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The Effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation Process as a Means of Reflecting the Moral

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The effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation process as a means of reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society is debatable as it can be seen that although the law incorporates some standards, there is still room for improvement. The Criminal Investigation Process is a stage where investigation and detection are carried out, and evidence is gathered so offenders can be brought before a court. It also includes the elements of police powers, bail and remand, and reporting crime. These elements were introduced to allow for the successful protection of society and for the achievement of justice to victims, offenders and society, which is done by including the moral and ethical standards of society. However as not all moral and ethical standards of society are appropriately accounted for in this process, it is only moderately effective in achieving justice. It can be seen that there are limitations in regards to the notions of justice, being fairness, equality, accessibility, timeliness, enforceability and resource efficiency, which in turn does not reflect moral and ethical standards of society, thus proving it to be moderately effective.

Police powers in the criminal investigation process can be seen as moderately effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society as it mainly allows for the achievement of justice but has its shortcomings in regards to accessibility. The role of police includes the prevention and detection of crime, maintenance of public order and the ensuring of observance of criminal laws. Police powers are detailed in the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, making them enforceable which enables police to use their discretion and reasonable force when needed to carry out their duties, but they are only effective to a certain extent. In most cases, police are seen to act with appropriate conduct and effectively carry out their duties as it is common that victims receive justice and protection through interference and prevention, offenders are mostly convicted and appropriately sentenced and society is protected from criminals and potential future crimes, showing that these powers are effective when used properly, as shown by the article “Man arrested after Sydney sword stand-off” (SMH, 2014) where police were able to arrest and detain a man posing a threat which prevented further crime and protected those he was endangering.

However, problems arise due to the lack of accessibility in legislation as seen with discretion and reasonable force which are not clearly defined thus leading to different interpretations and then issues and discrepancies in the actions of some police officers. This can be seen in the case of Roberto Curti where the use of discretion and “reasonable” force led to the unnecessary death of a 21-year-old man. As mentioned in the article “Police used 'excessive, unnecessary, unlawful' force on Brazilian student Roberto Curti, court hears” (SMH, 2014), “the application of force by the use of Taser and capsicum spray after he was handcuffed and on the ground was unnecessary, excessive and therefore an unlawful use of force” clearly showing that there was an abuse of power in this instance. The investigation carried out by the Coroner’s Court showed that in various statements officers claimed that they thought their actions were justifiable. As society often relies on police to lawfully carry out their duties, it is clear that although there are positive cases, due to the abuse of power and lack of accessibility in regards to legislation, there is a need for improvement to adequately reflect moral and ethical standards in society. Thus showing that the police powers in the criminal investigation process are only moderately effective.

Bail and remand is a part of the Criminal Investigation Process which is only moderately effective in reflecting moral and ethical standards of society as it poses limitations in regards to fairness and resource efficiency. Bail is the temporary release of a person accused and charged with a crime whilst they are awaiting trial and remand is the accused being held in custody whilst awaiting trial. Bail Act 1978 was reformed in 2013 to introduce, but not enforce, the show cause test and unacceptable risk test. The tests were introduced to allow the accused an option of bail but also to ensure that they do not pose a threat to society whilst released. This signifies the protection of society and the victim, reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society to an extent. Limitations occur when the accused is released and the victim’s protection is compromised which can further cause negative psychological impacts on the victim as they fear for their safety.

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Further limitations arise from the Bail Act 2014 where the presumption of innocence was removed, severely impacting fairness and thus not reflecting moral and ethical standards of society. In the case of the Lindt cafe siege (2014), the offender, Man Monis, had been released on bail whilst awaiting a trial for a murder charge, and his actions proved to endanger society. This incident brought about significant law reform due to the lack of enforceability and lack reflection of moral and ethical standards. Thus, the Bail Act 2015 brought about the enforceability of the show cause and unacceptable risk tests and making it harder for people facing serious charges to be released. As stated in the article “Man Monis granted bail six days after controversial bail laws brought in” (SMH, 2014), “the government changed the Bail Act to ensure greater safety for our community” which is positive in reflecting the moral and ethical standards in society. There are also issues with resource efficiency when discussing remand as the accused is in custody due to court delays and refused bail and as they have not been determined as guilty, it is argued that this is not resource efficient. Overall, bail and remand in the criminal investigation process is moderately effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society as the law reform strengthened enforceability but there are still limitations in fairness and resource efficiency.

The act of reporting crime in the criminal investigation process is moderately effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society due to issues with enforceability and resource efficiency. Witnesses and victims are able to use their own discretion to decide whether or not they should report a crime. Factors that may contribute to their decision include lack of belief in the achievement of justice and/or conviction, psychological and emotional impacts of reporting (fear, paranoia) or because it can be very time-consuming. However, under the Crimes Act 1900 - S316: concealing serious indictable offences anyone who conceals information can go to jail for not reporting the crime but there are issues with a lack of enforceability as the police may never find out that there is concealed information, thus limiting its effectiveness. This may prove to cause more stress on the victim or may be what influences them to report it. Reporting crime proves to be moderately effective where resource efficiency is concerned as initiatives including the CrimeStoppers Program, which allows the anonymous reporting of crime within one’s community, have shown to be effective with reports of 319861 contacts, 145442 information reports, 5406 apprehensions made and 15580 charges laid (CrimeStoppers.com.au). Whilst this program proves to be effective in reflecting moral and ethical standards to an extent, issues arise again where enforceability is concerned because although they allow for anonymous contact, they still cannot force people to report.

To enhance resource efficiency, the Australian Federal Police have been looking to develop an app that makes reporting crime easier for people but according to the article “ACT human rights commission 'concerned' about new app for ACT police” (The Canberra Times, 2018), although it could be highly accessible, it could severely invade privacy rights which interferes with Australian legislation and thus is not effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards in society. As a whole, reporting crime can be deemed as moderately effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards in society because it can be resource-efficient but lacks enforceability.

Evidently, the criminal investigation process is moderately effective as a means of reflecting the moral and ethical standards in society and achieving justice due to limitations regarding the notions of justice. This can be seen through the effectiveness of police powers, bail and remand, and reporting crime and how they reflect these standards to an extent but there is clear room for improvement.

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The Effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation Process as a Means of Reflecting the Moral. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-effectiveness-of-the-criminal-investigation-process-as-a-means-of-reflecting-the-moral/
“The Effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation Process as a Means of Reflecting the Moral.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-effectiveness-of-the-criminal-investigation-process-as-a-means-of-reflecting-the-moral/
The Effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation Process as a Means of Reflecting the Moral. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-effectiveness-of-the-criminal-investigation-process-as-a-means-of-reflecting-the-moral/> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
The Effectiveness of the Criminal Investigation Process as a Means of Reflecting the Moral [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-effectiveness-of-the-criminal-investigation-process-as-a-means-of-reflecting-the-moral/
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