The reasons and the reality: A critical analysis of the purposes of the Queensland police move-on powers

McKay, Megan J. (2008) The reasons and the reality: A critical analysis of the purposes of the Queensland police move-on powers. Other thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

This thesis was completed in partial fulfilment of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree program at Queensland University of Technology.

This thesis explores the purposes and practice of the Queensland police move-on powers, a topic which, to date, has been largely unexplored in social research.

Move-on powers are powers that are used to direct persons to leave a specified place, typically a public space, on the basis of their behaviour and/or presence. While such powers exist in multiple jurisdictions in Australia and overseas, the Queensland police move-on powers are the primary focus of this research.

A triangulated method of gathering information was applied in this research. A quantitative content analysis was utilised to identify the espoused and underlying purposes of the Queensland police move-on powers as provided by the Queensland State Government. Qualitative semi-structured interviewing was utilised to explore how frontline witnesses to the Queensland police move-on powers describe the purposes and practice of these powers, as well as establish a platform for how the Queensland police move-on powers and their practice could be further investigated.

Existing academic research and anecdotal reports have indicated that the Queensland police move-on powers are being practiced for purposes other than those stated explicitly by the Queensland State Government as to how the powers would be used. The findings of this thesis indicate that the Queensland police move-on powers are being disproportionately applied to marginalised demographic groups, specifically young people, homeless people, Indigenous people and people with a mental illness. Furthermore, the powers are being used to move on persons for behaviours – namely chroming and experiencing an episode of mental illness in public – that were not presented by the Government as purposes of the powers. The incongruence between the purposes and practice of these powers is explained using espoused theory versus theory in- use and front-line bureaucracy theory (Argyris & Schon, 1974; Lipsky, 1980). As this thesis explores the move-on powers from sociological, public space management and policy implementation perspectives, its findings have potential implications for policy development and policing.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 17299
Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Refereed: No
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2009 23:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:18

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