The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct is out, and it contains no surprises. The commission's terms of reference meant that it could not make rulings on specific cases, and so it was restricted into drawing conclusions of a general nature about police policies and procedures. but even with its hands tied in this manner, it is still pretty damning. The report finds that the police failed to deal adequately with complaints of sexual misconduct by officers over a number of years. Part of this is due to inadequete procedures (which have improved significantly over the years, but there are still problems), but a significant cause has been a toxic inernal culture within the police, with stereotyped views of complainants, scepticism about allegations against police, other officers turning a blind eye to serious criminal offending, and a "blue wall of silence" in the face of investigations. Again, this has improved over time, but there's also some evidence that this culture is still extant, particularly in the official police submission on complaints: that policing by its nature is
likely to give rise to larger numbers of complaints, and in particular larger numbers of meritless complaints.
So, even the modern police has a default attitude that complaints just make it up to cause them trouble.
There's more there: the police have no formal code of conduct, no formal professional standards barring sexual exploitation of their trusted public position, and an outdated and clunky internal disciplinary mechanism. That will all be changed, but the most significant change we are likely to see as a result of this inquiry is an improved Police Complaints Authority able to properly supervise police rather than merely rubberstamp their abuses. And that I think will be well worth it.
Do you want more? Visit Idiot Savant's No Right Turn blog here.
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