Law Enforcement in Australia

Law enforcement in Australia is facilitated by police, sheriffs and bailiffs under the control of state, territory and the Federal governments. A number of specialist agencies also administer a wide variety of legislation related to white-collar crime.

The police are responsible for the criminal law. The sheriff, sheriff's officers and bailiffs in each state and territory are responsible for the enforcement of the judgments of the courts exercising civil law jurisdictions.

In Australia there are two distinct, but similar levels of police force, the various state police forces and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The state police forces are responsible for enforcing state law within their own states (including cities within the states) while the AFP are responsible for the investigation of crimes against Commonwealth law which occurs throughout the nation. The AFP also have responsibility for a community policing role (similar to the state police) in Commonwealth territories such as the Australian Capital Territory. The boundaries between the two levels of law enforcement are somewhat flexible and both state and federal police co-operate on or transfer cases between each other depending on the specific circumstances.

The AFP also provide Liaison Officers to various overseas posts to assist in relations with various police forces overseas, as well as providing community policing officers to assist in the development of local law enforcement agencies and peacekeeping operations in locations such as the Solomon Islands with the RAMSI mission and Cyprus for example. The AFP is only 30 years old having been borne out of the old Commonwealth Police whilst the various State Police Forces were established in the 19th century.

Read more about Law Enforcement In Australia:  National Common Policing Services, State, Transportation

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