changed, the Minister for Police is but one member of a Government elected once every four years on a vast array of issues.

There will be a full police funeral on Friday at a venue to be confirmed.

If you missed it an MP3 of the interview is here.

UPDATED: The Canberra Times is counter punching:

“Anger over Fagan’s death is perhaps understandable in the circumstances not all of which are publicly known at this point but the criticism of this newspaper is unfair and ill-directed.”

What’s Your opinion?

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59 Responses to
Police not answerable to the public?
Deadmandrinking 4:35 pm 23 Apr 07

Mick Keelty is an idiot as far as I am concerned. Sure, he may know alot more about this tragedy than I ever will, but does it honestly need to be turned into a blatant blame game. Jack Waterford might have been poisonous when it came to the personal attack on Audrey, but he’s a newsman, and I swear that must be in the job description. I hardly think someone whom had led a career in a pretty emotionally testing field would end her life over something like that had there not been something else going on. I know for a fact that clinical depression can come on pretty fast in times of stress and when it’s at it’s peak, suicidal thoughts are unavoidable. I’m not saying that this was the case, but if it was something similar, then I hardly think you can blame Jack Waterford for something that was clearly a mental health issue. Plus, there could have been a number of other things going on that we didn’t know about and probably will never know about, for good reasons at that, since I think the preservation of that poor woman’s privacy is a well deserved last honor.
It’ll also be nice not to have the private tragedy of the Fagan family turned into a political weapon by either side.

DJ 1:56 pm 23 Apr 07

Unfortunately I have not seen those however I am willing to concede that when ANY element of the media gets their hands on information it doesn’t always get presented in a true light – everybody has seen Police doing something and something else gets reported…

In too may cases the CT and others have gone out of their way to print opinion and speculation regardless of the effect it may have on either the public, victims or Police.

johnboy 1:49 pm 23 Apr 07

We’ve highlighted dishonesty from the media unit on numerous occasions.

DJ 1:42 pm 23 Apr 07

JB, you state “dishonesty”…. unless you can give us any evidence then stop venting and start backing up what you claim to be true with facts.

Heavs, unfortunately the media have their own agenda – that fool Waterford is a good example. Somewhere else in RA I put it to the CT that perhaps they could provide stats on the information provided to them versus the stories they print – Jack didn’t get back.

On an interesting note, I called CT and asked them why their blog was not running or why the public was not able to question them in an open forum… nil response.

johnboy 1:35 pm 23 Apr 07

No problem with police aside from piss poor customer service received when trying to report the odd bit or piece over the year.

I just despise secrecy and dishonesty in important public institutions.

For that matter I’ve got quite a lot of friends who are cops.

I love how any contrary views are taken as proof that I’m some sort of cop-hating low life.

Keelty appears to me to have embarked on a campaign of misdirection and one has to wonder why that might be.

vandam 1:29 pm 23 Apr 07

‘Pen Pusher’ Maybe she is a pen pusher, but it took 28 or so years to get there. She’s done the hard work prior to being the top cop. And as for media, I’m sure that when the good work is published by Police, then more stories will be forthcoming. Its no wonder they don’t provide information, they always get slammed for it.

Johnboy what is your problem with cops? Have you had a ticket before? or was it that you just arn’t smart enough to make it in the force? I’d be interested to know!

Heavs 1:28 pm 23 Apr 07

DJ – you say that police do good work in the community but we never hear about it. I have no reason to doubt that. Maybe you should ask why the media don’t report on it? If you are blacking them out on most other stuff, why should they report other ‘feelgood’ stories? It’s a two way street.

johnboy 11:42 am 23 Apr 07

It’s not that common astrojax, Winchester was the highest ranking Australian policeman murdered.

astrojax 11:35 am 23 Apr 07

sadly, jb, probably several (not that i know of any off-hand) if the period was just a year or two, that’d be statistically significant.

as for seepi’s question on public approval surveys; if the top cop is actually only answerable to the toppest cop, then perhaps the surveys are above and beyond the call of duty – or is this an alien concept to you?

and i hardly imagine that the chief police officer’s job is one that simply ‘pushes a pen’. really, some people have no idea about anything but feel compelled to pontificate.

s’worst thing about the recent burgeoning of the ‘blog…

johnboy 11:28 am 23 Apr 07

Outside of Iraq have any other police forces in the world had two assistant commissioners die in the space of 18 years?

seepi 11:24 am 23 Apr 07

If he really believes that the police are only answerable to the minister, then why do the police do those ‘public approval’ surveys to see what we think of them.

The ACT police are asked to do more with less all the time, and services to the public are suffering. Presumably morale/stress are also poor within the force.

The police have drawn up a new ‘prioritising’ system in the last year or so, which seems to mean they don’t attend anything except violent attacks. They have also employed the world’s rudest woman to answer the general phone line, and her job is obviousley to get rid of people.

I hope whatever enquiry occurs results in somebody realising we need a few more police to actually get things achieved, and reduce stress in the existing force.

DJ 11:21 am 23 Apr 07

Police do very good work. You might not know about it because the media don’t report it. Simple really.

Why six pages on Sunday? A feeling of responsibility and guilt have a big part to play.

As for your comment “for a pen pushing copper” – why not. You all seemed willing to attack her because she was the boss and the focal point you all believe you could slander without any evidence that would stand up in Court and with no regard for her – but when tragedy strikes you want to sweep this under the mat and forget about it?

Waterford and others in the media are not accountable and should be.

If the media started to report the truth about the good work the APF does in both the ACT and Australia wide instead of the dribble Waterford and the like poison the community with you would be very surprised.

And to all those Police haters I hope something like this never happens to you.

And BTW, for those intent on stating that there is corruption within the AFP – start giving specific examples or shut the hell up.

Sammy 11:15 am 23 Apr 07

And the reason it only received one page on Saturday was the lack of time to prepare material. This story broke late on Friday evening.

Sammy 11:14 am 23 Apr 07

I’m not surprised it received so much attention in yesterdays CT. It’s a big issue, and worthy of the attention.

bonfire 10:11 am 23 Apr 07

what amzed me wa that it had front page on saturday ct – then SIX pages in sundays!?!

six pages – for a penpushing copper ?

im sad she has died – but i have to question this editorial decision.

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