You and Your CourseOpportunities
Research and Teaching
Our ResearchResearch Degrees
Partners and Community
Partner with JCU
- About JCUPartner with JCU
- Careers and Employability
- College of Healthcare Sciences
- College of Medicine and Dentistry
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- International Students
- JCU Eduquarium
- Open Day
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to University
- JCU Connect
- Scholarships @ JCU
- Media & Comms
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
- About JCU
Featured News Assaulted cops call for mandatory sentencing
Assaulted cops call for mandatory sentencing
A new study reveals police officers who have been attacked on duty lack confidence in the justice system’s ability to adequately punish offenders.
Researchers from James Cook University and Queensland Police Service (QPS) have conducted a two-year study reviewing assaults on police in northern Queensland.
Associate Professor Glenn Dawes from JCU said the team talked to police and offenders and viewed police body camera footage captured as officers were attacked.
“We combined the information, which included plotting both victims and offenders on psychological scales, and this allowed us to make some informed observations on what was going on when police were attacked,” said Dr Dawes.
The team talked to 40 north Queensland police officers who had been the victims of a serious assaults while on duty and 27 prisoners who had been charged with assaulting police.
“The main conclusions for police were the need for more focus on developing verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and on developing cross-cultural communication skills and protocols to effectively work with indigenous peoples,” said Dr Dawes.
He said the report also highlighted a lack of confidence by police officers in the ability of the court system to adequately punish people who attacked them. “There was strong support for mandatory prison sentences and the suggestion this could be extended to those who attacked police, prison or other emergency service personnel,” he said.
He said the accounts of assaults highlighted the physical and psychological impacts on people who had been attacked. The data also showed some officers returned to duty despite still suffering from physical injuries which prevented them from performing everyday activities.
“Most of the prisoners interviewed came from situations well known to lead to recidivist behavior. These include early interactions with the justice system, dysfunctional family environments, trauma, poor relationships, high levels of truancy, alcohol and drug use from an early age and low levels of paid employment,” said Dr Dawes.
He said the outcome of the psychological profiling was not surprising, with police having higher self-esteem and self-control than the prisoners, and more respect for authority.
“Both groups had more respect for authority as they aged, with prisoners who were younger more likely to be more impulsive, less inhibited and aggressive and prone to acting out without thinking of the long-term repercussions.”
Other recommendations included a community education program, enhanced training for police in communication skills - specifically in dealing with indigenous people and people suffering mental health problems - better support for officers who had been attacked, and a minimum level of protective equipment for front-line police.
Associate Professor Glenn Dawes
T: 07 4781 4218
- James Cook University
- Bachelor of Advanced Science
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Business / Laws
- Bachelor of Business & Environmental Science
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery
- Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Bachelor of Primary Education
- Bachelor of Secondary Education
- Bachelor of Environmental Practice
- Bachelor of Geology
- Bachelor of Information Technology
- Bachelor of Laws
- Bachelor of Nursing Science (External)
- Bachelor of Midwifery
- Bachelor of Pharmacy
- Bachelor of Physiotherapy
- Bachelor of Planning
- Bachelor of Psychological Science
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Social Work
- Bachelor of Speech Pathology
- Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science
- Bachelor of Veterinary Science
- Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering / Science (Honours) MBA in Tourism
- Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
- Master of Data Science
- Bachelor of Sports Psychology
- Bachelor of Marine Science
- Bachelor of Medicine / Surgery
- Bachelor of Nursing Science [Pre-Registration]
- Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours)
- Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
- Bachelor of Psychology
- Master of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Graduate Certificate of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Master of Global Development
- Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management
- Bachelor of Technology and Innovation
- Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Laws
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Diploma of Higher Education (Business)
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Business Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Engineering and Applied Science
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in General Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Health
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Information Technology
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Science
- Diploma of Higher Education, Majoring in Society and Culture