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dc.contributor.advisorHomel, Ross
dc.contributor.authorEde, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned2019-03-27T23:29:16Z
dc.date.available2019-03-27T23:29:16Z
dc.date.issued2000
dc.identifier.doi10.25904/1912/559
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10072/365215
dc.description.abstractThe reform measures recommended by the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (referred to as the "Fitzgerald Inquiry") radically transformed the face of policing in Queensland. The most significant of these recommendations was the establishment of an external oversight body, the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), which has independence from executive government and holds the power to investigate not only police but any public servant or politician. Other recommendations included "Whistleblower" legislation, increasing sanctions for serious misconduct, lateral recruitment and promotion by merit rather than seniority. The first main research question tested in this thesis is whether these reform measures have produced improvements in the following areas: the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes for dealing with complaints against police; public confidence in those processes and the public standing of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) generally; standards of police behaviour; the incidence of corrupt conduct; and police attitudes towards reporting misconduct by their fellow officers. These Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms were strategies primarily derived from two schools of thought describing the nature and cause of police corruption: deterrence based theory (including "individual" or "rotten apple" theory) and cultural (also labeled "cultural" or "socialisation") based theory. To date most strategies used to combat police corruption have been underpinned by these theories. A third theory - situational based theory (sometimes titled "environmental" or "opportunity" theory) - which has had success in crime prevention, has been scarcely used in the area of police corruption. However, an extensive body of research has affirmed the effects of situational factors on police behaviour, suggesting the potential for the application of situational crime prevention initiatives in combatting police corruption. The second research question proposed in this thesis is whether situational based theory could also be beneficial in the prevention of police corruption. Data drawn upon to test the first research question were interviews and surveys with police officers, public attitude surveys and statistics from the processing of complaints against police. Although each source has limitations, collectively the data are sufficiently comprehensive - and robust - to defend conclusions about the general direction of the changes which have occurred. These data indicate that the Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms have, at least to some degree, had their intended impact on the QPS. These reforms have contributed to an apparent improvement in public confidence in the complaints system and the QPS generally. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that the Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms have resulted in a weakening of the police code of silence. As far as the specific issue of corruption in the QPS is concerned, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from existing data sources. However, the weight of the available evidence is that such conduct is less pervasive and occurs at lower levels than was the case in the pre-Fitzgerald Inquiry QPS. It is very difficult to ascertain which reform components were the most effective and which were not helpful at all, as these reform measures were initiated simultaneously. For example, the negative elements of the police culture may have been eliminated or reduced but whether it was the cultural strategies or one of the deterrence based strategies influencing officer behaviour remains unknown. The second main research question the thesis poses is that the use of situational crime prevention techniques has potential for contributing to the prevention of police corruption. A situational analysis of complaints against police data, including the development of a typology for classifying types of police corruption and misconduct, was used as an example of how this may be accomplished in Queensland. The study provides some, albeit limited, support for the hypothesis that situational crime prevention methods are applicable to police corruption. Based upon three years of complaints data, enough homogenous cases were gathered to enable the analysis of four categories of police corruption - Opportunistic Thefts, Driving under the Influence, Assault (while off-duty), and Theft from Employer. Given that this study only used three years of complaints data held by the CJC and more than nine years of data exist, productive situational analyses of many other categories of corruption is probable. This study also illustrated that complaints against police data are being under utilised by the QPS and the CJC. For future research in the situational analysis of complaints data, I recommend improving the gathering of data from complaints files for storage in electronic form to enable situational prevention analysis to be conducted more readily. A geographical example was used to illustrate further how complaints against police data could be more extensively utilised as a prevention tool. This analysis was conducted at an organisation unit level determined primarily by geographical factors. The complaint patterns of units of similar "task environments", as measured by unit size and type of duties performed, were compared in an attempt to identify those units experiencing the presence or absence of "bad apples" or a "negative culture". This study led to the conclusion that a divisional analysis of complaints data can provide information valuable in combatting police corruption. When task environment was held constant, it was possible to identify units experiencing the effects of possible "bad apples" and/or "negative cultures". Once these particular units were identified, intervention strategies to address the units' particular problem could be constructed. Future research in this area would involve ongoing divisional data analysis followed-up by individual assessment of officers identified as "bad apples", or a "compare-and-contrast" procedure to distinguish features requiring correction in units identified as having a "negative culture". The research findings presented in this thesis are that progress has occurred in a number of areas in addressing the problems identified by the Fitzgerald Inquiry, but that there is undoubtedly scope for more to be achieved. Despite the very significant increase in the resources and powers available to investigators post-Fitzgerald, it is still difficult to prove that a police officer engaged in misconduct, or that other officers were aware of this fact and had failed to take action, because of the constraints imposed by evidentiary and legal requirements. Thus, while it is vital to maintain an effective and credible independent complaints investigation system and ensure that there is a proper internal discipline process in place, the scope for increasing the "deterrent power" of the present system is limited. Putting more resources into complaints investigations might make a difference at the margins, but is unlikely to lead to a significant increase in the probability of a complaint being substantiated and a sanction imposed. Investing more resources in investigations has an additional cost in that such resources are then lost to other efforts to combat corruption that may provide more fruitful results in the long term. The value of an occasional substantiation is placed above the ability to engage in a large amount of prevention work. Inevitably then, three clear messages are apparent. First, continued effort must be made to modify the organisational climate of the QPS in terms of commitment to integrity. Recommended strategies to accomplish this end are to continue the recruitment of more educated, female and older officers to reduce police-citizen conflict and the negative elements of the police culture, and also to develop a comprehensive, integrated approach to ethics education for QPS officers at all ranks and positions. Second, other forms of deterrence against misconduct are needed such as the use of covert strategies like integrity testing which could be conducted in conjunction with the CJC. Third, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on developing and implementing preventive strategies. This thesis has shown that valuable prevention strategies can be gained from situational and divisional analysis of complaints data, and a range of proactive management options based upon situational crime prevention theory are recommended. These strategies have application in any police service.
dc.languageEnglish
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.publisher.placeBrisbane
dc.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
dc.subject.keywordsPolice corruption
dc.subject.keywordsCriminology
dc.subject.keywordsQueensland Police Service
dc.subject.keywordsComplaint
dc.subject.keywordsFitzgerald Inquiry
dc.subject.keywordsReform
dc.subject.keywordsPrevention
dc.subject.keywordsCriminal Justice Commission
dc.subject.keywordsPolice culture
dc.titleThe Prevention of Police Corruption and Misconduct: A Criminological Analysis of Complaints Against Police
dc.typeGriffith thesis
gro.facultyArts, Education and Law
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextFull Text
dc.contributor.otheradvisorPrenzler, Tim
gro.identifier.gurtIDgu1335145098804
gro.identifier.ADTnumberadt-QGU20030102.114721
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
gro.departmentSchool of Criminology and Criminal Justice
gro.griffith.authorEde, Andrew


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