JSB284 Lecture Week Nine Notes
Policing Ethics and Oversight Bodies
What are ‘ethics’?
The absence of ethics – police corruption.
Inquiries into police corruption in Australia.
Ethical dilemmas in policing.
Ethics is concerned with what is ‘right’, ‘fair’, ‘just’ or ‘good’ (as opposed to what is just the easiest).
Ethics are part of every day life:
When you decide not to steal from your employer.
When you decide to follow the law.
When you decide to take credit for another employee’s work.
Police are not a special breed, though they have more power than the average citizen.
Opportunities to exploit that power and engage in unethical behaviour for person gain.
Examples of this occur across Australia and internationally.
The Absence of Ethics: Cases of Police Unethical Behaviour
Queensland Police Service
‘The Joke’ – (Pre-Fitzgerald Inquiry, 1987 – 1989)
New South Wales Police Force
‘The Barbecue Set’ (Pre-Wood Royal Commission, 1994 – 1997)
Western Australia Police
Police involved in burglaries, assaults, procedural abuses (including fabrication of evidence), and
dealing in narcotics (Pre-Kennedy Commission 2002 – 2004)
The Absence of Ethics: Major Inquiries into Police Corruption
New South Wales
Moffitt Royal Commission
1973 – 1974
Investigated organised crime in NSW clubs, but also uncovered police/government involvement in
organised crime syndicates.
Wood Royal Commission of Inquiry
1994 – 1997
Widespread and entrenched corruption
Hundreds of counts of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and fabrication of evidence.
Kennedy Commission of Inquiry
2002 – 2004
Police involvement in committing crimes and covering them up/
Police involvement in stealing, bribery, assaults, perjury, drug dealing and improper disclosure of
confidential information. Queensland
Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry
1987 – 1989
As a result of a news report and subsequent 4 Corners Story entitled ‘The Moonlight State’.
Entrenched and widespread corruption.
Not just a few ‘rotten apples’.
Criminal networks involving senior police officers.
Payment for protection (SP Bookmakers, illegal gambling venues and prostitution).
Commission of Inquiry into Prostitution
1974 – 1978
Adverse findings against 55 Victorian police officers.
Conspiracy, perjury, assault, unlawful arrest, corruptly receiving money, fabricating evidence.
Focused on the investigation of complaints by Victorian Police.
Recommended changes to the process of investigating complaints.
The Absence of Ethics: Outcomes of Various Commission of Inquiry
Monitoring and oversight bodies:
Queensland – Crime and Misconduct Commission
Western Australia – Corruption and Crime Commission
New South Wales – Police Integrity Commission & Independent Commission Against Corruption
Victoria – Office of Police Integrity
Tasmania – Ombudsman
South Australia – Police Complaints Authority
Northern Territory – Ombudsman
Commonwealth – Ombudsman & Commonwealth Law Enforcement