The Australian Federal Police is a federal police agency of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was established in 1979 through the merger of three police agencies. Recently, the Australian national security community received a Corporate Plan for the next four years, and this plan has several fundamental components. This document provides the leading roles of the AFP, its vision, mission, core values, achievements in the last four years, and finally, strategic initiatives with an aim to showing better results and improving the working environment (Australian Federal Police, 2015). The Australian Federal Police Corporate Plan 2015-2019 stipulates seven core values, and it is vital to mention that these values play a great role for the Australian Federal Police to have within their Corporate Plan. However, there are two of the seven values that can be considered primary and the most important for the agency. These are integrity and respect.
Firstly, it is necessary to note that taking into consideration these seven values, the Australian Federal Police Corporate Plan 2015-2019 gradually forms a new understanding of the security community of values, not just a union based on certain principles and functions. Values have more power than just principles. Among seven values contemplated by the Australian Federal Police Corporate Plan 2015-2019 are integrity, commitment, excellence, accountability, fairness, trust, and respect (AFP, 2015). If to talk about the first value, integrity is fundamental for the government’s primary law enforcement agency. The thirst for justice, honesty, and courage are admiral traits for unprejudiced police officers. It is advisable that this value is mentioned first among others. Moreover, integrity is a chance to avoid deception and fraud while interacting and connecting with other people. The concept of integrity emphasizes the absence of selfish motives of misinformation; at the same time, it is easy to mislead somebody inadvertently, for instance, if a person tells a lie that he or she believes. The second value is commitment. In other words, it can be paraphrased as an obligation towards the citizens to be valuable and useful and achieve the stated goals. The third value must be familiar almost to everyone since a desire to pursue and achieve better results is a perfect quality of a person as well as an organization. Apparently, the agency shows their achievements in the past four years, and they initiate new strategic reforms as well. Thus, the community develops and endeavors to do its best for the sake of excellence. The AFP also encourages their employees to self-improvement, provides them with appropriate working conditions, and supports their desire to work in a team. When it comes to the value of accountability, it may also be interpreted as a responsibility of police officers towards the citizens for their work and results of their work. Furthermore, people should know that their primary law enforcement agency is always ready to be responsible for outcomes of done work or inaction.
A core value of being unbiased and equitable establishes a complete lack of privileges for someone or something. In other words, the AFP officers aim to avoid different kinds of discrimination. To stay impartial means to be objective and be able to exclude emotions from one’s critical thinking and look at the same event or issue from different perspectives. One of the last values stipulates that the Australian Federal Police must be trustful to others and always be ready to rely on people. This value shows the openness to cooperate and democracy of the agency and derives from the vision of the Australian Federal Police stated in the Australian Federal Police Corporate Plan 2015-2019. The document defines that the vision of the AFP is “to fight crime together and win” (AFP, 2015, p. 7). On the personal level, it means that this vision can be attained merely cooperating with people. The last, but not least value is respect inside the agency while interacting with colleagues as well as with other people. The community applies respectful relations with their employees and daily behavior with citizens without any kinds of discrimination.
Secondly, values are principally considerable for all people. The awareness of values and its implementation enable everyone to feel like a personality and be satisfied with the work they have done. In this case, the presence of these seven values within the Corporate Plan may be considered as an internal incentive for the employees to do their best while undertaking daily tasks and handling different working situations.
Furthermore, outlining the values is not only vital for better performance, working atmosphere, and pursuing of goals inside the Australian Federal Police, but it is also rather significant for the favorable treatment of people and their trust in the law enforcement agency. Having these values within the Corporate Plan can help people make a fair assessment on behalf of the public as a feedback of work done by the AFP. In this case, undoubtedly, this feedback can help the agency to become better, improve their results, and make one more step to excellence.
Integrity is a fundamental value and requirement of every law enforcement agency and the Australian Federal Police as well. Moreover, it is incredibly useful that this value is stated in the Corporate Plan of the security community. The AFP has their strategic priorities and aims to fight crime and decrease the level of criminality. When a person commits a crime against another person or a group of people, it is unfair towards that person or that group. Therefore, the Australian Federal Police fights against injustice in society in general since it is their primary responsibility. Therefore, the requirement of integrity as a value is a necessity due to the need of strong cooperation of employees during the law enforcement practice, mutual coordination, and needs of daily life. This value is also essential for the support psychological state and working mood of police officers since they need to deal with different documents, money, information, real estate, and this value works as a guide and motivator for better performance of their duty. What is more, they deal with people and this value reminds them about high standards of personal behavior and interaction with people in different life situations. A conduct of workers must serve as a model of behavior for others. If they are honest, fair, and forthright with people, they will manage to earn the trust of public because honesty provides understanding and faith of others. The most precious personal traits of a police officer are his honesty and reputation, but these are earned over the years and they must be cherished greatly.
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As for the second most substantial value, “respect was added as a separate AFP value in 2015 to emphasize that it supports all activity and relations, both within the AFP and externally” (AFP, 2015, p. 7). Consequently, it is necessary to analyze the importance of this value internally, from the position of a working group, and externally. Firstly, respect may be seen in practice, for instance, in actions or some acts of employees. Moreover, it is relevant to all people and is based on recognition of human dignity. Nowadays, strong relations inside the agency between employees and management must be built merely on respect because it is a basis for communication and cooperation, undertaking daily tasks, solving conflict situations, clearing up various misunderstandings, delegating authorities, etc. A present-day working group cannot exist without respect inside an agency. The principal part of a friendly team at work is to have self-esteem and respect to others. For example, if a team has no self-esteem, unreasonable conflicts inside the agency occur quite often, and these conflicts can split a group of workers. Secondly, a powerful and respectful national law enforcement agency must respect its employees, consider their views and interests, avoid their discrimination, and always be in connection with them.
History knows many examples when law enforcement agencies have failed to show their respect to citizens, which brought them to a sad outcome. It is reasonable to refer to a wave of demonstrations that took place in Ukraine in 2013-2014 and that was called a Revolution of Dignity. In wider and broader approach, a hidden cause of this protest, which deteriorated the situation and then caused its turning into real revolution, was the dispersing of the peaceful protest. It took place in the heart of Kyiv on November 30, 2013 at night, and the aim of police officers was to clean the area from spontaneous protesters. As the result of such awful night, many people were. What is more, these actions were conducted by the law enforcement agency of Kyiv, which showed a real ignorance of fundamental values of esteem and humanity. This situation became a tipping point for further development of the revolution, shifted the focus of protests from pro-European to anti-governmental one, and increased in mass. People did not ever want to bear such a treatment of their domestic law enforcement agency. This historical event proves the importance of the fact that a national security company must esteem their people since they can lose their temper due to such attitude. It is also vital to a law enforcement agency to have a value of respect not only within their corporate document but also while connecting with people in daily life, especially in practice.
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To sum it all up, one should not underestimate the importance to the Australian Federal Police of seven values stated in the Australian Federal Police Corporate Plan 2015-2019. It is important that the Australian law enforcement agency has an accepted set of values. Integrity and respect were emphasized due to its role in maintaining stability, the power of the national security community, and the importance of building strong relations between the public and representatives of the law enforcement agency.