On it was announced that New Zealand’s Police Force would be rolling out buses equipped with booze detectors and fingerprinting stations. This presents us with some problems about how our rights under the law will be guaranteed. And here is why:
First of all, don’t get me wrong, this is not about bad mouthing the police as such. I think they serve an important purpose in making it possible for citizens to live within the law while getting their needs for justice met through a legal system when somebody trespasses against them. When it goes according to plan that is.
But what if it doesn’t?
What if the police no longer Serve US?
What if the police are turned into our controllers and the protectors of the rich and powerful?
That would not happen here you say. Well here are few things that happened over the last couple of years to refresh your memory.
- Two years ago the public was outraged at the fact that a group of young men where posting their stories of rape and abuse of under aged girls on a Facebook page in what became known as the Roast Busters scandal. To date non of these young men has seen any consequences of their deeds. The police (One of the boys was a policeman’s son) are still “collecting data but non of the victims has been approached with questions.
- When John Key had a very public photo and press opp with John Banks a journalist recorded their conversation. The journalist Bradley Ambrose was raided by the police and so where some of the News outlets.
- When Kim Dotcom accused John Banks (the same John Banks John Key was talking too) of accepting election contributions under conditions John Banks set to make it possible to accept them anonymously the police did not act at all. In fact the public prosecutor only stepped in when Graham MacCready managed to make a case against him.
The law was subsequently changed so that this could not happen again.
- When a complaint was made against Cameron Slater two years ago after he used information he was given by an anonymous source, to smear and malign a gentleman by the name of Matt Blomfield, the police did not act and while the judge presiding in the civil case against Cameron Slater has ordered Slater to give the name of his source nothing has happened. No raids, no jail time for not obeying a judges order nothing. The police like in the Roast Busters case is still making inquiries.
- On the 6th of October 5 police officers knocked on the door of Internationally renowned investigative journalist Nicky Hager’s abode and searched his house for 10 hours. Nicky Hager, so he was told, was only a witness and not a suspect in the case of the Hacking of Cameron Slater’s computer but never the less took computers, Ipads and other communication devices from his home. You will notice that that the case against Cameron Slater was about much the same thing but in his case no raids where performed.
- In August 2014 while in Israel Cameron Slater admitted to having accessed the Labour party computers. He cooperated with Jason Ede who at the time was working for the National Party. The data they downloaded from the computer contained details of membership and other sensitive information. the Labour party made a complaint to the police. Nothing has happened since. The police are making inquiries.
- A complaint was made against the former Minister of Justice Judith Collins after she was finally forced to step down after a long list of transgressions. The final straw was the allegation she accused of organising a smear campaign against former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley. What makes this particularly odious is that as a business woman outside of her role as justice minister she had been involved in a conflict of interest scandal when she promoted her husbands firm Oravida while on official Government business in China. Here is a link to her “career” timeline. In the case of Judith Collins the police where not involved at all because John Key started an “official” inquiry into what Judith Collins has been up to but the margins in which the high court judge is allowed to operate are so narrow that it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.
These are just some of the ways in which the police force has been either active or inactive depending of the person who is the subject of an official complaint in what can only be described as highly politicised cases. It appears that the police is no long and independent part of the tripartite (Separation of powers) system of government but is wholly owned by another part of that system being the legislative branch. That would be the ruling coalition under John Key.
So what if we can’t trust our police force to be independent anymore? What if our police force is no longer able to make their own decisions on who to prosecute for crimes or even worse is being trained and used to enforce laws that go against our basic human rights such as no unreasonable search ans seizures, invasion of our privacy, arrests based on our political views or just because our prime minister doesn’t like you?
As the situation stands we still have those rights that protect us from all of the above. On paper that is.
But this morning a person on the Facebook page (Which was removed by Facebook because anonymous complaints had been made against the page) called John Key has let down New Zealand a post was published which detailed the experience of one of her friends.
The gentleman in question was stopped for an alcohol breathalyzer test. He passed the test but he was not allowed to leave. He was forced to have his finger prints taken and while he argued his case they threatened with arrest unless he complied. While I have not been able to verify this independently I thought that I would check about what as a citizen you are required to divulge and what not. Here is the link to a page which makes it clear that under no circumstance are you legally obliged to give your finger prints or other identifiers. Not unless you are charged with a crime. Do not become angry or give them a reason to arrest you such as resisting arrest. Yep they will try to do that. If need be volunteer to come with them to the station (I know this takes time but this is your basic right to privacy and to be safe against unreasonable search and seizure) . That way they can’t arrest you and you will be protected against finger printing and other data gathering. Remember thought this is for breaches of your rights, If you do not pass an alcohol test other rules apply!
Educate your friends about this and make sure you always have a camera or phone with camera on you and film what happens to you. Alternatively you might want to invest in a car camera which records what happens when you are being stopped by the police. This is important because it means you have a video backup for your story for when the police is trying to violate your rights.
But what about those buses? If you pass an alcohol test they have no reason to ask you the get into one of them but I’m sure they will find a way around that. They are a serious encroachment on our right to say no to the police and they will be used to gather way more data than they need and they really should be of a serious concern to you. The fact is that while the police might think twice about driving you to a station when you refuse to coöperate it is much easier to get their colleagues to haul you into one of those buses. Again video everything and make sure you have a phone or a camera on you.
Here are your basic rights in a nutshell:
What rights do I have when I’m dealing with the Police?
You usually have the right to not give the Police any personal details. However in some situations you legally have to give your personal details, such as your name, age and address:
- if you’re driving or riding your bike – the Police can stop any vehicle and ask the driver (or rider) for their personal details, including (in addition to the above) telephone number and occupation.
- if you’ve been arrested
- if you’re in a pub and Police think you’re under-age
- if they think you’re a truant (not at school when you’re supposed to be)
Even if you are legally required to give your personal details, that doesn’t mean you have to give them any other information or make any further statements. However if you refuse to give the Police the information they are legally allowed to request, then you can be arrested.
You don’t have to go with the Police to the Police Station unless you’ve been arrested. If you agree to go with them without being arrested, you can change your mind and leave at any time (unless you’ve failed a breath/blood test while driving).
You don’t have to give a verbal or written statement to the Police, no matter what the situation is. If you decide to make a statement you can change your mind and don’t have to go ahead with it. Any statement you do choose to make can be used as evidence against you later.
If I get stopped on suspicion of drinking and driving, what happens?
The Police can ask you to take a breath-screening test. If you refuse, or you fail the breath-screening test, they can require you to go to a Police station for an evidential breath test or blood test or both. If you refuse to go to the station they can arrest you. You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you take an evidential breath or blood test.