Monday, July 21, 2008

'Towards a Safer New Zealand' ideas to be considered

The Government is prepared to look at least one of the law and order policy ideas being put forward by the Police Association.

Police Association President Greg O'Connor this morning launched a policy document titled "Towards a Safer New Zealand".

It suggests investigating UK style antisocial behaviour orders, lowering the age of criminal responsibility, allowing DNA sampling of all arrested suspects, and penalties for defence lawyers who routinely contribute to court delays. Other recommendations include boosting frontline police resources and more amendments to bail laws.

Police Minister Annette King has already looked at UK antisocial behaviour orders and says they have aspects that are interesting.

"I think what we need to do is to test their workability in a New Zealand situation, because they are not a panacea, but they could be a tool."

Legislation allowing the use of antisocial behaviour orders in Rotorua is due to come before Parliament in the near future

Mrs King suggests the Police Association's call for lowering the age of criminal responsibility is not likely to gain Government support. She says it is internationally recognised that New Zealand has a good approach to youth crime issues.

Mrs King says New Zealand does not jail young offenders too early, because it would put them on the road to a life of crime among hardened criminals.

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