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The police hold a privileged position in society.
They, and (and only a few other agents of the government) are granted the power to remove our freedom and set aside, pending trial, many of our other basic human rights.
The word of a policeman is given far greater credence in a courtroom than the word of the accused or a witness.
In order to allow the police to carry out their onerous task of enforcing the laws of the land effectively and with an even hand, we must trust them to be honest, impartial, honourable and reliable. When that trust turns out to be misplaced, the very fabric of our society threatens to unravel in a most dangerous way.
It was with horror therefore, that I read a few days ago about the apparent abuse of police power in respect to a pro-euthanasia group and today I read more disturbing information on this subject.
What the hell is going on here?
In this particular instance, the police clearly breached the trust of the public by acting in a deceptive, dishonest and decidedly biased manner -- effectively violating the rights of those affected.
Given how much power is vested in your average policeman, this is totally unacceptable.
So what form of censure did these policemen receive for their egregious violation of trust?
Not even a reprimand.
If those further up the food chain with in the police force think this kind of abuse of power is acceptable then we are in very big trouble.
If our politicians believe that this culture of acceptance within the ranks of police management is acceptable then we are utterly rooted!
To be honest, I'm utterly sick and tired of the dual standards which have crept into our society and I believe it is something that must be addressed without delay.
If you or I enter into a contract with someone and then break that contract then we are guilty of a breach of contract and can be fined or otherwise censured.
When the government enters into a contract with the people of the nation (remember lifetime firearms licenses, lifetime drivers licenses, etc) and then reneges, that's something that carries no censure or penalty.
If you or I were to hold a millionaire (such as Kim Dotcom) and his family at gunpoint whilst ransacking his house and carting off his valuables, we would be arrested and thrown in jail for a very long time.
When our Police do the same thing (at the prompting of a foreign power) without a legal right then the matter is considered to be an "unlawful act" and nobody is charged or punished with any offense.
If you or I were to spy on our neighbours without a legal right to do so, we would be severely punished under the privacy act.
When the GCSB does exactly the same thing, the government changes the law and ignores the crime that has been committed.
And now it appears that when the police violate the essential trust that has been vested in them by the citizens of the nation, it's dismissed as a seemingly trivial thing.
Absolutely not good enough, at all, ever!
So where is the public outrage?
Where is the concern that, with this case as an example, the police themselves appear to be above the law and empowered to misuse their power in any way they choose -- citing "good faith" as their justification for such abuses.
If the police really want to go down the road of "the ends justifies the means" then how long before we become like the Philippines and start shooting suspected drug dealers and users in the street with impunity?
And why are our politicians so unconcerned at the corrosion of the essential trust between the people and the police?
Is it because they know that people in glass houses can't risk throwing stones?
Forget about the dangers of a third world war, a massive meteorite strike or some kind of pandemic. The biggest risk we face as a people right now is apathy and right now it is rampant in New Zealand.
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