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Legislation “Hopelessly Outdated

22 June 2005

Security Industry Says Legislation “Hopelessly Outdated”

When the New Zealand Private Investigators and Security Guards Act was last revised 31 years ago, cellphones were a rarity; internet fraud was unheard of and burglars relied on tips not texts to get their information.

The security industry operates in a completely changed environment. And yet the legislation remains unchanged.

At this week’s New Zealand Securities Association (NZSA) conference, the industry is looking forward to hearing representations from each of the political parties on their policies and platforms relating to security issues.

Association chairman Scott Carter says the present legislation is “hopelessly outdated, ineffective and unenforced” and the industry has been lobbying for years to have it revised.

“The Government has acknowledged that times have changed; that the nature of the current licensing regime is cumbersome. The industry is pleased with the some of the proposed legislative reforms such as extended licensing and mandatory training, but we are frustrated by delays. Why is it taking so long to get to select committee? Why is there never any commitment as to when this might happen?”

Mr Carter says the legislation is in desperate need of reform, “yet it never seems to get an airing”.

However, the issue will be aired at the conference on Thursday, June 23 where spokespeople from five political parties have agreed to take part in a discussion on Industry Licensing: Issues and Law Order – The Political Perspective”.

MPs who have agreed to take part are the Hon Rick Barker, Tony Ryall, Ron Marks, Marc Alexander and Stephen Franks.

In addition to the legislation question, the politicians will be asked to give their party’s stance on resourcing of police numbers.

“This is always a hot election issue where the parties’ standard promise is to increase numbers of police,” Mr Carter says. “The reality is there can never be enough police. But an alternative answer to the issue of properly resourcing police is to have police work in partnership with professional security firms. We want to know where political parties sit in respect of this concept.”

Mr Carter says partnerships are already working well in a number of areas in New Zealand, but he believes the approach has wider potential to ensure the police are more effective doing their crucial role, while delegating other tasks to security firms.

“For example, once police have investigated a crime scene, it is more cost effective to have the scene guarded overnight by security officers, than tying up police resources.”

Mr Carter says the New Zealand Security Association is not advocating that security officers should be armed or have the right to carry batons (as has been suggested in some quarters), but he says security officers can and do play a valuable role supporting police work in areas such as patrolling and apprehending offenders.

“It’s about ‘smart’ use of police time and a carefully controlled partnership with professional security providers.”

The New Zealand Security Association Conference will take place at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre in Auckland, June 23 – 24.

International guest speakers will include Ken Brady, a principal of Operations for Crisis Management Associates in the United States, and Howard Moster, senior partner of Practical Protection Associates in Canada which provides security management and physical security consulting to all levels of government and many Fortune 500 companies throughout North America.

There will also be some high profile New Zealand speakers including: Professor Greg Newbold, one of New Zealand’s leading criminologists speaking on “Property Crime – what has changed and why”.

Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Hallett, Manager of the Identity Intelligence Unit in the Office of the Police Commissioner, speaking on “Identity Crimes – Current Trends and Preventative Investigative tips; and Detective Sergeant Paul Basham, Officer in Charge Bay of Plenty Law enforcement Team speaking on “Current Burglary Trends in New Zealand – the Bigger Picture”.

“We’re looking forward to some lively debate and sharing of some interesting new ideas,” Mr Carter says.

ENDS

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