A Police Officer's role is to serve and protect the community. As stated in the New South Wales Police Force's website home page, a police officer's general job includes investigating "armed robberies, serious assaults, deceased persons" and that's just to name a few. A police officer is a trusted member of society to make the citizens feel safer. But what makes a member of the police community become involved in illegal activities and then what happens to them? Which organisations, particularly in NSW are there to hold the police officer liable for their actions?
There are, in fact, a number of organisations that work together to hold police officers committing criminal activities accountable for their actions, and many of them have released reports on how and why they become involved in this sort of behaviour.
The NSW Crime Commission "is a statutory corporation established pursuant to the Crime Commission Act 2012 (NSW)". The NSW Crime Commission allows members of the public, who particularly have a concern for illegal activities among "officers", to make complaints directly to their website. These concerns include: "abuse of power, impropriety and other forms of misconduct on the part of the Commission".
The NSW Crimes Commission 2015-2016 Annual Report, highlights that there is an organisation set up especially for the investigation of police officers, known as the Police Integrity Commission (PIC), (See our previous article) which was established under Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 (NSW). One of their major roles is in "preventing, detecting, and investigating serious police misconduct."
The PIC has been involved in many hearings in the past, including the 2014 case of Operation Montescristo, the 2012 case of Operation Binda, and many others where the officers have been "involved in serious misconduct or criminal activity". These hearings within the PIC allow the public to to be assured that the officers involved in corruption have been held accountable for their actions.
In May 1997, the Wood Royal Commission released a report on the corruption of police officers ("the Report"). In the Report, there is a description of "police culture" and how they can easily get tangled in corruption, which includes not following written rules within their job description. The report includes police officers being isolated from their social life and being in a very different environment from their home life which can lead them into illegal activities. The report also mentions a dismissal of an officer, Roger Rogerson, for the charges of "conspiring to pervert the course of justice." There has also been a string of recent cases beginning with R v Rogerson; R v McNamara (No 1)  NSWSC 592 (and related appeals) where Mr Rogerson was accused of shooting a school student, after a drug deal had gone awry in a case of police corruption.
These reports and cases show that there is still a high rate of police corruption claims, however organisations such as the NSW Crime Commission and the PIC, are doing their best to investigate and prevent these illegal activities.
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