Secondary Employment Policy For Police Officers Criminology Essay

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The Police force is widely regarded as having a low income for officers, "Police officers in Victoria were not only the lowest paid police in Australia" (Police Association). To supplement their income, the police in Victoria to this date have not allowed their members to part take in secondary employment. However, Police in America have allowed their members to take part in secondary employment. The Victoria police have set guidelines which prevent any member to take part in secondary employment, although some forms of secondary employment is allowed, secondary employment that has any relation to the police is disallowed. The members in the Victoria police should be entitled to secondary employment for the main reason that it will urge more people to join.

According to the Victoria Police reference guide, "approval is required before an employee, whether fulltime or part-time employee, may undertake secondary employment outside his/her normal Victoria police duties" (Reference Guide, 2010)

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It also reads that "... includes other employment, private practice participation in a business or holding an office of a corporation but not including an Australian defence reserve force" meaning that the police can undertake secondary employment with army reserves. The legislation currently in Victoria is that police cannot undertake secondary employment if it has any relation to their current role, this is because of their duty as a police officer cannot be conflicted or diminished if they were to have a secondary job. Current members of the Victoria police should be allowed to undertake secondary employment, but it is believed that it should be controlled by the police. The training and whether they join the secondary unit or the primary police is decided by the Victoria Police. Victoria could adopt the approach that Nashville is taking, Americas approach to secondary policing, in Nashville they have a secondary employment unit, SEU, which handles their staff and monitors off duty police employment related activities that take place in Nashville. Residents, club owners and people who want extra security can hire out police to do security jobs, or bouncer type work. (Nashville, 2004)

Police officers, when in uniform command power, and it is this power is what sets the police apart from normal citizens, the power that is given to them cannot and should not be used in a biased or unfair manner. Police are given the duty to protect and serve the community to their highest potential. The police uniform is sacred and should only be used by police officers when on duty.

One obstruction to whether Victoria Police adopts the SEU is is that who owns these police if they are in uniform. When in uniform the police must respond to any crime in their area that the community requires, if a situation arose that 2 police officers were patrolling a mall and they were the nearest units to a robbery that was occurring outside the mall, would the police have to ask for permission from the mall operators before venturing out to the robbery, police should be allowed to patrol in uniform, but not the police uniform, the answer is that they should create another uniform especially for police in secondary employment so that they don't have to respond to calls that come in from the station. Police would be given these uniforms and there would still be a public perception that there is a police presence just not in the uniform that the public have been accustomed to associating with the police. Doing this approach would not branch into conflict of interest because the police would be acting in a security job rather than a shared job with the police and the security job.

When comparing private police to Public police, it is that the private police have less accountability because they are doing it just for a job, where as the public police have accountability and have significant powers, it is "commonly asserted that private police have no significant powers", which makes them not accountable as compared to public police which would make them accountable for the acts that they have taken. (Springer Netherlands, 2004). The acts that the public police do will always be scrutinised to whether they did the right thing and acted properly in the situation. Whereas with the private police, they have no powers, to arrest or otherwise, are just like a normal citizen, but given a job to do.

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Accountability in policing is a vital element, for both individual officers and law enforcement agencies each should be held accountable for their actions. Accountability involves the performance of law enforcement agencies with respect to controlling crime and disorder and providing services to the public.

With accountability to the officers comes the responsibility, for the officers who perform these duties. A further reason to why the police should run the secondary policing, relating to accountability. The police have a strong complaints department, whereas a security or private policing firm may not, if someone is dissatisfied by the performance of one member, the police would act whereas if it were a small security firm, they may not give the complaint the concern it deserves. (Private Policing, 2002)

The main advantage that police want to undertake secondary employment is more income. The base salary for a probationary constable is '$51,156 per annum' (Victoria Police Workplace Agreement 2007) with shift penalties and overtime payments available. If secondary income was allowed, these police officers would receive a higher income and therefore a higher chance that they will stay in their current profession. Without these changes being made, Police officers could leave the police force due to the pressures of living going up and the Victoria police salary staying very low. To combat the pressures that the Victoria police faces in the future if officers continue to leave the force, can the police allow officers to undertake secondary employment that has relation to the police officers everyday job such as security at private venues or risk losing some of the finest police officers. The Victoria police need to increase the salary of police officers, allow police to undertake extra hours with award rates or allow officers to peruse secondary employment with relation to policing.

Permitting police to undertake secondary employment either in uniform or in their special security police uniform should lower the rate of violence because of the public perception that the police are being seen more, "Most people can identify law enforcement officers by their official police uniform. When citizens on a busy street need help, they scan the crowd of pedestrians looking for the distinctive uniform of a police officer" (Bnet Australia, 2001), if you where to visualize going to a party with one hundred 18 year olds and having police in uniform as the bouncers, the public's perception of that would be that the police are everywhere and would have more control. Shopping malls would be able to hire out police officers to curb the shop lifting rate, if a person were to enter a shopping mall with the intention of stealing property and they immediately see two police officers patrolling, the shoplifter would have second judgments to try and attempt it with police within minutes of that location. This would not only give the police extra wages but it is also reducing the crime that happens because of increased police presence.

Fatigue is a main issue in the ranks of the Police as they only "averaged 6 hours and 37 minutes of sleep per day" (Tired Cops, 2000) as they have 3 shift slots a day and each police officer works 10 shifts a fortnight with different start times, duties and roles. Different roles are that some police get to work in the van which involves front foot policing where the police officers respond to calls from the public from their calls to either triple zero or directly to the police station. Other officers work on their computers to finish off their briefs and hand them to the sergeant to look over and to see if they can go to court. Other police officers are on the front line, the officers in the watchouse. The watchhouse is like the secretary of the station, the watchouse answers all incoming calls and every one that comes into the station deals with the officers who work in the watchouse. For this reason the disadvantage towards officers who want to undertake secondary employment is the main focus that Victoria police states in their guidelines, 'must not interfere with performance of duty', the police officers may work if they have been accepted, but can only work these jobs after hours, and must not impair their performance on the job in any form.

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This option should be targeted at police who have just joined or been in the force for 2 years or more and those who have passed their probationary period of policing. This is because they are on only a base income and need the money as compared to those in the top job earning the big money. The probationary constables, constables and senior constables who have less responsibility when compared to their upper ranks should be allowed to do secondary employment in uniform. This will give the probationary police extra training in how to deal with the citizens and more police presence because many of the police will be out there to deal with the crime.

Private policing should be done by professional police officers because only they have the training that has them equipped to handle extreme situations, where as a security guard, may not have these. The training that Victoria police academy or any other police credited training agency should be the only ones who train the recruits to deal with the crime. Just like the police academy, the police should implement another training facility that trains the people who want to join the private policing ranks. For police who are already in the force, they will not be required to undertake the course because of the credentials that the already hold.

The public perception of police at this current time is that they believe that we need more police and allowing police to undertake secondary employment would only lessen that perception, "They are stretched for police resources in the area" (Berwick News, 2009) and this may put strain on the current members who cannot afford to spend their off hours doing private work. "Right now Victoria has got the lowest number of police per capita of any other state. We are right at the bottom of the table. Victoria needs more police," (ABC Western Victoria, 2010) this is why the police should implement a program that involves only officers who wish to take part in secondary employment. The SEU would be run by administrators and accountants who run the Secondary Employment policing as a business who is then controlled by the Victoria police. The police who are enrolled in the program would have their rosters tailored to their secondary employment commitments.

Allowing police to partake in a Secondary job will not only increase the numbers that join the police academy, but will increase police numbers, the community and the greater people would appreciate the greater police presence and the police members will definitely appreciate the higher income. Although disadvantages are tiredness and accountability, this is only if it were run on top of the member's current hours. The strategy that has been proposed will give the police members structured rosters that are tailored around their current employment as well as the secondary component. Indeed, we do have a stretched police force already, but with this plan, it should see that more people enrol in the police academy because of it.