Editorial: Police work calls for respect of community

Friday, September 29 was National Police Remembrance Day. 

Across the nation, services and marches were held in all Australian police jurisdictions as police personnel paused to pay tribute to their colleagues who have been killed while carrying out their work, or whose lives have been cut short by illness or through other circumstances.  

The day holds special significance for police across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

Having a special day to remember those brave people who put their lives on the line at work is the right thing to do. 

Policing is risky business. Everyday, our men and women in blue turn up to work, never knowing whether they will suddenly find themselves in a dangerous situation or stand-off involving weapons. The online National Police Memorial Honour Roll at npm.org.au lists far too many names of police officers who have been killed while carrying out their everyday work tasks. 

There are lighter sides to police work, of course – school Adopt-a-Cop programs, community education days, and the ‘Coffee with a Cop’ initiative that is growing across Queensland, for example.

Too often, however, our police officers take unwarranted abuse from those in society who believe they are above the law or who choose to disobey it.

They mop up drunken and drugged people, step in to prevent incidents of violence, defuse volatile situations, get spat on, sworn at and physically abused, and deal with a vast range of crime. 

Sometimes, their work takes their lives.

They do all this so the rest of us can move with relative safety throughout our communities. 

There is no question that police work can be difficult, dangerous and potentially deadly; and our officers deserve the respect of the communities they serve.

Community viewpoints: Send an email of 300 words or less to jtnews@fairfaxmedia.com.au. Include name, address and phone number.