Talk:Law enforcement in Australia

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Sheriffs?[edit]

Australia doesn't have sheriffs--nixie 08:57, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

actually I think it does, it's just that they are very obscure and don't have a high public profile as they do in the US, see: http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/history/lah.nsf/pages/sheriff3 clarkk 10:12, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You learn something everyday... --nixie 10:16, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Try looking in the telephone book or google "sheriff" and "bailiff" confining search to Australia.

There is a Sheriff in every State of Australia. Essentially their original role was based on the role of the Sheriff in U.K. (particularly England) law. They are, or were, the chief law enforcement officers in each colony.

As time has passed many of the roles they fulfilled have been taken by other agencies. Principally, in Australia, their role in criminal law enforcement has become almost non-existent and has been taken by the police. Essentially, however they have retained their roles in the enforcement of civil law judgments. Initially however the Sheriff had charge of "constables" (another ancient office now known as police constables) Interestingly if for some reason the various police acts of each state were to be repealed then the policing role would default back to the Sheriffs. An interesting development in Australia is the outsourcing of various law functions to outside agencies (e.g. prisons run by private enterprise) and the shedding by police of a number of "non-core" duties that is bringing the Sheriffs and bailiffs back into prminence. Several States have taken back from the police their roles in fines enforcement and collections usually handing the role back to the State's sheriff (usually now a State government public servant) and the sheriffs variously do some or all of the enforcement themselves or contract the task to private enterprise (debt collectors).

In the U.S., I generally understand, the Sheriff has kept most of his original role however particularly developing their criminal law enforcement role and therefore being publically viewed or associated as criminal law officers though in fact they also enforce civil law judgments. (Caution: This is a general statement that varies from U.S. State to U.S. State)

In Australia Sheriffs and bailiffs have remained as civil law enforcement officers. Again the extent of their roles varies from State to State.

I partly agree & partly disagree with 'Clarkk'. They have a low profile but are not obscure. They mostly don't wear uniforms though in N.S.W. they have commenced to wear uniforms in the past 10 years. In certain circumstances they may wear a "sheriff" blazer over civilian clothes for identification in joint operations with police. Generally they go about their jobs quietly and effectively and the few occasions that their activities attract media attention are usually actions that also attract the need for uniformed police backup or assistance. The visual media then focuses on the uniforms (police) and I often smile that they overlook the inconspicous plain clothes sheriff or bailiff who has actual charge of the operation. The matter can also be confused when a police officer is deputised to act as a sheriff or bailiff, in certain States they are not allowed to carry out that role concurrently with their police role, hence you may have one police officer acting as a bailiff with other police officers in support acting as police officers.

Although there is only one Sheriff for each State I would suggest there are 500-1,000 Deputy Sheriffs, Sheriff's officers, Bailiffs and assitant bailiffs across Australia.

It is not a simple issue and not uniform across all states.

Enough. Maybe I have the kernel of a new Wikipedia article here. --Lanyon 14:49, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Police Force?[edit]

I heard that in the 1980s, the NSW Police organisation's name was changed from something like the "NSW Police Force" to the present form. Does anyone have any further information about this name change, and if it also occurred with any of the other State police organisations? - Malkinann 00:43, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

It's had its name changed several times. It used to be Force, then it was changed in 1990 to Service, then to just 'NSW Police' in 2002 and has now been changed back to Force. [1] I think most Australian police forces used to be called 'Force' but in keeping with pandering to being politically correct the word force has been dropped and the term '[insert state] Police' is used.MickBarnes 14:30, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

The legal names of Australian policing organisations can be found in the respective state's relevant police legislation. Some are legally defined as forces, some services, and some neither. --Aaronallen 09:20, 6 March 2007 (UTC)