Sunday, September 18, 2011

18 is the right age.

Who are Queensland Police? Someone has asked.

They are the police in the state of Queensland. Each state makes its own laws, and has its own police force. The police officers are "lifers" in their respective forces.

The police are a disciplined, uniformed service, that one is sworn into.
A serving police officer may be posted, or transferred to any police station in the state.

The state is 1,800 miles long, and 1,200 miles wide.

Most police officers join as 18 year olds, direct from high school. Recruiting shortfalls of recent years have led to a portion of the annual recruit intake being older. This is not always received well by those who have joined at 18.

Incredibly, at a public meeting the Station Commander (he joined the force aged 17) in a grave tone of voice told us all what dark times are ahead for the public, now that the force is accepting recruits aged in their 20's.

Most police officers are posted to my town for only a couple of years. This includes the station commander.

The police are answerable to nobody in the community, only to the police hierarchy, run from the capital city, a thousand miles or more away. It is like dealing with any other government department full of lifer public servants.

All the police live together, in their own street behind the police station. Single police live in a barracks, married police in a row of police cottages. Nobody else lives in that street, they all back onto the police station.

I have never seen any other living arrangements for police. Except in towns where they go one step further & live inside a fenced compound, which really exacerbates their "them & us" mentality.


kae said...

To join the NSW Police in the late 70s you had to be 19.
Now you must have a tertiary qualification (Associate Diploma, usually undertaken over two years).
Or equivalent.
In Queensland I understand they now must have a tertiary qualification.
"Applicants must have completed further study since leaving high school. The more full-time work demonstrated, the less study required to meet the minimum education requirement.
QPS Education standard here:

I'm sure being a police officer was a vocation, these days it's just a job.

Boy on a bike said...

The Wood Royal Commission into police corruption in NSW led to the training course being converted into a Uni degree. Officers now graduate with a hefty HECS debt. One result is the standard of applicants has plummeted (according to my sources). What use is a degree in policing, when there is only one force in the state?

Turnover has shot up as well - as Kae said, it used to be a vocation. Now, kids join and split after a few years. The force has been gutted of experience. I met our local commander once - I was told later that he was parachuted in from head office after spending a decade or so doing desk bound policy work. He's a nice bloke, but I doubt he has slapped the handcuffs on anyone in 20 years.

I hate that everything we do has been "credentialised" these days. Next thing you know, you'll need a degree to dig ditches.

kae said...

I'm pretty sure that somewhere there is a Cert I - IV Ditch Digging offered.

Dave from Tacoma said...

Believe it or not but where I live (Washington state in the USA) you have to take courses and get certified by the state licensing department to be a road construction flagger. (A flagger is that person on the side of the road with the sign on a pole that says "stop" on one side and "slow" on the other.) I guess the state of Washington is afraid someone may get one of those jobs and be unable to tell the difference between slow and stop.

Brian said...

Oops, out it in wrong post.
The RCMP does the same thing up here in Northern Canada. Here in Nain the cop shop and the residences, 8 in all, are at the end of a dead end street. It is easy to slip in the ‘white ghetto’ reference at times.

JeffS said...

I hate to agree with Mine Host on this, but what he describes is a recipe for a police force emotionally and professionally detached from the public. No wonder you have the problems that you do.

At our monthly TEA Party meeting, we had the county sheriff (an elected position, but requiring professional credentials in order to run) drop in. Not the first time, but he was in civilian clothing for this visit.

Why did he stop by? He wanted to get feedback from the public, the people who elected him AND pay the taxes that support his agency. Indeed, he's established a policy of regular public meetings around the county for that purpose. He differs from his predecessor only in approach, by the way, not by intent. This is not a new concept.

This particular visit was prompted, I believe, because of an unfavorable newspaper article regarding his request for an increased budget. He wanted to correct a number of points mentioned in the article.

I have my issues with the sheriff. But not on the matter of connecting with the public.

Mine Host said...

You "hate" to agree with me Jeff?
Hmmm, perhaps I'll have to start dropping in on tea party meetings and taking a few question & answer sessions!

You've condensed into one sentence the problem with the system we have here (& most places in the world).

A police force professionally & emotionally detached from the public.

It couldn't be put better.

JeffS said...

Thank you, sir.

And I "hate" to agree with you, because it's a shame that the Australian police are in the condition they are in. Australia deserves better than a bunch of officious busy bodies with the authority to make your life miserable.

Not to mention, I wrote that early in the morning, before my morning caffeine hit my synapses. Just sayin', is all. :-D

Henry2 said...

My Comment on NT Police here.