Dr Chris Linke is an Associate Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University.
Chris’ Phd thesis was titled: ‘Victoria Police Memorialisation, Commemoration and Remembrance’.
There are multi-faceted reasons for the construction of memorials to police officers killed while on duty. Memorials to the dead provide a place for people to grieve the loss of individuals, as well as fulfilling the State’s obligations to remember those who have given their lives in service to the nation. My thesis research examines how police memorials, which can be seen as symbolic representations of policing, have proliferated in a time when it has been argued that police legitimacy is declining in Western democracies. Police legitimacy is influenced by tensions between the need for a publicly funded police force and public perceptions of discrepancies in how policing is conducted at the organisational level and by individual police personnel. Moreover, public police compete with private security as providers of law and order. Police memorials have begun to appear in Australia as one possible affirmation of legitimacy within this context of competing modes and approaches to undertaking contemporary law enforcement. The research outlines the nature of the relationship between public policing, legitimacy and memorialisation, with a focus on Victoria Police memorials and remembrance.