Saturday, 3 January 2009

Cops are flops

Ooooh, how I love reading the SMH and discovering just how little its reporters really know about the world. People of my age have been raised on a steady diet of movies about hard-boiled investigative reporters who had a thorough understanding of how the world worked, along with the number of every important person you can think of in their rolodex. When they wrote about something, you knew you were getting the entire picture. They got the inside dope, the dirt, the gossip and the rumblings from the ranks.

Newspapers these days read like a High School newsletter. A thick sandwich of gossip and advertising with a thin smear of information in the middle - like a vegemite sandwich made by something that doesn't like vegemite. You open up the two bits of bread to find the faintest tinge of black mixed into the butter - a sandwich the colour of Obama's grandmother. Analysis by a spectrometer would prove the presence of vegemite, making it legally a vegemite sandwich, but no true fan of the black yeasty product would describe it as such.

The article that caused me some mirth today is titled:

Too much expected of young police

Questions have been asked after Parramatta mother-of-two Susan Bandera, 48, was shot twice by a constable while allegedly brandishing a 10-centimetre cocktail fork.

Before I go on, read that paragraph again. Who exactly was hold the cocktail fork? The mother-of-two or the constable? Why would a Police Officer brandish a cocktail fork before shooting someone twice?

Is it just me, or could that paragraph be misconstrued?

The article also contains a rather illogical statement:

CONCERNS have been raised that young and inexperienced police are being forced to make life-and-death decisions without adequate training and have less support than they did a decade ago as senior officers desert the force.

Because a few paragraphs later, it says:

Yesterday police cleared the officer, a 35-year-old female constable with two years' experience, of any wrongdoing.

Hmm, let me get this right. A 35 year old officer shoots someone, and concerns are raised that young officers are being forced to make life and death decisions?

Is 35 the new 21?

My inside dope is that calling the Goulburn Police Academy by that name is incorrect on two counts. Yes, it is located in Goulburn, but it is no longer an "academy" (it is now a university) and it's not really turning out Police - it is turning out "graduates".

After the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption, the curriculum was turned upside down, with a huge raft of units on ethics being inserted. In the old days, a copper would graduate knowing how to shoot, how to arrest and process a crim, how to operate in a Police Station (which forms are used for what, how to deal with the public, the location of the tea bags etc) and how to handle themselves on the streets.

These days, its an ethics course with a bit of policing tacked on the end. Wet behind the ears coppers are being assigned to stations, where they are pretty much useless for a few months until they can be shown the ropes. Yes, that's always been the case with newly minted recruits from any institution, but there is useless, and then there is useless.

Because hordes of sergeants have been quitting the ranks, there are no longer any old sweats around to show the newbies the ropes. They're being instructed in the field by slightly less wet behind the ears youngsters, rather than 15 and 20 year veterans of the mean streets.

It doesn't help that one of the bigwigs in charge of police education has pretty much no formal qualifications (or even informal qualifications) in education and instruction, and plagarised the work of other people in order to get the job. The staff are now "academics" with a tertiary education background rather than "instructors" with a practical background in policing. The Police education board is packed with the "mates of Ken", the ex-commissioner.

Can you imagine what our restaurants would be like if instead of chefs being taught how to cook by someone like Gordon Ramsay, they were taught by an English professor - and the course was 75% ethics, 20% racial harmony instruction, 4% equal opportunity workshops and 1% on knife sharpening.

The inside gossip is also that entry standards to the "academy" have been quietly dropped to an all time low, and that the "students" are being given every opportunity possible to pass. The state government is absolutely desperate to increase the headline police number count, and is allowing utter WOFTAMs* to graduate with a gun. It has been put to me that they are no longer scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of enrolment - they have gone through the bottom of the barrel and are now scraping in the muck underneath.

*Waste of Fucking Time and Money

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