Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, February 13, 2009

Police Powers - Nandor's observervations

Former Green MP, Nandor Tanczos sent to my Bebo.....

Two pieces of 'law and order' legislation are being debated by parliament under urgency. The first is the Gangs and Organised Crime Bill. Going by the press release, it seems like a typical case of throwing good legislative time after bad. Justice Minister Simon Power says ""By doubling the sentence for participation in a gang we are reflecting the culpability of those gang leaders who organise the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, and we are addressing the low rate of successful convictions".

Eh? It appears that selling P is a worse crime if you are a Mongrel Mob member than if you are an evil sociopath with no friends. Not quite sure why. Nor am I sure why doubling the sentence will increase the number of convictions. (The release says that "of 339 prosecutions there were only 19 convictions" which I guess highlights either how poorly thought out the original legislation was or how incompetent the police are).

They ARE lowering the threshold for the police to get warrants, from investigation of offenses attracting 10 years to ones attracting 7. Of course if this is about targeting P as the Minister claims then this is irrelevant because manufacture and sale of P has a maximum of life.

Actually, it is already very easy for police to get warrants if they have a scrap of evidence to base an application on. The police always moan to politicians that the reason why they can't get on top of gangs is because they are hobbled by pesky laws protecting civil rights. So politicians give police more powers, and shortly thereafter the police are back with the same complaint. That is how civil rights are consistently and continuously undermined. Just have a look at the new campaign to give police yet more powers over boy racers.

All in all, much as it grieves me to agree with Mr Cosgrove, it looks like political theatre gone bad. Sir Graham Latimer got it right when he said that the quickest way to destabilise gangs is to legalise cannabis.

The other bill is about DNA samples.From the press release:

"It allows police to collect DNA from people they 'intend to charge', and to match it against samples from unsolved crimes. At present, DNA can be collected only with consent, by judicial approval, or by compulsion where people are suspected or convicted of an offence punishable by more than seven years' imprisonment, or another specified offence"

So it is about giving the police the right to take DNA from anyone they wish (I intend to charge you....when I've got some evidence) and to use that for a fishing trip through the DNA database.

"And any misuse of profiles will be subject to the full extent of relevant law and civil rights protections, and the police will develop guidelines to avoid any arbitrary or unreasonable application of this power".

Just like they did with Tazers, MoDA search without warrant powers, pepper spray right? Somehow I don't feel comforted.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Spokesperson on Climate Change, Environment and Associate 'Shadow' Law And Order.

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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