The Commissioner of Police today called for widespread public and community input on the government's discussion document Policing Directions in New Zealand for the 21st Century.
Released today as part of the review of the Police Act 1958, the discussion document contains proposals to equip Police with a new Act. A Bill is scheduled to be introduced to Parliament before the end of this calendar year.
Commissioner Broad encouraged the public and Police staff to come to grips with the content which will help shape legislation to guide New Zealand policing for the future.
"While some parts of the 1958 Police Act remain useful today, new legislation needs to recognise that modern-day policing has changed a great deal.
"Compared to 50 years ago, today's society is more open. Family and community relationships have evolved and technological advances and globalisation have brought high-speed communications, more outward-looking citizens, and new forms of crime which threaten people's security."
"Because policing touches peoples' lives in many different ways, all Kiwis have a stake in how policing is organised and delivered," he says.
"Police has a unique place in society, and within our constitution. This underlines the importance of as many people as possible, from all walks of life, providing their views on what sort of policing they want and expect."
As day-to-day practitioners, Police staff are also being encouraged to provide their views.
The website outlines how the public can provide input, including an online form.
Hardcopies of the discussion document are being distributed to public libraries and police stations and will be available for reference at these locations in the week of 4 June 2007.
Summary versions of the discussion document are also available from the Police Act website in a range of languages.
Responses to the discussion document must be provided by 31 July this year.
Proposed policing directions
For ease of reference, the discussion document is broadly broken down into the following areas:
Establishing principles for policing, which although implied now, are not stated in legislation. • Maintaining Police impartiality • Upholding appropriate standards of conduct and integrity • Providing strong links with communities.
Bolstering Police effectiveness by: • Reinforcing clear command and control of Police • Allowing faster identification of detained people • Enabling modern policing tactics to fight serious and organised crime.
Ensuring Police has a modern workforce structure by: • Strengthening pre-employment vetting • Creating a common set of employment conditions for all staff • Introducing a single Code of Conduct for all staff • Tailoring the assignment of police powers to specific roles.
Improving the oversight and management of Police by: • Ensuring industrial action doesn't affect policing • Confirming Police's legal status and functions • Clarifying the relationship between Police and government • Strengthening accountability for Police performance.
Exploring ways to 'future proof' the legislation by: • Allowing for technology changes • Potentially allowing greater use of infringement notices for lower-level offences (e.g. liquor ban breaches) • Considering integrity testing to support ethical behaviour • Looking at cost recovery for special policing services (e.g. providing security at rock concerts)
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