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section heading icon     policing and security

This page considers policing and society in Australia.

It covers -

subsection heading icon     police forces

As indicated at the beginning of this note, Federation saw what became the Australian states retain substantial powers and responsibilities. Those responsibilities were reflected in the retention of their own police forces, which in the larger states have more personnel than the national police force - the AFP - which has a narrow role and emerged slowly over the past hundred years.

Much policing is undertaken by the state and Northern Territory police forces. (As an administrative convenience policing in the Australian Capital Territory is provided by the AFP, under An Arrangement between the Minister for Justice and Customs of the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital Territory for the Provision of Police Services to the Australian Capital Territory of 2006.)

Police forces are -

  • Australian Federal Police (AFP)
  • New South Wales Police (NSWP)
  • Northern Territory Police (NTP)
  • Queensland Police (QP)
  • South Australia Police (SAP)
  • Tasmania Police (TP)
  • Victoria Police (VP)
  • Western Australia Police (WAP)

The salient legislation for those forces is -

  • Australian Federal Police Act (Cth) | here
  • Police Act 1990 (NSW) | here
  • Northern Territory Police (NT) | here
  • Police Powers & Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) | here
  • Police Act 1998 (SA) | here
  • Police Service Act 2003 (Tas) | here
  • Police Regulations Act 1958 (Vic) | here
  • Police Act 1892 (WA) | here

subsection heading icon     anti-corruption and integrity agencies

Specialist anticorruption bodies include -

  • Commonwealth - Australian Crime Commission (ACC)
  • NSW - Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
  • Qld - Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC)
  • WA - Crime & Corruption Commission (CCC)

Corresponding legislation includes -

  • Commonwealth - Australian Crime Commission Act 2003 (Cth) | here
  • NSW - Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW) | here

Other bodies include -

  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) under the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 (Cth) | here
  • NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC) under the New South Wales Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) | here
  • NSW Police Integrity Commission (NSWPIC) under the
  • Queensland Integrity Commissioner (QIC) under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld) | here
  • SA Police Complaints Authority (SAPCA) under the Police (Complaints and Disciplinary Proceedings) Act 1985 (SA)
  • Victoria Office of Police Integrity (OPI) under the Police Integrity Act 2008 (Vic)

Studies include 'Ombudsman, Corruption Commission or Police
Integrity Authority? Choices for Institutional Capacity in Australia’s Integrity Systems' (PDF) by A. J. Brown & Brian Head.

subsection heading icon     national security and border control

Border control is provided by the Australian Defence Forces (eg the Royal Australian Navy) and specialist agencies such as the

  • Australian Customs Services (ACS) operating under the Customs Act 1902 (Cth)
  • Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service (AQIS) operating under the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth)
  • Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth)
  • Australia Post (AP) operating under the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 (Cth)

Counter-espionage and intelligence services are provided by a range of agencies, discussed here.

subsection heading icon     private security

This site features a more detailed note on private security (including discussion of nightwatchmen, private investigation, crowd control and other commercial services)








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version of December 2008
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