What is the Prevalence Rate of incidents of Excessive Use of Force and Violence by Police Officers in Australia

The importance of the role played by law enforcers in this country can never be overemphasized. Police officers have for a long tine remained very committed to their work and have been the only major source of protection for many people and their property. Owing to the very nature of the work of police officers, it is important that they work closely with the people whom they serve. Without needing to preempt anything, this has not been the case in certain instances when police officers have had to use too much force to deal with civilians (Coady  James, 2000). While it is acceptable that the use of excessive force by police officers is sometimes provoked by civilians determined to break the law, many cases have been reported where there has been use of too much force and even violence on civilians who posed no threat to the police officers.

Criminal justice is paramount and it is the duty of the law enforcement agencies and the civilians to work towards ensuring that it is upheld at all times (Baker, 2009). This will not be possible if the very people who are required to maintain law and order engage in breaking it instead. In order, therefore, for law and order to be maintained and therefore criminal justice upheld, police officers must use their powers well and within the provisions of the law. An understanding of the prevalence rate of violent handling of suspects andor their treatment with too much force will go a long way in improving criminal justice practices in the country.

Police Brutality and the Law
The Australian law provides for police officers to act in a manner that does not in any way infringe on the rights of the citizens who they arrest or suspect to be law offenders. As such, although there are instances when the police officers can be allowed to use more force than normal, it is always the suspects legal and constitutional right to be treated as innocent unless one is proved guilty. Therefore, using too much force contradicts this very provision because an innocent Australian ought not to be forcibly handled. Yet such instances have continued to be reported and even witnessed all over the country. According to Baker (2009), there are incidences when the police officers themselves have accepted and confirmed that they do use more force than it is necessary because of different reasons. They just seem to agree with the public assertion that the police are sometimes the greatest law offenders that there can ever be (Baker, 2009).

Writing in the article Police confirmation of use of force in Australia To be or not to be carried in the Journal of Crime, Law and Social Change,  Baker uses a variety of informational sources to draw many conclusions regarding the prevalence of instances of use of excessive force by police officers (Baker, 2009). The most common trend is that where officers have been known or have admitted to having been forced to use force because they are under compulsion to perform and to produce quick results. Quoting from John Avery, a former police inspector who wrote Police Force or Service, baker insists that owing to the high frequency at which the police force is using force, it has become very difficult to uphold law and order in all the states of the country as fighting crime is largely dependent on the ability of the police or law enforcers to collaborate with the civilians (Baker, 2009). Such collaboration is pegged on the existence of cordial relations between the two sides but since the police is a literal force and not a service, the public has shied away from them. In fact, the police are more of enemies than are associates of the people. Baker makes the future state of being of criminal justice tenable by offering to point out the areas that are in need of addressing. Because of his widespread use of both secondary and primary sources of data including interviews from police officers themselves, his conclusion that most officers act on impulse means that the prevalence rate of the incidents is high enough (Baker, 2009).

In yet another pointer to the high prevalence rate of police brutal incidences, Coady  James (2000) are of the view that the pretext that police officers have tended to use often to justify their extra-judicial acts has been that there has been a failure by suspects to comply with them. In a collection of articles on the issue published in the book Violence and police culture, it emerges that Australian police are increasingly becoming less friendly and this is jeopardizing not only the fight against crime in the country but also the efforts to improve criminal justice (Coady  James, 2000). According to the authors, there are suggestions for legal actions to be taken against such officers given the increased rate at which they are misusing their powers. Citing statutory and court proceedings of the past, they recommend tough actions against officers found to be breaking the law by meting violence on suspects (Coady  James, 2000). That legal institutions are generally weak has made the fight against the brutality of police more difficult. Sometimes, the force has been required to investigate claims of brutality against its own officers. This is a very ineffective way of handling the matter (Coady  James, 2000).

The use of violence by police officers has become a very common trend in Australia, a fact that is being attributed to a number of factors such as laxity in disciplinary measures against the officers found guilty, and pressure to produce quick results and please commanding officers or seniors. That there is a very high incidence of such cases is evidenced by the constant commentary on the subject and the great interest that the subject has generated. Because the fight against crime cannot succeed without there being cooperation between police officers and citizens, it is critical that such cases of use of violence when apprehending suspects or too much force to break up demonstrations and arrest suspects are stopped. This will further help improve criminal justice in the country.


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