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Are Community Checkpoints Legal?

The Government and Police need to confirm whether community checkpoints, set up by locals and not the Police, are lawful or not, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.

“Community checkpoints that are, at best, legally questionable have appeared in some parts of the country. If the Government and Police are going to endorse these they need to set out what the legal authority is for these checkpoints to operate, and publish clear guidelines as to the conditions under which they can be set up and operated.

“Right now there is no evidence that people operating community roadblocks have lawful authority to stop or impede vehicle movements to conduct the checks they are making.

“We are all expected to obey the law, along with the specific rules of the lockdown. It is the responsibility of the Police to enforce the law and those rules. It is up to the Police to determine whether or not a journey is within the rules, not the general public.

“While a desire to protect their local community is noble, it doesn’t give people the right to take the law into their own hands.

“New Zealanders are feeling intimidated by the presence of these checkpoints and the behaviour of those operating them. In one example a man in his seventies was stopped by a gang member and forced to turn back home. He was only going out to buy milk. This isn’t fair and it isn’t right.

“If the Government and Police are going to condone this behaviour they need to set out the rules so people are not breaking the law and that those stopped by checkpoints can be confident they are lawful.

“The Police must enforce the law fairly and consistently across the country, if community checkpoints are deemed illegal, then they must be closed.”

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