Methods of Inquiry: Police Corruption, Historical Anti-Corruption Experiences and Implications for Contemporary Practices

Abstract

Historically, establishing a judicial commission in response to allegations of police corruption has been a regular method used by Australian governments. In Queensland alone, no less than five major inquiries with a remit to examine police corruption took place during the 27 years between 1963 and 1989. By using historical criminology, it is possible to unpack the cyclical need for such commissions as well as the reasons that most were unable to realise their goal to stamp out corruption in the public service and, more specifically, the police. This research reveals several key areas of weakness in the temporary inquiry system, including narrow terms of reference and the potential for obstruction in the investigatory process. Based on this, this article identifies several viable policy proposals centred on a renewed commitment to standing anti‑corruption bodies, separate from politics and with a broad remit to investigate police misconduct

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