WA police no longer allowed to refer to race

November 30th, 2010 at 7:11 am by David Farrar

Unbelievable. news.com.au reports:

WA POLICE have defended their policy of banning ethnic or religious words to describe offenders after it was attacked by the Police Union as ‘ gone mad’.

The policy, a direct order from Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, means officers can no longer use details such as a suspect’s nationality, race or religion when seeking public help.

Instead, they have been told to say if the person is light or dark skinned.

Are they allowed to still describe the gender?

WA Police are standing by their policy, saying many people don’t actually know what people of different nationalities look like.

“More general descriptors limit the chances for people to make error,” WA Police Media spokesman Samuel Dinnison says.

“People have different terms of reference and if we narrow investigations down to specific race, the person may have gotten it wrong and that may limit an investigation. Narrowing it down too much can be detrimental to an investigation.”

Yes some witnesses may not get the ethnicity right. But some may. Surely the sensible thing to do is use specific ethnicities when the witnesses are certain, and use more general terms when they are not.

Also from what I can tell, even if CCTV footage showed the offenders, the Police would still refuse to refer to their ethnicity. Incredible stupidity.

WA Police Union president Russell Armstrong wants the rule overturned, arguing that using “scant descriptions” makes it harder to catch criminals. …

One police insider said the policy had prevented the capture of suspects.

“These rules don’t give a true indication of who police are looking for,” the source said.

“There is a big difference between a dark-skinned person being Aboriginal or African. And if we are looking for an Asian person-of-interest it’s a bit narrow to describe them as simply having fair skin and dark hair.”

Exactly. One might not be sure if they are Korean or Chinese (for example), but would be sure they are Asian.

Other states, such as Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory use the nationally agreed ANZPAA policy which limits the description categories to broad groups including Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, Asian, Middle-Eastern or Caucasian appearance unless there has been a positive identification of the nationality of a person described.

That seems far more sensible.

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34 Responses to “WA police no longer allowed to refer to race”

  1. Grant Michael McKenna (1,157 comments) says:

    Describing someone as Asian is meaningless- there are more ethnic Indians than ethnic Chinese in the world, and Australia are getting more and more people of Indian origin. The phrases should surely be East Asian and South-West Asian?

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  2. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    When this socialist drivel reaches the Police force you have to worry. WA is a very wealthy state and you would expect low crime stats, so any offenders you would have thought would be jumped on straight away, giving them a leg up is hardly what you expect from your front line law enforcers.
    The Police Commissioner needs to be sacked immediately and replaced with someone who has a reasonable IQ.

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  3. mjwilknz (612 comments) says:

    I think people need to be careful before thinking WA is the same as NZ. This is a place still having serious public policy debates about the merits of Sunday trading and daylight savings. Furthermore, this is a place where police officers tasered a poor bloke in their custody 13 times! Should we get so concerned about what cops over there are doing?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/05/australia-police-admit-taser-video-alarming

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  4. YesWeDid (1,043 comments) says:

    Why do you post stuff like this DPF? This is Western Australia not New Zealand so really has nothing to do with us.

    Is this a little red meat for the usual bunch of red necks to chew over

    [DPF: This is my blog not yours. Set your own blog up if you don't like my editorial decisions. I rail against stupid political corectness wherever it happens]

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  5. dad4justice (7,976 comments) says:

    “Why do you post stuff like this DPF?” = because it’s his blog you thick wet loon. Go swim in the Standard sewer.

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  6. starboard (2,492 comments) says:

    The policy, a direct order from Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, means officers can no longer use details such as a suspect’s nationality, race or religion when seeking public help.

    …again common sense flys out the window , overtaken by the wet pc do gooders , sack this idiot and replace him with someone from the real world.

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  7. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Why do you bitch about what DPF posts like you left wing assholes have a right to regulate what othe rpeople discuss yes?

    Who the hell do you think you are?

    David get a paid hack left wing shill filter will you. If we want an autoranting leftbot theres a program for that.

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  8. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    WA is a great place to live. And long may they never bring in Sunday trading. Daylight saving they should introduce.

    But this I am not sure about this. There are some, albeit limited, merits in the policy.

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  9. Matt (224 comments) says:

    I agree that this is rather stupid, however I understand why something like this may have been done – racism is far too prevalent in Australia, and racism is particually pernicious when practiced by those in authority such as the police. Perhaps as well as criticising the policy, you could also suggest an alternative which might be more efficacious?

    [DPF: I did. The policy that applies in the other states]

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  10. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    @Matt, you mean like perhaps:

    Other states, such as Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory use the nationally agreed ANZPAA policy which limits the description categories to broad groups including Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, Asian, Middle-Eastern or Caucasian appearance unless there has been a positive identification of the nationality of a person described.

    That seems far more sensible.

    Do you have reading comprehension issues?

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  11. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    I can understand the futility of putting out an A.P.B looking for a muslim, but there is an inherent futility in describing an offender as dark-skinned, which encompasses a wide body of people, rather than directly refering to ethnicity, thereby lowering the number of suspects.

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  12. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    jimbob….we don’t say police “force” anymore,it’s a service don’t you know.

    I think the Commissioner is onto a good thing and gender should also be included. Too many males are involved in crime and by saying the police are looking for a rather non descript male it gives an unfavourable impression of men.

    In future the police will be looking for “someone”.

    Judging by his name the Commissioner must be a thicko,left footed Fenian Mick!:)

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  13. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    Lol @ autoranting leftbot

    I agree that something more descriptive than skin colour should be acceptable. Ethnicity might be a bit abstract though (remember Michael Campell the golfer was thought to be Mexican when he first played in the US).

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  14. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    adze.

    Cliff Curtis has done well in the US playing Mexicans.

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  15. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    Yep and Arab (Three Kings)

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  16. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    I know that in NZ we had to change from Force to Service. Was done under a Labour Gummint if I recall. Can’t find anything definitive about WA though.

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  17. edhunter (521 comments) says:

    hmmm aboriginal, Indian, African nah better to just class them darkies

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  18. Matt (224 comments) says:

    hmm, yes. My mistake, however I must say I primarily meant “you” in a more general sense (ie over-reacting anti-pc types). Personally I think either solution is attacking the problem from the wrong angle – forbidding people from refering to suspects etc by race, or forcing them to use a specific category doesn’t stop them from letting their prejudice from clouding their judgement.

    I suggest something more along the lines of having a larger cross-section of the police involved somehow, at some stage of their careers, with community based programs where they are likely to interact with people from other ethnic groups. Getting to really know people is the first step to accepting them as part of your community. And besides, it would give them some cultural insights if they have to later make investigations involving members of those communities.

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  19. backster (2,123 comments) says:

    It isn’t much better in NZ. There is a serious crim on the run at the moment, his name being Customline Ford but the various news media don’t mention his race or complexion at all, only that he he has two brothers Mainline and Fairlane and he is a member of the Mongrel MOb. A few years back the terms Caucasian or Copper Complexion were the terms deemed acceptable but they seem to have fallen into disuse in the last decade. I suppose to avoid using the horrible obscenity ‘black’ for the favoured arrivals of that period.

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  20. jinpy (237 comments) says:

    you could refer to the skin colour by that displayed typically by ethnicities:

    “he was a kind of pacific brown, his mate was more african black…”

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  21. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    Pencarrow, Sandfly Point… it could get a bit ridiculous.

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  22. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    Matt’s 1121 shows the problem.

    It’s the cops that have the problem,they don’t understand the other.Implied of course is some fault on their part. They need to be immersed ,treined,reoriented what ever.

    The cops are always “interacting with the community, they don’t come from bloody Mars you know!

    How about looking at it like this:

    People “from other ethnic groups” need to learn how to become Australians,integrate and get on with everyone else around them.
    Getting to really know how Australian society operates and accepting Australian cultural values before moving there would be great too.

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  23. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    I doubt this is a sign of the future in NZ.

    Multiculturalism in Auckland at least has grown up to a state where most people are now capable of acknowledging each other’s ethnicity without either getting tied up in PC knots about it, or starting race wars.

    It doesn’t surprise me that WA lacks even the moderate level of sophistication necessary to do this. Australian public discourse by and large is louder and ruder than ours, and generally more based on shouting the other idiot down.

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  24. Matt (224 comments) says:

    I’m sorry kowtow, but I base my comments on personal experience. Not of Australian police (thankfully I’ve never been in a situation where I needed to meet *them*), but the Australian public in general. To put it bluntly, they’re a bunch of filthy racists. I’ve heard too many otherwise good and ordinary people say the most terrible things about non-caucasian Australians (mostly Aboriginals) to think otherwise. It’s not just about people fitting into the local society, but about the society accepting them. On this Australia scores an EPIC FAIL.

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  25. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    ^^^ And (off topic, but) you’re setting a very high bar there kowtow.

    I don’t believe my English ancestors when they arrived on the boat in Wellington in the 1860s made any kind of effort AT ALL to “accept Maori cultural values before they moved” into the NZ Company settlement of Wellington, which in today’s language would be an isolationist immigrant dish-city making no attempt whatsoever at integration I guess…

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  26. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    RRM,while pretending to be a sophisticate engages in anti Aussie “racism”. Hardly multicultural! Whatever the hell multicultural is.

    This PC nonsense is happening all over the self loathing west. This from the Met;

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8159606/White-policemen-sacrificed-on-altar-of-political-correctness-by-Met-Police.html

    Where ever countries have “Human rights” legislation these issues are a problem. We had human rights before these silly laws were enacted ,they should be scrapped along with the money wasting commissions that seem to go with them.

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  27. Matt (224 comments) says:

    ^ agree with the larger part of your post here kowtow (at 1:08pm) – you can’t legislate for people to like each other. Which is why I say different parts of the community ought to be exposed to each other more.

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  28. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    RRM,while pretending to be a sophisticate wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah…

    Don’t be a dick, I’m not ripping onto you dude. Try reading what I actually wrote.

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  29. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    The African gangs must really be getting out of hand…

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  30. Sideoiler (73 comments) says:

    So WA Police will no longer be able to call a spade a spade.

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  31. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    WA POLICE have defended their policy of banning ethnic or religious words to describe offenders after it was attacked by the Police Union as ‘political correctness gone mad’.

    The policy, a direct order from Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, means officers can no longer use details such as a suspect’s nationality, race or religion when seeking public help.

    What I want to know is how much of this ‘Multicultural Sensitivity’ is really just a dressed-up attempt to further appease Islam, as opposed to being sensitive to the wider ethnic and religious make up of WA?

    I mean to say isn’t the third qualifier a bit of a give away – “nationality, race or religion – what other religion, apart from Islam, is generally even mentioned when describing a person of interest to police?

    And with increasing crime, especially violent and sexual crimes, being committed by Islamic immigrants, then isn’t what religious belief someone adheres to likely to be relelvant? And especially if that religious belief/worldview is foundational to the motivation behind a certain crime? For example, Muslim mens’ views of non-Muslim women and how that relates to the large number of rapes committed by Muslim men against non-Muslim women.

    It seems rather stupid to remove a pretty major tool from the toolbox when it comes to identifying certain types of criminals.

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  32. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Other states, such as Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory use the nationally agreed ANZPAA policy which limits the description categories to broad groups including Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, Asian, Middle-Eastern or Caucasian appearance

    WTF?! No they don’t, as anyone who’s ever read Tim Blair or Andrew Bolt’s columns will know. The same nonsensical beat-around-the-bush descriptors are used. WA, in fact, was one of the last states to call a spade a spade (no pun intended).

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  33. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    Hey kris k
    A description of someone dressed as a black pillar box would be a bit of a giveaway…….

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  34. CharlieBrown (925 comments) says:

    lol – its more rediculous than the sacking of the Hobbit movie’s recruitment agent who specified that people applying should have a lighter skin tone.

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