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Police Bill: 1980s Queensland?

6 September 2001

The Law and Order Select Committee today began hearing submissions on the Police Amendment Bill (No 2) and National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall says the Bill is a direct attack on police independence.

"The Government risks blurring police independence like 1980s Queensland.

"The strength of the submissions against this Bill illustrates how ill-conceived the Bill is and the Government is pushing this legislation through without giving enough time for debate.

"This legislation will dramatically change the way police operate in New Zealand. Ministers will be able to direct the Police Commissioner on staffing, delivery and pubic safety issues - this goes a lot further than the colour of police cars. The Bill effectively puts George Hawkins in charge of New Zealand's police force," Mr Ryall said.

A submission from one of New Zealand's most well known Police Commissioners, Bob Walton, says that 'Government control over Police could be seen as 'Police State' and the temptation to give directions for political considerations could be too strong. The Police must be seen to be free of political interference and bias'.

Deputy Police Commissioner Lyn Provost has described the Bill as 'novel' and without parallel anywhere in the world.

The President of the Police Managers' Guild, Superintendent John Reilly, says that the changes will 'undermine the effectiveness of police...and will impact on the established convention of police independence from direct political interference. ...The proposed changes will reduce the overall effectiveness of police operations'.


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