A former cop has written a book highly critical of the culture of the Western Australian police force. In it, he describes it as sexist, racist and violent. It's called The Crime Factory, and he's penned it under the pseudonym "Officer A".

It's common for disgruntled former employees to make such accusations. And quite often they exaggerate their experiences. Political correctness is fashionable these days, and people have become so attuned to the possibility of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc that they often see such attitudes where they don't really exist. Also, the mainstream media are full of people with a crusading PC attitude who will happily give lots of oxygen to such claims without any real evidence to back them up. So they're a very effective way of getting free publicity for some project or other. For these reasons I'm often skeptical about such accusations.

That said, I suspect there's probably quite a bit of truth in the ones outlined in this particular book. There's a very strong sense in this state of old cultural practices hanging on in the face of relentless attempts at "attitudinal reconstruction". It has a lot to do with its geographical isolation from the rest of the country among other things. There's a real element of the "wild west" over here!

Take the fact that Western Australia punches above its weight when it comes to high profile cases of corruption, abuses of process and miscarriages of justice. Take the wrongful convictions of Darryl Beamish, John Button and most recently Andrew Mallard. Then there's the notorious case of the Perth Mint Swindle, recently made into a telemovie.

There have also been massive government-related scandals such as the WA Inc saga, and more recent shenanigans involving Brian Burke's lobbying techniques.

Most recently we've had the acquittal of Lloyd Rayney. Sure, he may be innocent. But that's not what most people believe!

I get a very strong sense that over here powerful people and organizations get away with a lot of stuff that wouldn't be tolerated in other Australian cities. That's why the claims about local cop culture made in the book by "Officer A" don't strike me as being too far fetched.

The Crime Factory: The Shocking True Story of a Front-line CID Detective