ANY errant police officer caught lending his uniform or gun to anyone is liable to a half-million-dollar fine and up to 15 years in jail under a bill due for debate today in the House of Representatives.
The Miscellaneous Provisions (Law Enforcement Officers) Bill 2019 proposes stiffer penalties under six existing laws which also govern prison, immigration, fire and customs officers.
The $500,000/15-year penalty for an errant police officer is applicable in the High Court (as an indictable offence), while in the magistrates' court (as a summary offence) it is $250,000 and ten years in jail.
An officer will also face these penalties for inciting a mutiny or terrorist act, assaulting a judge/magistrate or helping a prisoner escape. It also applies for using unnecessary violence against a prisoner or failing to take action over a serious offence.
Elsewhere the bill, a person caught wearing a police uniform and impersonating an officer would face a fine of $150,000 and five years' jail (up from $30,000 and three years.)
A police officer caught taking a bribe to not do his duty can be fined up to $500,000 and 15 years jail (indictable) or $250,000 and ten years (summary.)
Anyone supplying an intoxicating liquor to an officer can be fined $150,000 and face five years' jail, up from $15,000 and one year at present.
Any officer who resigns or is dismissed and fails to hand back every item supplied for him to do his job faces a $150,00 fine and five years' jail, up from $10,000 and two years. A similar penalty awaits anyone who has been supplied with such unauthorised items.
The bill restates the little-known fact that any member of the public is under a legal duty to help a police officer in need.
It increases the penalty “for refusal to assist a police officer who is, while in the execution of his duty, assaulted or resisted.” The penalty is increased to $50,000 and three years' jail, up from $10,000 and one year.