Sinc had an interesting post about regulators looking for trouble and comparing it to Victoria Police pursuing Pell. I would define the problem a little differently to Sinc based on my experience consulting to a few regulatory agencies in the past. The problem is accountability in the age of empire building. To the extent that regulators look for trouble it is not to prosecute it but to further the goal of regulatory creep in the realm of soft regulation (expansion of big government).
Once upon a time regulation was confined to what today bureaucrats call the unfashionable activity of “hard regulation”. That is inspections, assessments, investigations, and enforcement (more or less). Hard regulation is more akin to to the role of the High Court in Sinc’s analogy because it demands the application of “black letter” law and hence necessitates a higher standard of proof for a successful prosecution.
Precisely because it is hard (and prosecutions often unsuccessful) regulatory agencies have overwhelmingly shifted their focus and manpower to soft regulation. Soft regulation involves vagaries around industry codes of conduct, best practise, self-regulation, and building awareness. It is virtual signalling in the regulatory/corporate space and explains a lot why corporations are increasingly shills to government on social issues (e.g. climate, diversity, first peoples, SSM etc).
Soft regulation is a win-win for government, large corporations and the bureaucracy. For government soft regulation dumbs down accountability standards. Success can be measured in terms of activity rather than outcomes. Large corporations prefer soft regulation because it makes it easy for industry capture and locks smaller competitors out of the market. Bureaucrats love soft regulation for the same reasons as government but better still it enables endless opportunities for mission creep, not to mention lucrative private sector opportunities through all the cosy industry engagement it fosters.
It is soft regulation that looks for trouble, which is to say that it looks for make work activity associated with grievance or victim politics and virtue signalling. Victoria Police went after Pell along these lines because it was easier to play politics than be out on the beat doing good old fashioned law enforcement. Victoria Police are just another institution captured by the Left and because they prioritise politics above law, with a “whatever it takes” mentality (i.e. Lawyer X), they are pushing Australia that ever bit closer to a police state, illustrated by all police forces around the nation overzealously enforcing (in many cases absurd) social distancing dictates akin to the Stasi.