May the Force be...diluted

The recent allegations of excessive police aggression against an African immigrant and a Dutch convict do not augur well for our country's democracy and respect for fundamental human rights. The police force is rightfully endowed with legal power to uphold law and order and to deter crime. However, they are not afforded the power to punish those that break the law through brute force. Unfortunately, these allegations - which seem to be well founded - may give rise to the fact that there is a grave abuse of power in our police force. Also shocking is another revelation by Fr. Mark Montebello who sincerely believes that an innocent immigrant is being kept in jail for a crime that he possibly could not commit for biological reasons.

  • The police force may enjoy the benefits of a union that represent their interests in working conditions and rights to afford better conditions to the police force. Better conditions can only give rise to less frustration and perhaps a slight mitigation to these problems. Check out this particular police union based in Queensland Australia as an example: Queensland Police Union of Employees
  • I believe that a solid shakeup of our police force is needed; a parliamentary committee should be appointed to analyze the issues through tabled discussions, seeking domestic and foreign expertise on the matter and implementing harsher rules aimed at deterring police brutality.
  • This committee should also draft other legislation aimed at improving the judicial system and the workings of the police force. For instance, I think it is a great shame that suspects are not afforded the right to an attorney during police interrogations. Such interrogations should also be taped and filmed in the interest of transparency because the police should have nothing to hide during interrogations.
  • The legislators should consider the shift to a civil law or inquistorial system where the Magistrate is afforded with more power to administer and enforce the law. Instead of being summoned/authorised by the Attorney General to start criminal investigations, a magistrate should enjoy his own investigatory power. The reason for this shift is obvious in that it makes the State more accountable to the public at large.
  • Another interesting suggestion is that judges should no longer be appointed by the State after having served for a minimum of 12 years as an advocate - rather they should undertake special further courses after obtaining their law doctorate. This makes it a career choice and not a political appointment - in this way, judges are better trained and more importantly do not have any political ties and favors with the State that appointed them.

These flaws in our judicial system may give rise to the fact that racial equality is being given a blind eye by the State and that noble articles of Law on our Constitution that should safeguard fundamental human rights are merely fancy words to keep everybody smiling.

The police force may not have it all and understandably poor working conditions may give rise to flared tempers. But still, this is no justification for any excessive force and brutality. Faced with these grave problems, one must seek solutions. One should not bury his head in the sand and acknowledge this as a world-wide problem with no effective solution. Even more perturbing are those who actively seek to justify brute force in the so-called "interests of our great nation." Perhaps, our parliamentarians should consider the following:
This issues should not be taken for granted and should be included with other initiatives for strengthening democracy such as the FoI Act and party financing.

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