Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The state the Police want

Will de Cleene blogs on the Police Association's wishlist for government.

It's a list that should pretty much frighten anyone who believes in personal freedom.

Unsurprisingly, the Nats are cheering them on, but then some supporting the Nats think freedom means tax cuts.

Here are some of the points:

The cops want ASBOs (Anti Social Behaviour Orders), which of course exist in the UK and have for some become a badge of honour. Essentially it means being charged, convicted and sentenced without going to court for nuisance, vandalism, harassment and other actual offences. It's a good way to simply bypass the court system, and anyone who has spent a good deal of time in the UK will notice how little difference it really has made.

The cops also want compulsory DNA tests for all SUSPECTS, so even if you are not guilty, then it goes on a database. Of course if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, because after all, the state and the Police would never abuse this information would they? No. Big brother's warm embrace comforts us all. By the way the Nats like this idea.

Then there is requiring phone companies to keep a 6 month archive of all text messages - because, after all, the Police might want to read them. Imagine if NZ Post could easily copy and keep every letter you ever send in the mail, or Telecom recorded every voice conversation, and then ever email. Yes, nothing to fear though if you have nothing to hide right?

Like Will, I think on the spot domestic protection orders may be useful, because that is about protecting victims - but the rest is largely a recipe for the police to do as they please regarding innocent people. The focus of criminal justice policy should be on enforcing laws as they stand, and using punishment and rehabilitation (depending on the offence) to reduce re-offending and protecting the public from guilty people. Quite simply, the Police shouldn't set criminal justice policy - they have a view of the public that means they should have unlimited powers to do their job, and that people are guilty till proven innocent. Understandable on the job, but it isn't the basis for a free society that values personal privacy.

Idiot Savant agrees and says "It would be nice if we could get a police minister who remembered occasionally that what is convenient for the police is not necessarily desirable to society as a whole, and that police powers need to be limited and the police kept under constant scrutiny so that the rest of us can go about our business in peace." Indeed!

1 comment:

ryan said...

yeah, yeah "Police powers should be limited...." and it seems increasingly tied up in red tape. Criminals don't play by rules: they lie, cheat and hide the truth. NZ Police are of the least corrupt in the world. I think their proffesionalism should be acknowledged and they should be given the tools they need to be effective.