Thursday, June 02, 2022

Giving the finger to the watchdog

The Independent Police Conduct Authority released another damning report today, on a case where police unlawfully arrested and set an attack dog on a young person, putting them in hospital. The summary echoes a number of recent themes in IPCA reports: police ignoring the law limiting the arrest of young people (which includes a specific clause on bail breaches), the unlawful arrest meaning that all subsequent use of force was also unlawful. It also has the usual police response of refusing to prosecute their own. If you or I had set an attack dog on someone and put them in hospital, we would unquestionably be prosecuted for it and looking at 7 - 14 years for wounding with intent. The police refusing to prosecute their own where their behaviour has been found to be unlawful is simply corrupt, and it makes them look like a uniformed gang who serve themselves and not the public.

And then I read the full report, and it is even worse. The initial incident which bought the victim to the officer's attention reads like a classic racist traffic stop. After that incident, the officer followed the victim to a home, where they bullied another young person into "consenting" to an unlawful search. When the victim fled their uniformed stalker, the officer "armed himself with a Glock pistol" before getting his dog. That particular decision goes completely unexamined by the IPCA, and it should have been, because it seems completely unnecessary to deal with a fleeing young person (it also does not seem to meet the requirements of the police firearms policy, which you'd think the IPCA would be concerned about). The IPCA also found that the use of an attack dog to pursue and bite someone for something so trivial would not have been justified even had the arrest been lawful (meaning the officer would still have been criminally liable for that illegal use of force), and that the officer behaved unprofessionally towards the victim and witnesses (the witness testimony also suggests strongly that the attack dog was used as revenge by the officer, which is also something the IPCA doesn't examine, preferring instead to focus on the bad language).

And after all this, the police just gave the IPCA the finger, like they always do. Again, it is clear that our police "oversight" system is fundamentally broken, if not an outright fraud on the public. It needs to be fixed. And until it is, this corruption of the police holding themselves above the law will continue.