Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fletch Police Set For Greater Powers?

According to the Herald today, Police in the near future may be given more powers for minor crimes to free up court time and expenses -

Police officers would become prosecutor and judge, dispensing on-the-spot punishments for minor crimes under plans to turn patrol cars into "mobile stations".

The proposal - an attempt to reduce costs and manpower, save time and free up police stations and courts - is one recommendation to be presented to Government in the police Fit for the Future project.

Well, that sounds a bit like comic anti-hero Judge Dredd, whose favourite phrase was "I am the LAW". The Judges (in comicbook 2000AD) were the law-enforcers of the future - judge, jury and executioner.

I'm in two minds about this. On one hand, maybe it will free up time and money, but on the other it opens up a HUGE opportunity for corruption in the Police force, doesn't it? Especially if the powers they may be given are expanded as time goes on.

8 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...

Great. Further erosion of the legal system. While as building more prisons to ensure that those who commit crimes are kept where they can't commit more (thus freeing up police stations and courts) is not seen as a better way to reduce police work?

mojo said...

Broadly speaking, would this mean more sex for our uniformed 'protectors,' or are such eventualities such a looong time ago as to not warrant mention?
Or am I simply really really mean?

Redbaiter said...

This is the immoral society desired by the Progressives, and less liberty is the natural outcome.

KG said...

It hasn't worked in Britain and it won't work here.
Already there's an unhealthy tendency to confuse the police with the law and this will make that worse. Their job is to bring suspected perps to court and to serve and protect the public, no more and no less than that.
The idea of some cop being able to act as judge and jury in any case, no matter how trivial isn't healthy.
Trust the police? Why should we?

dad4justice said...

"Trust the police?"

No sane person can trust a moronic bunch of pc keystone agro thickos.

God save New Zealand.Please.

squaredrive said...

IM Fletcher - you are being too generous to the police & government, as most commenters already seem to agree.

This is one more appalling 'police state' law change by Labour & National (both introduce & jointly vote for such laws routinely).

* Roadside fines shift the burden of proof onto the fined person. Instead of being assumed innocent until police prove you guilty with evidence in court, you are now assumed guilty when police issue the roadside ticket/fine, and you have to prove yourself innocent in court , if you can be bothered trying.

* Instant fines massively deter people from contesting their innocence, due to the shift in assumption of guilt mentioned above. Think about the tiny number who contest their parking fines, even if some fines you know are wrong.

* As mojo notes, it hands police such poorly constrained power that the temptation to abuse it is huge, even if the police intent is just to 'speed justice'. That is how Japan has a conviction rate over 98% - it becomes culturally assumed that if police accuse you, you ARE guilty.

* And if Simon Power was truly interested in cost savings, he would work to streamline the laughable court processing of plea & status hearings. So much court time is wasted with things that could be done in 1 minute at the court admin counter (with or without lawyers). Like his $20m cost savings by dropping jury trials for most criminal trials, it saves very little ($20m is a fraction of court costs) but gives a massive risk of returning us to feudal Judge Dredd days (which is why we introduced juries!).

Notable also that Power & National-Act are not fixing the hopeless lack of rostering of police at peak crime times, which many bloggers & ex-cops are starting to comment on.

Passing police state surveillance or instant fine laws makes things worse, not better. There is a lot of truly evil law being passed right now.

KG said...

"There is a lot of truly evil law being passed right now.'
Ain't that the truth!

I.M Fletcher said...

It does seem open to a huge amount of corruption and misuse. Just think if Police are called to a party where you are and some agro person hits an officer; or perhaps you get pulled over on the highway over the drink/drive limit by an officer and get on the wrong side of him - maybe the officer is tired, or you're tired, or both.

It would be so easy for the cop to just drop the hammer on you, without the cool, clear reasoning after a night in the cells, or before your day in court. You have no one to defend you - no lawyer or jury; just the judgment of that one officer on that one night.

Doesn't sound like Justice to me.

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