Robert J Lee in Brisbane
In 1990 Labor Premier and solicitor, Wayne Goss officially renamed the Queensland Police Force to the Queensland Police Service and the old motto of “Firmness with Courtesy” was changed to “With Honour We Serve”.
In 2014 many Queensland citizens would question the veracity of this new motto.
In the past month Queensland Police have shot seven citizens, four fatally, outstripping the Victoria Police Service’s dubious honor of being the most trigger happy cops in the nation.
How is it our police service has become so dangerously trigger happy?
Perhaps it all begins with relaxed entry standards combined with a Nazi-style training curriculum which determines the attitude and aptitude of community values by graduates from the Queensland Police Academy at Oxley.
Young recruits, some straight from high school with no life experience are easily melded and conditioned by the often savage attitude generated by the Academy that the public which they are supposed to serve are to be treated as “the enemy.”
The recent spate of unnecessary shootings by police could be explained by the relaxed physical attributes of recruits.
Once upon a time when this writer was interviewed as a potential recruit strict physical conditions were the basis of suitability for entry into the then more honorable police mold.
Male recruits had be no less than five foot ten inches in height with a suitable weight- for-height and age ratio.
They were asked basic questions such as:
“Do you smoke?” or “Can you row a boat?”
“Can you swim?” “Have you done any stock work?” “Can you drive a manual car?”
“Where have you worked?” “Have you had any contact with the general public?”
“Can you ride a horse?” “Have you used firearms?” “Do you play football?”
One tricky question off-handedly asked by a friendly Academy trainer: “I am doing craft work for a hobby, do you know where I can find some beeswax?”
This writer, having been reared in the bush was the only one of the group of potential rookies able to answer: “From a saddler or beekeeper.”
Upon returning to the bush this scribe was followed up for more than 12 months by the recruiting officer asking when I would start my new career as a police officer.
Alas the call of the bush was too strong and it did not eventuate.
Modern entry requirements have been so diluted that university graduates are given preference over those with sufficient people skills, business acumen and life experience but worst of all, over all those having the physical attributes necessary to become an efficient and effective officer of the law.
In 1970, when threatened with physical violence, a single officer having sufficient physical stature could easily apprehend an offender with a knife and place him in hand cuffs.
In 1985, when threatened with physical violence two officers of questionable physical stature could easily apprehend an offender with a knife and place him in handcuffs.
In 2010 when threatened with physical violence three officers using pepper spray, Tasers or .40 calibre Glock semi-auto pistols could easily apprehend an offender armed with a knife, jump all over him and drag him into a paddy wagon.
Chances are this 2010 offender would now be pepper sprayed, Tasered to death in some cases, or simply shot by all officers present.
This is what happens when 60 kilogram female police officers and 65 kilogram male officers are issued with a firearm they cannot properly use and do not have the necessary physical attributes to disarm an offender.
For confirmation just ask any range officer at any pistol range in the State.
A 15 shot Glock is not suitable for issue to tiny girls or boys whose grip and light body weight prevent them from even holding the nearly one kilogram pistol effectively.
Upon discharge the pistol recoils upwards and if the shooter cannot hold it tightly it often becomes dislodged from the hand or at best uncontrollable in the event of subsequent discharges.
Just ask any regional motor vehicle panel beater how many times he has had to patch up self-inflicted bullet holes in police vehicles.
This is policing in 2014 and why members of the public who in moments of abnormal instability lose their lives.
Combined with a Police Union President, Ian Leavers, whose public rants demand that only police should own firearms in Queensland make for an unpalatable brew of fascist-driven police corruption and incompetence.
Not so long ago police officers used to dress in uniforms with a standard pale blue shirt (UN colours) that are easily recognised and have a reassuring public image.
In 2014 police wear confronting para-military navy blue or black overalls, giving the public an image of stormtroopers waging war against the ‘enemy’ which unfortunately is us, the public.
Editor’s note: In response to correspondence from serving police officers from several states, it should be noted that Cairns News generally supports police for carrying out general policing duties. When the corporatized policemen are used by errant political corporations such the LNP to enforce widely unpopular corporate policies such as coal seam gas mining and the Brisbane G20 fizzer, it is up to individual officers and management to say, “enough is enough.”
Police officers have an unenviable job when informing parents or families about road fatalities or other dreadful duties, but they should not be party to enforcing corporate vandalism of the environment. So this news outlet is not being critical of police, but very critical of policies emanating from corporate government that are against the public interest and wellbeing that police think they have to support.
Robert J Lee contributing editor.