The police represent the foundation of any state along with the military. The given service is operationally independent of the government in Australia. This simply means that though the Australian government is fully responsible for the police budget, the legislation, creating the laws under which the police operate and for appointing the Chief Commissioner, the police decide how they’re going to exercise their duties.
The separation of powers between the government and police is considered to be a crucial element of liberal democracy. Obviously, the separation of powers greatly assists in ensuring that the police aren’t employed in partisan political way in order to punish or harass political opponents as well as dissidents. Apart from that, there’s also a separation of roles as well as powers between the police and courts. It’s up to the police to bring suspected offenders before the courts, while the courts’ purpose is to decide on innocence or guilt, and in case of conviction, choose punishment.
The police boast a wide range of roles. In general, the basic functions of the police include keeping the peace, enforcing the law and protecting property and life. The police enjoys a broad discretion when it comes to executing these functions. Strict adherence to enforcing the law at a particular protest might suggest mass arrests for even minor offences. There’s no doubt that mass arrests will have an enormous impact on police resources and also undermine their capacity to exercise other police functions. By the way, mass arrests might be considered to be provocative by the peaceful crowd. In the end this might escalate conflict and generate breaches of the peace, thus endangering property and life.
An uncompromising or hard attitude to protests actually prioritizes enforcing the law under any conditions to keep the peace, while a more conciliatory style of policing political protests mostly suggest keeping the peace. When keeping the peace is the major goal, the police will only focus on arrests in a particular protest situation with serious offences.
In democratic states, policing should keep to the law, respect human rights and be accountable.
Australia doesn’t boast a bill of rights, while the right to protest is engraved in the International Covenant of Political and Civil Rights. Moreover, the right to protest is also recognized as a crucial part of Australia's social traditions. Currently, it’s a part of Victorian as well as ACT legislation through the enactment of Charters of rights.
The police represent the foundation of any state along with the military. The given service is operationally independent of the government in Australia.