Monday, January 08, 2007

More on Christchurch's gang patch ban

Before Christmas, I commented on a proposal for the Christchurch City Council to enact a bylaw banning gang patches and colours and granting police the power to "arrest people hanging out in gangs in the city". I was rather curious about how far advanced this proposal was and whether either the city council or the police had considered its compatibility with either the Bill of Rights Act or Local Government Act, so I sent in a pair of OIA requests asking for all information on it. Unfortunately, the two bodies have been less than forthcoming.

According to a spokesperson for the Christchurch City Council, they have no information on it. The proposal was made by the Police, and the first they knew of it was when the Press asked the Mayor for comment. Meanwhile, according to the police,

there is no correspondence nor documentation relating to the proposal by the Christchurch City Council to ban gang patches or colours within the inner city... this correspondence does not exist, therefore your request cannot be met.

So apparently this proposal fell fully formed out of thin air, with no documents, no position papers, no advice, no correspondence, not even a press release or media notes, despite being the subject of a newspaper article. Either the Christchurch Area Commander was simply mouthing off about his authoritarian fantasies, or someone is lying to me. Actually, I think it was likely the former, but I'll do some further poking anyway, just in case it has advanced beyond that stage.


I think it looks like a case of a reporter talking to an individual cop about something being vaguely considered before anyone actually thought the idea through, or even started talking to the appropriate people about it.

While one Police Inspector has proposed it and the mayor has supported the idea after being approached about it by the media, that doesn't mean there's necessarily any other facts to know yet in this case. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that Stuff has taken the merest whiff of a story and run with it.

The best place to find information at this stage might be emailing Gary Knowles directly

Posted by Anonymous : 1/08/2007 06:07:00 PM