Police accountability in Queensland and the world was the focus of the Tony Fitzgerald Lecture presented by eminent criminologist Professor Emeritus David Bayley at the State Library of Queensland on Wednesday, September 10.
Professor Bayley, from the State University of New York, discussed the legacy of the Fitzgerald Report, an independent inquiry into possible illegal activities, including Queensland Police.
From an institutional perspective, he said, it started a revolution in the supervision of police in English-speaking countries around the world, with independent commissions, permanent commissions and many others subsequently established.
He said the Fitzgerald Report was one of just 32 gold-standard police enquiries into police corruption in English-speaking countries.
By gold standard, it met the criteria of being independent of government and police, was well resourced, composed of people who were experts and was required to publish its results.
“It seems to be a tradition in your country and to some extent, my country, that we empower special groups to investigate and to make reports,’’ he said.
“The Australian public has an open way of confronting these problems and many other countries don’t have this tradition.”
Professor Bayley from the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, State University of New York, is a specialist in international criminal justice, with a particular interest in policing.
He has completed extensive research in India, Japan, Australia, Canada, Britain, Singapore and the US. His work has focused on police reform, accountability, foreign assistance to police agencies, and crime-prevention strategies.
The Tony Fitzgerald Lecture and Scholarship Program was launched by Griffith’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice to mark the 20th Anniversary of the release of the Fitzgerald Report in 2009.
The Fitzgerald Report marks a watershed in Queensland and Australia’s political history. In addition to the justice and governance reforms, the report and inquiry served as a catalyst and inspiration to many researchers and practitioners working in these fields.