Saturday, 4 April 2020

Police using official documents for propaganda


“The Police are using new guidelines for frontline officers for propaganda instead of being open and transparent with the public about their new powers”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“On Thursday, the Epidemic Response Committee requested that Police Commissioner Mike Bush provide it with the operational guidelines under which frontline officers are exercising their broad new powers.

“Instead of complying with the Committee’s request, Police briefed a single journalist who then wrote a story in which Police complain about a lack of power.

“It is completely unacceptable that Police are using official documents for propaganda instead of being transparent with the Committee and the public.

“Police have an opportunity to encourage respect for the law by being open with the public about how its officers will use their new powers.

“Police have extraordinary powers at present and a large degree of discretion in how officers use them. There’s confusion about what New Zealanders can and can’t do during the lockdown. The Police Commissioner’s recent language has also created some concern about whether the rule of law is being upheld.

“The rule of law requires that rules are clear and publicly accessible. That is not the case at present.

“Police can’t demand respect from the public but must earn it. Police have an opportunity to encourage public respect for the law by being open and transparent and releasing the operational guidelines for frontline officers.

“New Zealanders need to know how Police’s extraordinary new powers are being exercised.”