Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

johnboy 10 December 2008 23

Since Plato’s day (~400BC) the regulation of police forces has been on the public record as a vexed issue. It was probably a problem long before that.

The Canberra Times reports that more Australian Federal Police were caught being bad in the last reporting period (2007/8) than the one before that. 295 up from 92.

This is from a slightly smaller number of complaints.

It could be they’ve gotten better at exposing their own misconduct, or it could be there is more misconduct.


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23 Responses to Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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dragonflygal dragonflygal 8:47 pm 10 Dec 08

I’ve dealt with the AFP twice this month, due to a car accident in which I was at fault. Firstly they came to the Emergency department to see me on the day of the accident, where they not only were very kind and more interested in my wellbeing than making me go through the details of the accident. They also went to the effort of bringing some of my personal effects which I’d left in my car.
Then when making my statement and doing the paperwork, the office I dealt with was very pleasant and helpful.
There happened to be an interesting character in the station at the time who wanted to make a complaint about the NSW police, and the officer dealing with her was very polite and courteous to her, despite it being obvious she had a drug problem and wasn’t the most eloquent of people…
There are bad eggs in every industry, and I’m sure that being a police officer and dealing with the people they do, day in and day out, would lead to many frustrations. There are absolutely people in the police force who are there for the wrong reason or have become jaded or lack ethics – but tarring the whole lot with the same brush is fairly unfair.
It’s a shame policing has become more about filling in paperwork than it is about actual on the beat policing…

Special G Special G 7:42 pm 10 Dec 08

Do all the complaints about the watch house staff classify as 3 complaints each time or just one against 3 officers – then when they are substantiated is it one or three for the stats? Bear in mind a substantiated complaint may well be “The officer told me to F%#K OFF” as well as major misconduct as mentioned in the article.

bigred bigred 5:18 pm 10 Dec 08

I always try to judge local plod on recent experience because there have been many changes over time. Needed to ring them to deal with an emergency. Got through. Cops came. Situation dealt with quickly. Plod OK with me this month.

Hdopler Hdopler 3:01 pm 10 Dec 08

Nah, good solid data on the police force is hard to come by, as is getting a genuine response to a complaint or even a criminal incident (at least in my recent experience). Even the ombudsman has had issues with the AFP. Go figure.

DJ said :

Beginning to get air time? Please, it always has been available except the knockers and anti-police folk out there always whinge that it isn’t because it is easier to complain than do a little searching for public information.

Tooks Tooks 2:57 pm 10 Dec 08

Deadmandrinking said :

How many officers are in the AFP?

I think about 6000 members (from memory).

Tooks Tooks 2:56 pm 10 Dec 08

^^ Agreed.

farq farq 2:43 pm 10 Dec 08

caf said :

We all well know that the cops, being in close contact with the dregs of society, are likely to attract a number of made-up complaints.

We also well know that the temptation to dish out a bit of rough justice is sometimes too much for some, and we also well know that not all legitimate complaints can be proved.

A fair summary.

caf caf 2:40 pm 10 Dec 08

We all well know that the cops, being in close contact with the dregs of society, are likely to attract a number of made-up complaints.

We also well know that the temptation to dish out a bit of rough justice is sometimes too much for some, and we also well know that not all legitimate complaints can be proved.

DJ DJ 1:48 pm 10 Dec 08

farq said :

jakez said :

If people make 10000 complaints and only 100 are substantiated, that doesn’t diminish the importance of the 100.

And what percentage of the 10000 complaints are valid, but can not be proved? Too many.

Based on what? Nothing.

ant ant 1:44 pm 10 Dec 08

DJ said

DJ said :

A favorite topic from JB…

In fact, posting anything about the AFP here is clearly trolling the police and therefore JB should be instantly put into Moderation.

And if he happens to suffer a few bumps there, well, there’s a complaints process.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 1:33 pm 10 Dec 08

How many officers are in the AFP?

I don’t think there’s enough for a number of confirmed complaints this high to be attributed to just a few bad eggs…

jakez jakez 1:24 pm 10 Dec 08

DJ said :

No, not in the slightest and I would expect every complaint to be taken seriously, however, wouldn’t you question the reason for so many complaints that are not found to have any basis or merit?

…I dunno, perhaps the cops are natural targets for frivolous complaints. Perhaps some are real issues that have been swept under the rug. Perhaps it’s a combination of those two and possibly some other reasons.

farq farq 1:24 pm 10 Dec 08

jakez said :

If people make 10000 complaints and only 100 are substantiated, that doesn’t diminish the importance of the 100.

And what percentage of the 10000 complaints are valid, but can not be proved? Too many.

DJ DJ 1:08 pm 10 Dec 08

Your stats are no doubt correct however I was recalling your passionate stand regarding this subject (quality v quantity)… as for the Canberra Crimes, well, who knows what theme they dance to from day to day?

johnboy johnboy 1:05 pm 10 Dec 08

DJ said :

A favorite topic from JB… I doubt that the mountain of complaints that were found to be unsubstantiated will be focused on at all – or why so many complaints were made in the first place. The other thing that will be overlooked is the comparison between other Police forces… or the fact the figures relate to the whole country and not just Police in Canberra.

15,000 odd articles and no more than 100 on this.

And you do know the Canberra Times doesn’t dance to my supposed “cop-hating” tune?

DJ DJ 1:02 pm 10 Dec 08

Beginning to get air time? Please, it always has been available except the knockers and anti-police folk out there always whinge that it isn’t because it is easier to complain than do a little searching for public information.

Hdopler Hdopler 12:59 pm 10 Dec 08

at least the issue is beginning to get so air-time so to speak… maybe there is hope for the ‘force’ after-all…

DJ DJ 12:41 pm 10 Dec 08

No, not in the slightest and I would expect every complaint to be taken seriously, however, wouldn’t you question the reason for so many complaints that are not found to have any basis or merit?

jakez jakez 12:35 pm 10 Dec 08

If people make 10000 complaints and only 100 are substantiated, that doesn’t diminish the importance of the 100.

DJ DJ 12:04 pm 10 Dec 08

A favorite topic from JB… I doubt that the mountain of complaints that were found to be unsubstantiated will be focused on at all – or why so many complaints were made in the first place. The other thing that will be overlooked is the comparison between other Police forces… or the fact the figures relate to the whole country and not just Police in Canberra.

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