Police Board of Victoria
This documentation is produced in accordance with all known privacy and legislative acts - particularly that of ‘The general principles of public sector employment and conduct (Australia, 1998)’.
The dissemination of information enclosed, pertaining to the ‘Police Board of Victoria’, it’s activities, organisational structure, and purpose are done so with the utmost integrity and care, in order to avoid conflict with any and all such interests (as of July 2000).
As agreed upon in contract by both the ‘Police Board of Victoria’ and the author, all information provided herein is that which can be commonly accessed by the general public, and has no direct relation to private, confidential, or secret issues.
1. Introduction: Corporate mission & Objectives (Purpose)
The Police Board of Victoria (Australia) was originally established by statute under Liberal government advisory, with the sole intention of recommending to both the Chief Commissioner of Police and the Minister for Emergency Services, suitable methods for the development and provision of better policing services for the general community.
It’s powers are set out in section 4B of the Police Regulation Act 1958 (Appendix 1) to include:
Section 4c of this act also empowers the Police Board to enter police offices to inspect or seize and remove documentation for the purpose of reproduction. Under section 4f, this power (4c) can be delegated to any staff or contracted member of the Board.
The Board’s limitations include:
The Police Board’s objectives are:
Regularly, the Police Board conducts extensive surveys of both the general public and police member’s, in a bid to develop a clear understanding of common perceptions regarding police responsibilities and functionality.
These findings are then correlated under such common themes as:
In August of 1997, the Board delivered to the Minister and Chief Commissioner a report with recommendations based on findings relating to the management of the Victorian police; particularly that of ‘core policing functions’ (a type of review never before conducted in any policing environment). In order to achieve this, the board undertook extensive and closely supervised surveys of both the general public as well as the Victorian Police. These surveys revealed that both the public and police had similar expectations, with particular importance being placed on protection, accessibility, honesty and ethical policing.
During the month of February, 1998 - the Board drew together a select team representing the Victorian Police, Department of Justice, Public Service Commission, the Ombudsman’s office, community based organisations, and a handful of independent academic researchers to review, as well as amend, the outdated ‘Police Regulations Act’ of 1958.
The intent of this conjugation was entirely for the development of a modern policing service, based on current needs and trends. Outcomes included the proposition of set principles to modernise policing services, each with a number of supporting requirements that needed to be met in order to achieve the principle in operation, whilst identifying other important matters for consideration in the development of a policy framework.
Some of these working legislative outcomes can be now found within section 6A of the 1999 amended Police Regulation Act of 1958 (#80 & 81 only). Some of those changes can be seen below.
"S. 6A(1) amended by No. 30/1999 s. 10(3). (1) The Chief Commissioner may delegate, by instrument, to-- (a) a member of the force; or (b) a police reservist; or (c) a protective services officer; or S. 6A(1)(d) amended by No. 26/1997 s. 48(a), substituted by No. 46/1998s…. The "force" shall apply to every person (whether male or female) employed in the force; "Part" means Part of this Act."
As of August 1999, the Board in cooperation with the Victorian Police and the Department of Justice undertook new direction with the development of a ‘Long Range Strategic Plan’ for policing. The plan’s intent was to ensure that public services would be delivered in a timely fashion, and met the outcomes required by stakeholders within the community. It was of further importance because the state police department had recently undertaken a transition in service provision, and required review in order to guarantee its optimum efficiency. Being ‘Long Range’ in nature required that strategies be effective for at least ten to fifteen years, which meant extensive review and analysis of worldwide environments, and forth coming trends was necessary.
At times, the Board also undertook some independent research, releasing several documents - one of which was titled "Broken Windows (Appendix 2), Zero Tolerance, and other Policing Styles". Such research and analysis of other systems was a continued attempt at rectifying any outdated or redundant practices on the behalf of the Victorian Police.
3. Organisational Structure
The Police Board is broken into five distinct sub-sections.
4. Usefulness to, and acceptance by, law enforcement officers and departments
When questioning the usefulness of the Police Board, one should begin by looking at the purpose behind its development - which put quite simply, was the continued sustenance and development of necessary change required by the Victorian police force to ensure it’s excellence in satisfying community expectations as efficiently as possible. Now change in itself, is inevitable – yet, timely change, or even positive change for that matter, is a completely different issue.
Up until 1999, the details of the Board’s work had been widely presented to groups internal and external to Victoria, including senior members of other state police. As a result, aspects of the Board’s work began being applied in separate jurisdictions as a model for managing local change processes and improving local policing services.
On a number of occasions, the Board went so far as to drew attention to the willing co-operation that it had received from members of the Victorian police force, as well as their willingness to accept recommendations even before their completion. Yet no mention was ever made to the possibility that their presence might have provoked negative feelings amongst individual officers.
Without a doubt, some officers would have genuinely accepted the Board’s residence as something that could only lead to good. Others may simply have accepted such a presence because Victoria’s Chief Commissioner had been part of the Board since 1993. Though, it is more than likely that most officers observed the Board with some hesitation, if not negative perceptions, because they resented the intrusion it imposed into their daily lives. In fact, it is commonly accepted that elements within policing subcultures - such as secrecy, a belief that society in general lacks understanding, suspicion, and insecurities (Appendix 3) – ultimately lead to opposition of any interventions or supervision.
5. Current standing of Organisation
As of December 1999, the Police Board of Victoria was suddenly abolished by a political upheaval within the state of Victoria, which saw the Liberal party’s replacement by that of labour.
Being that the Board had been a Liberal concept and written into legislation, it was necessary for the Labour government to pass a new amendment (No. 61 of 1999) to the Police Regulation Act which denounced it’s existence, and subsequently developed a new body to fill it’s void. Thus sprung the Police Appeals Board (appendix 4).
In retrospect, the original duties of the Police Board where in fact never really removed, but instead indirectly reincorporated (through the use of rewording) back into the new found Police Appeals Boards objectives, as set out in section 88 of the Police Regulation Act.
With this in mind, it is fair to say that the Police Board’s activities were in fact worthwhile, making a positive contribution to the development of Victoria’s policing services because even though it was abolished, in essence, it continues to live on.
This then raises the question as to why the Labour government found it necessary to spend so much of Victorian tax payer’s time and money, removing a brilliant service, only to replace it with a mirror image?
Police Regulations Act 1958
The political science professor, James Q. Wilson, originally developed the ‘Broken Windows’ theory during 1997 after several years of field study. His theory is based on propositions developed through extensive observation.
If for instance, there is an abandoned building with one broken window, within a short period, all the windows will end up broken. Precautions need to be taken to ensure that the first window never gets broken to begin with. To be able to do this, police officers must take even the slightest sign of disorder as extremely serious – this would include such things as graffiti.
This theory has been implemented within the United States for three reasons:
York, where this program has been effectively rigged, residents agree that a
common feeling of reclamation exists within almost all.
( Exerts taken from an interview conducted with Wilson during 1997 – Internet Address http://www.onpatrol.com/wilsonint.html)
Police subcultures are characterized by:
3. Insulation from others in society "the blue Curtain"
4. Police tend to socialize together
5. Belief that their occupation cuts them off from relationships with civilians
Six core subculture beliefs:
1. They are the only real crime fighters
2. No one else understands them
3. Loyalties to each other because everyone is out to get them or make their life harder.
4. Can't win war against crime without bending rules
5. Public is unsupportive and too demanding
6. Patrol work is the pits
The Police Personality
1. Dogmatic - See things in black and white
2. Authoritarian - You have to show civilians who's the boss
3. Suspicious - Everyone is a possible troublemaker
4. Racist - Minorities are more likely to get into trouble
5. Hostile - Need to strike out before you are stricken
6. Insecure - Everyone is out to get the police
7. Conservative - Coddling criminals only leads to more crime
8. Cynical - Nothing you do is going to solve the crime problem
(Exerts taken from original article written by Darryl Wood, - University of Alaska - Anchorage. Internet Address - http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/just/just110/police3.html )
Police Regulation (Amendment) Act 1999 [dagger] No. 61 of 1999 - [Assented 21-12-99]
The Parliament of Victoria enacts as follows:
The purpose of this Act is to amend the Police Regulation Act 1958--
(a) to establish the Police Appeals Board;
(b) to abolish the Police Board and the Police Review Commission;
In section 3(1) of the Principal Act--
(a) the definitions of "appointed member" and "Police Board" are repealed;
(b) insert the following definitions--
' "Appeals Board" means Police Appeals Board established by section 87;
6. Consequential amendments to Parts I and IV
(1) In section 8AA(1) of the Principal Act for "Police Review Commission" substitute "Appeals Board".
(2) In the Principal Act--
(a) in sections 68A(3) and 68B(1) for "Police Board" substitute "Appeals Board".
(b) in section 68C(1)--
(i) after "review" insert "under this Division";
(ii) for "Police Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(c) in section 68C, sub-sections (2) and (4) are repealed;
(d) in section 68D(1)--
(i) for "Police Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(ii) for "the Board" (wherever occurring) substitute "the Appeals Board";
(e) in section 68D(2), (4) and (5), for "Board" (wherever occurring) substitute "Appeals Board".
(f) in section 68E, sub-sections (1) and (2) are repealed;
(g) in section 68E(3)--
(i) for "Board" (where first occurring) substitute "Appeals Board in a review under this Division";
(ii) in paragraphs (a) and (b) for "Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(h) in section 68E(5), for "Board" substitute "Appeals Board"; (i) in section 68F(1)--
(i) after "review" insert "under this Division";
(ii) for "Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(j) in section 68F--
(i) in sub-section (2) for "Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(ii) sub-sections (3) and (4) are repealed;
(k) in section 68G--
(i) sub-section (1) is repealed;
(ii) in sub-section (2) for "the review" substitute "a review under this Division";
(l) in section 68G(3)--
(i) for "Board" substitute "Appeals Board";
(ii) after "review" (where first occurring) insert "under this Division";
(m) sections 68H and 68I are repealed.
(3) In section 70(4) of the Principal Act for "Police Review Commission" substitute "Appeals Board".
8. Consequential amendment of sections 86AB and 86J
In the Principal Act--
(a) in section 86AB(1) for "any such action and on any action taken by the Chief Commissioner upon reviews by the Police Review
Commission or the Police Board" substitute "that action (including the result of any Appeals Board review of that action)";
(b) in section 86J(5) for "Police Service Board or the Police Discipline Board" substitute "Appeals Board".
9. New heading to Part V For the heading to Part V of the Principal Act substitute—
"PART V--POLICE APPEALS BOARD".
10. New Division 1 substituted in Part V
For Division 1 of Part V of the Principal Act substitute--
"Division 1--Establishment of Police Appeals Board
87. Establishment of Appeals Board
The Police Appeals Board is established.
88. Functions of Appeals Board
The functions of the Appeals Board are--
(a) to hear and determine appeals under section 8AA or 118B(4);
(b) to conduct reviews of decisions on application under section 91F;
(c) to conduct reviews under Division 1 of Part IV;
(d) any other functions conferred on it by or under this or any other Act.
Written By Evan Sycamnias