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escalating violence in our community
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Sensible Sentencing Trust
(Date : March 2008)
1.1. Sensible Sentencing Trust requests to be heard in support of this submission.
1.2 The address for correspondence in relation to this submission is as follows:
The Sensible Sentencing Trust
P O Box 701
Phone: : Office (06) 835 5521, Private (06) 834 9723
Mobile: 025 2487 919
Prepared by : Alan Monk on behalf of Sensible Sentencing Trust.
2. Sensible Sentencing Trust support this Police Act Review
3. Police must at all times be accountable for their conduct.
4. Police must have modern up to date practices and methods
5. Policing must be made easier and less Bureaucratic.
If this review results in more rules, more bureaucracy then it will have achieved nothing and will take the effectiveness of Policing backwards 100 years.
6. Policing style must connect with the growing ethnic makeup of New Zealand population and across the age range.
6.1 In furtherance of this, Police Officers should be encouraged to gain additional language skills, and be paid extra for these skills.
7. The value of Police Staff should be judged on their Management of a Community rather than assessed on file load and clearances.
7.1 Return to the true Community Constable, allowing this staff member to truly integrate with his/her community with minimal “Drawing off” of the member to provide other Police services.
7.2 Value of Community Constable needs to recognize this member’s use of: summary intervention, summary reaction, and censure.
7.3 This approach must be supported by minimal paper trail.
8. Policing tools/methods must be reasonable, practical and acceptable, or they become onerous, cumbersome, despised, resented, and where possible avoided.
9. The place of a victim in the task of Policing must move from token to real.
9.1 Victims are and must be the very essence of everything that follows.
9.2 Victims are on many occasions seen as a collateral cause and then treated as a collateral cost.
9.3 The damage to victims is very real, it is real harm and on many occasions it is lifetime damage.
9.4 Crimes like burglary, theft, rape, assault, destroy a victim’s confidence, sense of security, trust in strangers. These victims are forced to change their lifestyle, alter their home security, re-evaluate their interaction with other human beings.
9.5 This “cost” to victims can not, should not, must not be downgraded to “collateral cost”.
9.6 These victims have every right to expect that their interests should stand in front of suspects/offenders.
9.7 We believe that most serving Police officers see this as appropriate, but suspects/offenders “rights” turn this on its head.
9.8 The rewrite of the Police Act should restate the victim as priority.
10.1 The Police Service must be permitted to make the widest possible use of technology. The only people who need fear Police use of technology are those committing crime.
10.2 Fear of abuse of technology can be countered by statutory requirements similar to the obtaining of search warrants, i.e. evidence of cause must be supplied to a Judge/J.P. before leave is granted to utilize certain technology. 11. Code of Conduct:
11.1 This is an essential principle to govern Police conduct. However, “code of conduct” should also be read as “rules of combat” and carry with it an expectation that the other party will be required to play by the same set of “rules”. We all know that offenders rarely follow any rules, whilst demanding that Police staff observe every one. Defence Counsel will quickly latch onto any departure by a Police Officer while conveniently ignoring the conduct of the accused.
11.2 Code of Conduct should be seen as a mechanism to steer a Police Officer’s Policing style, towards a process that is acceptable to Society whilst still ensuring that officer can effectively, investigate and where appropriate, prosecute those who offend against the laws of this land.
11.3 If that same Code of Conduct serves only to further fetter, the manner in which that Police Officer can do his job, then a Code of Conduct is not going to advance Policing in this Country.
12. Policing objectives have varied little over the past 100 years, but the rules governing how those objectives are achieved have multiplied exponentially.
12.1 If one asks the question whether these “Rules” have improved Police effectiveness in achieving their objectives we suggest that with a couple of exceptions the answer would be a resounding no in the opinion of most Police Officers.
12.2 The System has become “Procedure Heavy” “Discretion Light”.
12.3 This Review of the Police Act is an opportunity to put some tools back in the toolbox for Police Officers, not to remove even more.
13. New Zealand is becoming a multicultural society and requires a multicultural approach to how Policing is conducted. This however should not mean different laws for different cultures. Our Country, our laws.
Interestingly this review of the Police Act does not seem to have addressed in any depth the question of Police Powers. Respondents seem to have been led towards resources, use of existing staff, with some minor focus on use of force, batons, tazers pepper spray, lethal force.
There is no reference to the United Kingdom use of detention, without charge, interception of conversations, phone taps, Cellphone monitoring.
These are all tools that provide significant assistance to Police and a greater freedom to use these means of gathering evidence would greatly assist in the apprehension of those intent on a life of crime.
THIS SHOULD BE THE OVERALL REASON FOR A REVIEW OF THE POLICE ACT.
This Review should be asking the question, HOW DO WE HELP THE POLICE TO DO THEIR JOB?
If this review is focused on, "HOW DO WE CONTROL THE WAY THE POLICE DO THEIR JOB," THEN THIS REVIEW WILL HAVE FAILED THE POLICE SERVICE.