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Govt Leaves Fisheries Officers To Fend For Selves

Government Leaves Fisheries Officers To Fend For Themselves

Heather Roy
Monday, 9 October 2006
Press Releases - Crime & Justice

Fisheries officers denied the ability to carry pepper spray and retractable batons are being placed in harm's way without the means to protect themselves, says ACT National Security Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"Fisheries officers are expected to play a policing role, but their Minister, Jim Anderton, has denied them any means of self defence in a letter that fisheries officials have been waiting three years to receive", Mrs Roy said.

"The protection of our fisheries is an important ingredient in both national security and enhancing our environment, but for officers on the 'front line', confrontational situations frequently arise.

"Government expects fisheries officers to work in what are unpredictable and dangerous circumstances. Officers must be allowed to take reasonable steps to protect themselves.

"Poaching operations are becoming more complex and sophisticated, with offenders often themselves well protected in case of confrontation by fisheries officers. Officers often have no idea just what kind of situation they are stepping into.

"Given the expectations of their job, there is no reason why they should not be allowed to carry non-lethal weapons like pepper spray, which would allow officers to defend themselves and withdraw safely from difficult situations.

"Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton must either let his officers have the means to defend themselves, or explain to his staff and the public why he does not trust them. He obviously considers officers to have all responsibility but no right to self-protection.

"We trust fisheries officers to uphold the law - they deserve better than to be abandoned by their Government", Mrs Roy said.


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