Viewing entries posted in March 2012
The issue of tasers has "fired" up here in Tassie! Today, the Acting President of the Tasmanian Police Association, Mr Robbie Dunn, responded to my 28 March 2012 Letter to the Editor in The Mercury with his own letter which was headed "Taser safer than guns". It read:
I have recently referred to the very useful Murder Investigation Manual (MIM) developed in the UK (ACPO Centrex 2006). There is an interesting section in the MIM which describes the types of homicide (pp.22-25), drawing on Brookman's 2005 Understanding Homicide. The main types of homicide are given as: Domestic; Homicide in the course of another crime; Gang Homicide; Confrontation Homicide (unrelated individuals); Jealousy/Revenge (unrelated individuals); Reckless acts (unrelated individuals); Racial violence; Other Unspecified Circumstances (unrelated individuals); Unusual cases which are sub-divided into serial murder, mass homicide, terrorism and homicide among children under 17 (unrelated); and context/motive unknown.
Parliamentary Inquiry in South Australia on a Criminal Cases Review Commission Begins to Hear Evidence
The Legislative Review Committee of the SA Parliament has commenced to hear evidence into the proposal for a Criminal Cases Review Commission. Today, the Committee heard from Ms Bibi Sangha, a Flinders University law academic, in support of a 76 page submission which outlines the failure of judicial processes to allow for post-conviction reviews of alleged miscarriages of justice see details here
Tonight I am attending the Denison Debate at UTAS which is supported by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Arts. The title of the debate is "Frank, Fearless or Forgotten? The Role of Public Service Today". The speakers are Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, Chair, UK Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Mr Rhys Edwards, Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet and Professor David Adams, Tasmanian Social Inclusion Commissioner. This is a topic I have very strong views about! I hope to provide you with some feedback tomorrow.
I noted an article by local barrister, Greg Barns, in The Mercury earlier this week and felt compelled to comment. So I wrote a Letter to the Editor which appeared in today's paper. The heading that I had chosen was "Greater Accountability Required" which I note when published appeared as "Taser Fears Warranted". Can't avoid that "editorial touch"! You can see the letter at page 14 of today's Mercury. In the letter I indicated that, drawing on previous experience of reviewing the use of tasers in another jurisdiction, taser guns are used more often that the media and law enforcement agencies report. I stated that it was of particular concern when tasers were used for compliance purposes. I did acknowledge, however, that, if properly deployed, the taser option was certainly preferable to the use of a firearm. I commented that, if tasers were deployed in a jurisdiction, there needed to be identification of best practice in their use, clear and unequivocal policies, meaningful managerial or disciplinary action for breaches, and the development of national guidelines for accountability. I suggested mandatory, standardised reporting at the State/Territory level and a national Use of Force database to identify and understand patterns of use. I also stated that there should be stricter policies on multiple taserings in light of Galeano in Queensland and Spratt in WA. Critically, there also needs to be ongoing research to determine whether tasers can cause death, particularly in those who are drug affected or who have predisposing conditions.
I was driving out to Risdon Prison this morning to visit a prisoner (hopefully, a temporary one) and I was feeling quite strange about the whole concept of spending time "inside". There is still something disturbing about a place so grey and metallic, with such high fences and that amount of razor wire! After over 30 years in policing, the inside of prisons are still, thankfully, quite alien to me. It did make me think about my previous times in prison! ... When I was a junior Constable in the NSW Police, I worked on Sydney's Northern Beaches. In those days, when the personnel at the Long Bay Gaol went on strike, police were called in from all over the metropolitan area to "man" the facility. It would have been 1982 and there was a strike on at the gaol. We were advised that we would have to help out. I thought it would be a great experience. Alas, none of the female police officers were rostered to work there. At that time, women made up 5% of the NSW Police and we stood out because we had to put an "F" after "Constable" on all our correspondence! Anyway, the few of us that were there at the station expressed some concern about this deployment practice. Next time there was a strike, some months later, we were actually rostered to assist - at the boom gate or in the kitchen!! Once again, we voiced our concerns and our willingness to be deployed in the same way as the men. The next time a strike occurred, I found myself working alongside the men in the actual prison and in the towers. This was a noticeable advancement and occurred over a period of 18 months. This was also the era that two women were never rostered together, in our case, on "the van" (the Ford F100). It was during the same period that I was rostered to work with my best mate "Debbie" and I can still recall the humorous comments that we attracted. At least policing for women has advanced significantly since the mid 1980's!! And I do hope that I will spending less time in the future at Risdon Prison...
Discovered an excellent resource on the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) website see manual. It is a 2006 Murder Investigation Manual produced on behalf of ACPO by the National Centre for Policing Excellence in the UK. It covers issues such as the Strategic Management of Homicide and Major Incident Investigations including: the various phases of an investigation, the development of the investigative strategy, investigative decision-making, case management and accountability, media management, crime scene management and developing a forensic strategy, pathology, family liaison, coronial inquests and major crime reviews. Highly recommended reading!
Today, as an interim measure, I have created a separate webpage on this website, to inform people of developments so far in relation to an Innocence Project (IP) for Tasmania. I have been buoyed and encouraged by the number of people that I have spoken to to date who are keen to be involved and get this much needed initiative up and running. The new webpage on this site will keep you up to date on developments and hopefully serve to unite like-minded people in our community. If you have any suggestions or ideas, you can post a comment on this blog entry or send me an email. A critical issue at the moment is identifying sources of funding. Any ideas would be most appreciated.
Still working on the development of a suitable model for an Innocence Project (IP) in Tasmania. Found an extremely useful 2006 article by Dr Michael Naughton in the UK entitled "Wrongful Convictions and Innocence Projects in the UK: Help, Hope and Education" see article
I was honoured yesterday to be inducted into the Hobart Rotary Club, after having visited the Club on a number of occasions. What a warm and welcoming group of people! This particular club is the largest in Tassie and now has 93 members, with a very good gender mix! I have volunteered to assist on the fundraising committee and with the upcoming annual art show - something that really appeals to me. Rotary International is the world's first service organisation and is made up of 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries. Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self", which exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of the more than 1.2 million members. I will wear my new badge with pride and look forward to making a significant contribution.