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Police Ignore Concerns Over Offensive Behaviour


5 August 2008

Police Ignore Concerns of Families Over Offensive Behaviour

Family First NZ says that the police’s liberal interpretation of what is deemed ‘indecent’ means they are failing to acknowledge the concerns and failing to act in the best interests of the welfare and protection of families.

In response to an official complaint by Family First NZ to the police about the upcoming Erotica Expo advertising stunt known as “Boobs on Bikes”, the police have said “In the opinion of the Police, given the standards of decency observed in this day and age, a female being topless in a parade on a weekday in Queen Street will not in itself constitute an indecent act.”

Based on the police interpretation of what is indecent, Family First then asked for clarification, putting forward four scenarios:
1. would the police deem it legal and appropriate for 2-3 women to walk topless down Queen St in the middle of the day holding placards for any cause they wish to march for?
2. would the police deem it legal and appropriate for 2-3 men to walk naked down Queen St in the middle of the day holding placards for any cause they wish to march for?
3. would a complaint made by the member of the public against a person serving in a retail shop topless be ignored by the police?
4. would a complaint made by a teacher or parent regarding a woman walking topless past a primary school or through the sports fields on a Saturday morning be ignored by the police?

The police response said that “there can be no definitive answer for hypothetical questions of this nature” and it would depend on the circumstances at the time.

“We completely disagree with their interpretation of what is indecent and offensive and believe most families also would.” asks Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Where does it stop? If a topless parade in one of NZ’s busiest streets is not deemed indecent or offensive, what can we expect the police to allow next?”

“This is not a Santa parade or a celebration of winning the America’s Cup or gold medals at the Olympics. This is a parade of porn stars who certainly aren’t shy or reserved about the level of exposure they are giving – or receiving!”

“The Erotica Expo that it advertises is R18 yet the police deem this street parade, essentially a commercial advertisement for the Expo, completely acceptable. If the organisers can figure out that their Expo should be rated, why can’t the police determine that the march should also meet a standard.”

“For those who stand for decency, and who seek to protect families and children, we argue strongly that a topless parade during lunchtime down a major street advertising the porn industry will cause widespread offence to families and children who may be there for completely unrelated matters, and as it is a highly public area, is therefore indecent, and should be stopped,” says Mr McCoskrie.


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