On the AFP

Chris Davis writes: Re. “AFP: we did everything right with Bali nine case” (yesterday). I am convinced this has always had a racist undertone. Can you imagine the AFP acting this way with kids named Smith or Howard, grammar school educated and living with Mum and Dad on the lower North shore (insert any better off suburb)? There is no way I can.

John Richardson writes: In response to the implausible explanation offered by the Australian Federal Police as to why it failed to apprehend the Bali 9 in Australia, rather than contributing to the ultimate demise of at least two of their number by tipping-off the Indonesian authorities on their plans, Crikey asks why the AFP could not have simply arrested them on their return to Australia. Of course, if the primary purpose of effective policing is to prevent and reduce crime, then even that consideration is really immaterial.

After all, if the AFP lacked sufficient evidence to detain the conspirators and prevent them from leaving Australia at the outset, why not simply bring them in and alert them to the fact that the Indonesian authorities were going to be made aware of their plans? Mission accomplished. Crime prevented. No lives lost. And no weasel words from the AFP characterizing themselves as the poor, put-upon victims of unjustified public condemnation. Regrettably, the fact that the AFP did not consider such an alternative says everything about its understanding and that of its political masters that its role is all about law enforcement, prosecutions and convictions rather than the far less sexy business of crime prevention and reduction.

War of the tabloids

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Australia’s worst tabloids accuse each other of shoddy journalism” (yesterday). Is it really worth recording in great detail that gutter press members Y and Z exchanged courtesies re nicking each others’ scoops?

Richard Middleton writes: Colour me amazed. A gutter rag doing something unethical? Print journalism of the calibre that The Australian and other ‘media’ organs of Murdoch will fortunately soon be as dead and buried as the owner of the foul brand. Do remember that in the UK, the name of Murdoch  has a nasty smell attached to it.

Peter Fray

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