NSW And Federal Police Ironically Breach Covid-19 Laws

social distance

NSW And Federal Police Ironically Breach Covid-19 Laws

The current epidemic has no doubt caused a strain on everybody. New tough penalties for not adhering to social distancing include a $1000 fine for each individual. The restrictions are challenging to everyone including police.

THE STORY

According to a news article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, two senior constable police officers were issued a $1,000 fine each for breaching the Covid-19 restrictions over the weekend. The officers were attending a party over the weekend in the Sydney CBD when on-duty police patrolling the street spotted a 27 year old female senior constable intoxicated. The senior constable was being assisted by a man when police found out that the pair were attending a party in a nearby apartment.

After further investigations, Police fined another senior constable $1,000 who was at the same gathering in the apartment along with 2 other non-police citizens.

POLICE STANDARD OF CONDUCT

While the Covid-19 restrictions apply to all, police officers, especially senior constables should be role models of society.

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.

 As shown above, police are expected to behave in a higher standard than ordinary citizens. Further to the statement of values are the Police Code of Conduct and Ethics as follows:

An employee of the NSW Police Force must:

  1. Behave honestly and in a way that upholds the values and the good reputation of the NSW Police Force whether on or off duty
  2. Act with care and diligence when on duty

  3. Know and comply with all policies, procedures and guidelines that relate to their duties

  4. Treat everyone with respect, courtesy and fairness

  5. Comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the NSW Police Force who has authority to give the direction

  6. Comply with the law whether on or off duty

  7. Take reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest, report those that can not be avoided, and co-operate in their management

  8. Only access, use and/or disclose confidential information if required by their duties and allowed by NSW Police Force policy

  9. Not make improper use of their position or NSW Police Force information or resources

  10. 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.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE CONSIDERS EXPELLING RECRUITS

It seems that social distancing laws are a challenge to deal with for the Australian Federal Police too. According to a news article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, over a dozen recruits were allegedly hosting a party completely ignoring social distancing laws. The recruits were enrolled in protective services officers and a number of them completed their firearms course that day. The irony is staggering as protective service officers should be protecting the community. With the Covid-19 epidemic, protecting the community means adhering to and enforcing social distancing. Hosting a party is no doubt a more serious breach than eating a kebab where in NSW, a man was fined for eating his kebab on a bench.

The Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter stated that “it sounds like that should definitely be a matter of disciplinary proceedings for the Commissioner with his recruits.”

The recruits were allegedly given show cause notices as to why they should not be removed from the program.

It is evident that NSW Police are issuing fines to their fellow colleagues. It is therefore unlikely that impersonating police will get you out of a social distancing fine. It will more than likely get you arrested. In the event you are arrested, National Criminal Lawyers are always able to help, even if you are a police officer.

 

 

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