When an officer is accused of misconduct, the police department will be legally obligated to investigate and to prosecute the officer.
But for many Australians, that doesn’t happen.
Kepler’s law, however, has brought about an international movement to create a code of conduct for Australian police.
“It was a really exciting moment in the history of Australia,” said Professor Mark Evans, an expert in police law and a law professor at the University of NSW.
“It was very important, and it was important in the first place because the police are so vulnerable to misuse.”
Kepler believed that the law of effect – the law that says police officers must always have the right to do what they want and not be forced to justify their actions – was a good idea.
But he also believed it could be abused.
“I don’t think it has gone far enough.
I don’t see any justification for it.
It’s just another excuse to keep people in the system,” he said.
“This is the kind of behaviour that should be punished.”
Evans, who is also a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Criminal Justice at the Australian National University, said the idea of a code was also controversial because the idea was “a little bit too broad”.
“There’s a very high risk that it’s going to make it more difficult for the police to deal with a particular case and I think that’s a concern,” he told Al Jazeera.
The code has been debated for more than five years in Australia and is currently being considered by a select group of politicians, including the attorney-general, the federal government, the Victorian state government, and the Victorian chief minister, Matthew Guy.
But Evans said the problem with the code was that it was not a comprehensive guide to how the police should behave.
“It doesn’t give a detailed guide to what’s acceptable behaviour, it doesn’t address the kinds of problems that people might have,” Evans said.
The code, he said, “doesn’t give police officers a way to deal directly with people who may be being unreasonable.”
“I think the real challenge is that the police have a difficult job,” Evans continued.
“The job is to protect the community, it’s to protect people from harm, it is a very serious and sensitive job and we need to be vigilant about it.”
That means having a system of checks and balances that we’ve developed and which are going to protect both people’s rights and the police’s.
“The code of ethics was adopted in 2000, and Evans said it was never meant to be “a comprehensive guide”.”
A code of behaviour is supposed to set out a set of rules and behaviours that the community should expect from the police, he explained.””
So if there are some cases where a police officer doesn’t have the skills or the knowledge, they can be disciplined or they can face consequences.”
A code of behaviour is supposed to set out a set of rules and behaviours that the community should expect from the police, he explained.
“The reason why it’s called a code is because it’s not an absolute,” Evans added.
“We don’t expect the police in every case to behave in the same way.”
But Evans believes that the lack of oversight, and in particular the lack and difficulty of enforcing laws and regulations, has led to widespread abuses.
“If you’re in a relationship with a police constable you should know that if they are being abusive you should report it,” Evans argued.
“You should have the chance to contest the allegations against them, you should have a chance to defend yourself and you should be confident that you can win a court case against them.”
But the code of principles was not created to solve all of Australia’s problems, Evans said, but to create “a system of standards of behaviour”.
He said the code would be used to train police officers to be more ethical.
“Police officers are trained to be able to distinguish between the real threat to the community from an individual and a group of people,” Evans explained.
“They’re trained to look for evidence of misconduct and they’re trained not to just look at the evidence of the person they are investigating but also the evidence against them.”
And if the evidence is there, they should look at that evidence and then take action.
“The Code of Principles, he noted, “was never meant as a solution, but as a way of guiding and improving the way the police operate”.”
So if you’re an officer and you see something that’s unacceptable, you have a right to speak up,” Evans concluded.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has so far declined to comment on the issue.
Evans is hopeful that a code will come to Australia’s capital, Sydney, in the next few months.
But he said he would not expect that the Australian public would adopt the code.”
We’ve already been through the wringer, we’ve been through our