A Federation of Clutter: The Bourgeoning Language of Vulnerability in Australian Policing Policies
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The policing of vulnerable people has long been a topic of operational uncertainty and political sensitivity. On the one hand, governments have accepted that police officers require special mechanisms to cater for disadvantaged social groups and should interact with members of these groups in such a way that vulnerability attributes are acknowledged (Bartkowiak-Théron and Asquith 2012a). On the other hand, agencies disagree on a variety of technical issues relating to the policing of vulnerable people, such as collaborative logistics, leadership, ownership and resource sharing. The policing of vulnerability has been under close scrutiny for over 30 years, with an increasing array of government and non-government services contributing their own areas of expertise to assist in solving these ‘wicked’ issues (Fleming and Wood 2006: 2). Yet, the burgeoning lists of who constitutes a vulnerable person, and the haphazard and localised development of strategies, have left little room for policy and practice transfer across vulnerability attributes, let alone jurisdictions. In this chapter, we reverse the policy transfer lens from the UK and US to consider the valuable policy and practice innovations developed in one Australian jurisdiction that may resolve some of the operational barriers to policing vulnerability in other jurisdictions.
KeywordsPolice Officer Torres Strait Islander Umbrella Term Vulnerable People Australian Capital Territory
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