11 October 2014

Queensland Police Service Recruit Training Program

From page 46 of the document, Recruit Training Program Introduction to Policing (Version 1.7, July 2013) by the Queensland Police Service.

How is the law made?

Your role as a police officer is to preserve law and protect life and property. The law is your guidebook as to what you need to do.

This topic focuses on informing you about the law, how it is made and how police officers must work with it, so that it can be upheld.

Most people in the community function within the law without knowing exactly what the law is and how it is made. The law is based on logic and common sense and is largely a collective agreement about how people should treat others and the property of others. People come in contact with the law when they choose to behave in a manner contrary to reasonable behaviour. An example of this would be to plant a tree that obstructs a neighbour’s access to their own property. Another example would be when someone chooses to act contrary to the road rules.

While it is the role of the police officer to enforce the law, it may be helpful to remember that sometimes people may not always be aware that they are breaking the law. The role of police officers in the law is not only to enforce the law but to educate the community about the law and when it applies. It’s similar to owning a motor vehicle that receives regular servicing.You don’t need to know how the car works but can just trust in the expertise of your mechanic to keep it running and to tell you what you need to do to keep it working properly. Police officers are the mechanic in this example; they must know the law and be able to judge how it applies to people and people’s actions within the context of their community. Your training will equip you with the know-how to make these judgements and the experiences you gain while on the job will allow you to hone and refine your skills.

To begin learning the fundamentals of law it is good to firstly look at how laws are made in Australia.
In Australia, laws are made:

  • by politicians in Parliament (called the legislative process)
  • by judges making decisions about court cases (called common law or case law).
The three levels of government (federal, state and local) all help make our laws, by-laws and regulations. For a detailed explanation of how an Act of Parliament is made, go to the Law in Australia website. Government made law overrules court made law if both apply to a case.

Whilst Parliament makes laws, courts make laws (common law) either through:
  • their decisions or
  • their interpretation of the law.
The term Common Law is court made law and through their decisions, judges shape the law. An important aspect of the common law system is that decisions made by judges and magistrates, are informed by the decisions of previously settled cases, i.e. they follow the precedents determined in cases decided by higher courts. This is what is known as the doctrine of precedent.

By way of example, you are probably aware that it is an offence to wilfully and unlawfully damage property (section 469 of The Criminal Code). An appeal court (Queensland Court of Criminal Appeal) was asked to determine how the word “wilful” was to be applied. It was determined by an appeal court of five judges that the word ‘wilful’ requires proof that the accused person either:

  • actually intended to do the damage to the property or
  • willed an act (deliberately did an act) aware that the damage to the property was a probable consequence of his or her actions and that the action was taken regardless of the risks.
The decision of the appeal court is referenced as R v Lockwood; Ex parte A-G[1981] Qd R 209 (‘R’ being the Queen and Lockwood being the person who was charged with the offence). The effect of this decision is that all Queensland Courts are to apply this decision to their determination. In turn, police officers now are Introduction to Policing Booklet v.1.7  47 aware of what is required to prove the action of an offender was wilful when investigating and collecting evidence of this type of offence.

Some of the decisions made by courts may be made into law by Parliament. If Parliament disagrees with how an Act is applied by the courts then Parliament can pass amending legislation to make its intention clearer.

A lot of current police practices are based on decisions made by judges as to what is acceptable best practice for police investigations. The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000(Qld) is a piece of legislation where a lot of common law practices of police officers are written into statute law. For example, the Act stipulates when police officers can conduct an immediate search of a person or premises, how they are to handle and deal with exhibits and how they are to conduct interviews with suspect offenders.

Comments to this page:

Note: For the purpose of this article, the validity of law is put aside.

The fundamental falsehoods that stand out are (in reference to p46-7):

In Australia there are 2 tiers of government, Federal and State ONLY.

There has not been a lawfully created third tier of government called 'local'.

'(l)ocal' (g)overnment in this context referring to municipal offices or 'city councils' are a department of the state (just like the Department of Education), and cannot lawfully make 'laws'.

Courts cannot and do not make laws.

Australian courts are a place of business, trading, commerce and a place of public record.

The lawful procedure of making 'laws' in Australia follows a process of Bills, upper and lower house debates supported by 'hansards' then written in Acts.

In Australia 'Acts' are law.

The Brainwashing of police or policy enforcers, where the people are the enemy of the state.

Still not convinced that Australia is a Police State?

The document: Recruit Training Program - Introduction to Policing (Version 1.7, July 2013) by the Queensland Police is available for download (82pp, 1.12MB) at:

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