Monday, May 16, 2011

Police support collective punishment

Over the weekend, the Manawatu Standard (offline) reported that a senior member of the New Zealand Police was advocating collective punishment:

Friends and family of repeat drink-drivers who kill other motorists need to be made accountable as much as the offender, a top ranking police officer has told a Rotorua inquest.


[National road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose] said police would support legislation which recognised the culpability of people who failed to prevent a drink driver reoffending. Current legislation set the bar too high to prove someone was a party to the offending.

"It is a community responsibility as well as a police responsibility to crack down on recidivist drink drivers," she said.

Punishing people for crimes committed by others, in which they had no part, has a name: Collective punishment. It is recognised as a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. There is no prohibition against it in international law in times of peace, because it is so patently unjust as to be unthinkable in any justice system worthy of the name. Sadly, our police seem not to be interested in justice anymore. All they care about is order, and they're quite willing to punish the innocent to achieve it. Sadly, with Judith Collins as Minister, I expect it to become government policy in short order.