South Australian Keystone Cops

I HAVE RECENTLY obtained and read a copy of Ozbike magazine. It is a magazine I enjoy reading which contains many good and interesting articles which have been well written and are supported by great photography. Thanks for a great mag!

In this latest magazine, there are two articles which make my blood boil, the first is Chris Randells’ “Jokers Wild” article. What a great photo on the opening page—three police cars forming a rolling road block and one police motorcycle riding down the verge of the road.

I may be wrong but I believe both of these actions are illegal and that obstructing traffic in itself is against the law in South Australia.

Yes! I am aware that the police every where have the power and the authority to break normal road laws under special circumstances. While I can see that one of the police cars has its headlights on, I am unable to see any evidence showing the use of the red and blue roof lights. Surely, forming a rolling road block should warrant the use of these roof lights if such an action was necessary.

The sad reality is that because the South Australian Police Complaints Authority is such a useless toothless tiger, the individuals in charge of these police vehicles and motorcycles have absolutely nothing to worry about.

I grew up in South Australia and completed my secondary education at an all-boys school. At that time (the 1960’s) it was quite common for the ‘academically challenged students’ who could not make it to Intermediate standard (now days Year 10) to leave school. Of those dropouts, many applied to the army or the police force and quite a few of those who were rejected by the army, then applied to, and were accepted into, the police force. There were at least six students who dropped out in 1963, at the end of Year 9, who were known to be bullies at the school, who applied straight to the police force; three of them were accepted.

If the government is serious about curtailing crime in South Australia, it would do well to realise that there are very few clubs and similar organisations involved in crime as an ‘organisation’, yet there are certainly many examples of both motorcycle and other respected organisations that have individual members who are involved in crime. The Catholic Church and the crime of paedophilia is one example that springs readily to mind. Yet the government is not ‘yet’ applying this new law to the Catholic Church and neither should they be. In the same way that they should not be applying them to any ‘organisations’.

History shows that over the years, there have been members of the Adelaide Club as well as members of Masonic Lodges and organisations such as Rotary, who have had individual members who have been found guilty of serious felonious crimes. Pursue the individual felon by all means, but avoid attacking the law abiding.

This law is a bit like re-arming the police with sawn-off shotguns. Who gives a damn about innocent casualties? Just call it an acceptable level of collateral damage.

While I am not suggesting that all of the members of SAPOL (SA Police) are mindless morons, there are certainly many who are only too quick to swallow the hype and propaganda disseminated by some of their hierarchy and the politicians.

I have several friends who are, or have been in the past, members of SAPOL. Most of them are down right decent people, but after an incident in the late 1990’s, one of them made the comment, “I am glad I am retiring. I have been a member of SAPOL for about 30 years and have always been proud of it, however, what I have seen over the last 15 months embarrasses me. These actions could only be worthy of an organisation such as the Keystone Cops.”

That the government has introduced these draconian laws worthy of Hitler should not surprise anyone. The government certainly needs to deflect attention away from other matters. A tramway extension that set a world benchmark for cost per metre of line, and which has only further disrupted CBD traffic. A more intelligent solution would have been to underground the line starting in the South Parklands and running under King William Street. In wet weather, the rails are a hazard to motorcycles, scooters, etc, and in any weather they are a hazard to bicycles.

I also note that in the last SA State Budget funds have been allocated to electrify the suburban rail system. Not bad since a previous government purchased all the hardware to do the same thing years ago then a later government sold it all to WA for peanuts.

SA short of water! Years of inaction on this by the Government! Don’t be surprised. They are all wet behind the ears and think we are as well.

The second article that has incensed me is the one on page 90, “Treated with Respect—is it too much to ask?” I can only conclude that the NSW Police must have recruited from the school bullies of NSW. What a disgrace!

It seems that the police system we have in this country has allowed some members of its organisation to run rampant with little fear of being held accountable. Maybe the answer would be to adopt the USA system of having smaller more localised police authorities which are accountable by having the senior positions filled as the result of elections. That way, if the local police become overbearing and over-authoritarian in their actions, the Chief can quickly pull in the reins or look at the prospect of ‘next year out on your ear’ election results.

By Dr Jeff Johns PhD. B.Tech (electrical)

One Comment

  1. Jeff I would not want Australia to emulate US law enforcement in any shape or form.
    The small local police forces that you refer to are often undertrained and underfunded.
    Police chiefs do not get elected in the US. However some county sheriff’s are indeed elected. Sheriffs do not have the same authority in all counties and most sheriffs co-exist with a police department.

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