In one of our previous blogs, we asked readers the following question:

Who polices the police?

This is a question many members of the public ask us as Criminal Defence Lawyers. Putting aside instances of police brutality and misconduct, such as that described in our article on Strike Force Raptor, what happens when police officers are captured on video brazenly breaking the law?

Police officers sworn members of society obliged to uphold our values and protect our communities. More importantly, similar to lawyers, police officers are meant to act as guardians of the law. This high standard of conduct is enshrined not only in principle, but also in our legislation.

The NSW Police Statement of Values states the guiding principles of the NSW Police Force. The statement of Values remains the central piece of legislation that underpins the conduct of all NSW Police Force employees and how they are judged by the community. The manner in which police officers should act and the standards they should uphold are found in Section 7 of the Police Act 1990 (NSW) which states:

Each member of the NSW Police Force is to act in a manner which:

(a) places integrity above all,

(b) upholds the rule of law,

(c) preserves the rights and freedoms of individuals,

(d) seeks to improve the quality of life by community involvement

in policing,

(e) strives for citizen and police personal satisfaction,

(f) capitalises on the wealth of human resources,

(g) makes efficient and economical use of public resources, and

(h) ensures that authority is exercised responsibly.

In addition to the abovementioned law, members of the police force must uphold their own Code of Conduct and Ethics. In New South Wales, the following codes and ethics apply:
An employee of the NSW Police Force must:

 Behave honestly and in a way that upholds the values and the good reputation of the NSW Police Force whether on or off duty

  1. Act with care and diligence when on duty
  2. Know and comply with all policies, procedures and guidelines that relate to their duties
  3. Treat everyone with respect, courtesy and fairness
  4. Comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the NSW Police Force who has authority to give the direction
  5. Comply with the law whether on or off duty
  6. Take reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest, report those that cannot be avoided, and co-operate in their management
  7. Only access, use and/or disclose confidential information if required by their duties and allowed by NSW Police Force policy
  8. Not make improper use of their position or NSW Police Force information or resources
  9. Report misconduct of other NSW Police Force employees.

Failure to comply with the Code of Conduct and Ethics may result in management action.

In addition to the fines issued in the story, police may be subject to management action such as dismissal and termination. At this point in time, it is unknown whether NSW Police will take further action over the alleged breaches of the senior constables.


Now embroiled in a corruption enquiry, Queensland Police Officers have been caught failing to breathalyse an interstate colleague. After being pulled over by two uniformed officers for performing an illegal U-Turn, Kevin Anthony Perry, a retired Victorian Police Sergeant can be heard asking to avoid a breathalyser test.

The video, which has since been shared on major news networks across the nation can captures the following exchange:

“Is there any way you can just let us park and I’ll catch a cab home?” he says, after admitting to driving after having “a couple of glasses of red”.

An officer responds: “Unfortunately I can’t do that, but what I am going to do, to be fair, I’m going to give you 20 minutes.

“What am I asking you though, because it’s kind of putting us in a position whereby we just have to – it’s all right, just …”

At this point, two more senior police officers emerge on video. The senior police officers are informed by the attending police officers that:

“He pulled his badge and said I’m a sergeant, can you let me go?”

After some back and forth between the officers, the more senior police officers can be heard saying “don’t you go telling anyone either” to which the attending officers promised they would “delete the footage if need be”.

After the retired Kevin Anthony Perry drives past, without being breathalysed, he can be seen patting the senior police officer and saying “Thanks for keeping interstate relations alive.”

Despite assurances by the attending police officers that the footage would be deleted, two uniform officers reported the incident to their superiors.

An investigation into the traffic stop resulted in the senior officers being charged with misconduct in public office.


Since the video emerged, disciplinary action has been taken by the Queensland Police Commissioner who is reported to have said the following:

“I am limited in what I can say about this matter as it remains before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal,”

“However, it’s important to note that in this instance that the allegations were reported internally within the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and an investigation was commenced as a result.

“While two officers were criminally charged and dealt with by the courts, a total of four officers were subject to our discipline processes.

Whilst the it is distressing to learn that even Police Officers can sometimes break the law, it is comforting to know that the allegations were stemmed internally and that the officers in question are now before the Courts and the appropriate professional tribunals.

Although it is evident that some Police officers may refuse to apply to the law their fellow colleagues, the actions of the attending officers should to some degree be commended. In the event you are arrested, our Parramatta Criminal Defence and Traffic Lawyers are always able to help, even if you are a police officer.

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