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Bill to protect police officers

Bill to protect police officers involved in shootings to go before Parliament

National MP Paul Hutchison says he is delighted his bill which proposes to protect the identity of police officers involved in firearms incidents, has been drawn from the Parliamentary ballot.

“It is very timely that today my Police Complaints Authority (Conditional Name Protection) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the ballot to receive its first reading in Parliament.

“There is a real risk in a small country like New Zealand that a police officer or their family could be endangered by having the officer’s name published after a shooting on the job.

“Constable Keith Abbott explained in an affidavit to the court hearing the Steven Wallace case that his family had been subjected to a number of threats, forced into protective custody and gone through much turmoil and distress.

“The stress that Constable Abbott and his family have endured after the landmark decision by the High Court to allow him to be named is proof that this legislation is necessary.

“For 60 years there had been a convention not to name police officers involved in shootings while on duty. Now police officers involved in such an incident will become hunted by the media and the public.

“This Bill recognises that police take on extraordinary risk in the course of their duty. It is natural justice that they and their families are not further penalised or endangered by having their names published, at least until the Police Complaints Authority has released its findings or they are charged with an offence,” Dr Hutchison said.

Dr Hutchison’s bill will go before Parliament for the first time next year.

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