by Chris Griffith
Published 5 May 1996 in The Sunday Mail
In his submission to the Queensland Police Service Review, former CJC research officer Phil Dickie said it was "high time" the role of fighting organised crime was returned to the Police Service.
"As originally envisaged, the Criminal Justice Commission had a significant research and co-ordination role for the criminal justice system as a whole.
"Unfortunately, although it has been in many regards a successful and valuable institution, it has never adequately performed this role.
"Most significantly, the Commission's preoccupation with a direct operational role in pursuing 'organised and major crime' has been a major distraction to all its other activities, and quite probably, the reason it has often been less than successful.
"Indeed, the CJC division preoccupation with fighting organised crime activity resisted the sort of research that would have shown whether the expensive and well propogandized effort made any difference."
Mr Dickie, whose Walkley Award winning articles helped initiate the Fitzgerald Inquiry, was special adviser to CJC chairman Sir Max Bingham from 1989- 1992, and a CJC research officer from 1992-1994. He is now a columnist with The Sunday Mail.
His submission called for a redefinition of policing to emphasise research, a proactive approach to solving crime, and a new crime classification system that reflected criminal activity rather than "legal and agency convenience".
"Until such a shift in perspective occurs, other debates, such as those on the necessity for augmented police powers or the need for super institutions to tackle problems of highly organised crime, cannot be properly evaluated."
Mr Dickie also criticised the way law enforcement institutions tackled organised crime.
He said agencies had been "drug-obsessed", and there had been an overemphasis on the pursuit of ethnic networks.
"There is, however, little evidence that this enormous deployment of resources and powers has much impact on the undoubted social and individual problems arising from much illicit drug use.
"On the other hand, crime, social and public order problems with licit drug use, which may be greater in magnitude, receive much less agency attention."
He said resources for tackling white collar crime had to be "vastly increased".
"As a matter of justice, the company director involved in massive fraud should be as likely to be apprehended as the juvenile Aboriginal housebreaker."