“Go ahead, make my day.” Current trends and evidence regarding police, firearms and crime control.

Prof. Rick Sarre1
1University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Police across Australia now routinely carry firearms for general duties. In most western nations, it is now the norm. This represents a significant change in practice over the last forty years. The reasons vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the legitimacy of the modern practice is never questioned. This presentation will review current themes and trends regarding the routine deployment firearms in general patrol activities. Are we safer if police are routinely armed? Are police safer? What does the evidence tell us?


Adjunct Professor, Law School UniSA. President of ANZSOC 2012-2016.

‘Do police need to be armed for their own safety?’ A comparative study of police militarisation, weaponisation, and officer safety in urban communities

Richard Evans1, Clare Farmer1
1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

In the past thirty years, Australian police have become increasingly militarised in their uniforms and equipment. Arming police, and making their weapons more numerous and visible, is justified in rhetorical terms to make communities safer. It is “common sense” that police need to be armed – otherwise they would be unable to do their job. The implication is that a police officer without a gun is automatically helpless and ineffective.

This dominant discourse is remarkable, given Australia’s strong cultural, social and historical links with Great Britain. In Britain, operational police are not routinely armed, nor is there public pressure for this to be changed. To the contrary, that police should continue to be unarmed is the “common sense” position.

Our project is testing the belief, often expressed as an unchallengeable truth, that in addition to community protection, arming police is essential for officer safety. This trump card is typically used to assuage any underlying concerns and counteract demands for further discussion.

Key literature argues that armed, aggressive and/or military-style policing can impact negatively on officer safety, but this contention has not been systematically tested against real-world experience. Our study is comparing urban communities which are similar (in size, political stability, socio-economic indicators, levels of violent crime and the like), but differ in the degree to which police are armed and/or present a military appearance. Put simply, we seek an evidence-based answer to the question: “Do police need to be armed for their own safety?”

Richard Evans and Clare Farmer are both lecturers in criminology, based at Deakin University. They share an interest in policing styles and violence prevention. They are joint authors (with Jess Saligari) of the “Mental Illness and Gun Violence: Lessons for the United States from Australia and Britain”, Violence and Gender (3:3 2016).

Extradition and transnational justice administration: An analysis of domestic processes and international cooperation during requests to Australia, Canada and the United States.

S Kennedy1
1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

Extradition is a process of transnational cooperation which enables exploration of the degree of fairness associated with suspect transfer and justice administration between international partners. The mechanism highlights the impact of international obligations and territorial sovereignty on domestic judicial procedures. Current literature highlights several issues with extradition procedures, including the extent global crime control and cooperation is prioritised over the protection of the individual rights of the extraditee. Due to the rule of non-inquiry and national sovereignty, nations are reluctant to investigate the criminal justice systems of requesting countries during extradition hearings.

This research aims to illustrate the practical issues associated with reconciling the principles of extradition under international treaties within national legislation and judicial practice. The United States (U.S.) component of this research involves 40 judicially determined extradition cases between 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2016. Requests were made by various nations, including 16 from Mexico, for a range of offence types, including murder, drug trafficking, war crimes and robbery. Extraditees commonly raise arguments relating to the application of extradition principles, alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution and jurisdictional concerns. Twelve individual cases contain specific human rights arguments related to potential mistreatment upon surrender. This paper examines these issues, as well as three cases where suspects argued successfully against extradition. This analysis highlights the broader problems of transnational justice administration in extending conventional criminal punishment through the extradition process, and the complex relationship generated between the nation state and individuals.

Sally Kennedy is a PhD candidate at Deakin University (Victoria, Australia) specialising in transnational justice administration in national courts, comparative legal analysis exploring fairness for individuals accused of crime and the impact of international obligations and territorial sovereignty on judicial procedure. Previous research explored the implementation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and its relevance for foreign nationals accused of crime in the United States. Her current research involves a comparative legal case analysis of extradition procedures within Australia, Canada and the United States to illustrate issues reconciling an international agreement under existing domestic legislation.


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