|Attitudes to police|
Attitudes to police are similar to attitudes to dogs - some people love them, and other people are scared they will bite. Or at least that seems to be what our survey responses are telling us. In Queensland there are good reasons to be suspicious of the police, afterall, the most traumatic state election in our state's history was essentially fought over police corruption.
If the police force hadn't been run by a corrupt commissioner appointed by a corrupt premier, then most of the activities that brought the government down would have been caught or cauterised by the police long before having such a politically fatal effect.
The Queensland baby boomer generation also has the experience of police being used aggressively against street marches, and memories of the Queensland special squad spying on upright citizens.
At the same time, when you are the victim of crime, or someone goes missing, the police are the first port of call, and most of us have favourable experiences at a personal level with individual police officers.
So what do respondents think about legislation that increases penalties for attacks (fatal and otherwise) on police officers?
Well, first there is the idea that officers deserve protection:
Hopefully there will be a deterrent response. Police need back up from community and legislators.
And that it will increase their morale:
It will give the Police a sense of justice and therefore increase morale and motivate them to remain in the service.
It might even make criminals respect them more:
I think protecting the police will bring back the respect criminals once had for the police & will enable them to work more efficiently and with greater confidence.
But are police the only people who should receive additional protection?
I am not sure why police are singled out. If you want to see violence against public servants walk around with a nurse or health worker in an Emergency Ward or mental illness hospital. Listen to how teachers are spoken to and threats made to them. This could be an area to focus on.
And then, what is it that makes police more deserving of protection than someone whose job is not to do with fighting crime?
Murder is murder, police officer or check-out chick.
Will there be reciprocal protections? If the police are special, then they should be held to a higher standard themselves:
There is no reciprocal penalty for a police officer who assaults. There is false implied reasoning that police never do anything unlawful or wrong and many people who are found guilty of assaulting a police officer may well be doing so in self defense. The police need to be held accountable for their power and I do not believe that they need any more power.
And what's to say that the police won't misuse a difference in penalty to extort confessions:
Police are notorious for abusing the powers entrusted to them. I would be worried if the only conviction the Crown could obtain was assaulting a police officer (i.e. the accused was guilty of no other offence).
Afterall, they've been shown to be corrupt:
The police have been implicated in much crime themselves including assaults and serious injuries, as well as threatening behaviour
Finally - will this change in penalties make any difference?
Research over many years has shown that the probability of being caught is a far greater deterrent than the severity of the sentence.The assaulting of police officers will be decreased more by increasing the respect the community has for the police. The greatest damage to respect for police is done by the lack of will to properly deal with police break the law.