Police Authority and Accountability in Australia

Topics: Police, Constable, Police officer Pages: 6 (2196 words) Published: November 18, 2012
Police officers in Australia, as well as worldwide, have been consistently accused of abusing their authority over the years. Police officers are known to protect and serve and to be the law enforcers of the land, but due to the reality that some human beings are concerned about self-satisfaction and lawlessness, police authority can often times be misconceived as abusive and aggressive. The powers of the police are consistently being scrutinized by the media, the community and even politicians, not to mention that police are, and not just in Australia but worldwide, held as one of the most accountable in society (Robertson, 1998). In order to essentially resolve these issues, the focus of the research should be related to police officers and specific issues such as use of force, police discretion, delegation of authority and the attempts that were made to control officers behaviours’ in Australia. WHAT IS POLICE AUTHORITY?

Firstly, authority can be defined as generally and basically, Persons having power or powers that other people will not naturally be allowed to have. Bringing this definition toward linking it to police authority, this is where the police officer has legal power of enforcing laws, and at all times should be given the respect, because they are the gate keepers of society, our “guardian angels” who will be watching over us twenty four seven. For example, we are to respect our parents; they care for us and provide for us our basic needs, I believe that police officers are somewhat the same because they provide us the citizens with safety and when there is a problem we can run to them at many times. Although police authority maybe a good thing, there are also the pit falls with it, in that, there is the abuse of police authority. Some officers due to “bad apples” meaning some officers are dirty cops, because of greed and selfishness, also some officers believe that they are above the law, because they enforce the law, but I believe in the “eye for an eye” theory: if you do the crime, you should do the time; no one is above the law.

Firstly accountability is It is a fundamental principle of a democratic society that the police should be held to account for their actions. Accountability includes both what the police do and how they perform. What an officer does or how they do what they do is extremely critical in the world of policing. The entire concept of police accountability revolves around these two criteria, which according to how efficient they are executed, may make or break an officer’s policing career. Agency-level accountability involves the performance of law enforcement agencies with respect to controlling crime and disorder and providing services to the public (National Institute of Justice, 1999). Individual-level accountability involves the conduct of police officers with respect to lawful, respectful, and equal treatment of citizens. (walker, 2007).I honestly believes that police accountability should be very vital within policing. Officers should be held accountable for their actions like any other individual.

In Australia the authority and powers of the police services are clearly defined and understood by officers, these powers are being tested by the courts and even the police themselves, the police know the limit of their authority and powers, but at sometimes politicians, legal professions and even the community are reluctant to greatly alter those powers. Hence the reason why officers may have to use force, law enforcement officers are authorized to use force in specific circumstances, officers in Australia are trained as any other police officer worldwide, but the matter of the issue is how much force to use, this is referred to as police discretion. Authority and abuse needs to be differentiated, because they are not at all supposed to be equal to the same thing. Generally, the way in which the...
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