Tuesday, March 09, 2021

The latest police racism

If you were wondering what the police are doing instead of tracking violent white supremacists plotting mass-murder, now we know: harassing Māori kids and photographing them for "intelligence":

Last year, RNZ reported that young Māori in Wairarapa had been stopped and photographed by police when they were walking along the street. RNZ can now reveal this was the tip of the iceberg. Across the country, police are approaching innocent young people, photographing them and collecting their personal details. Then, using a specially-designed mobile phone app, they are sending them to a national police database, which can be accessed by police staff in real time.
A police source tells them that this is all about collecting "intelligence", and that there is bureaucratic pressure on officers to collect as much as possible. Throw in police biases against youth, Māori and Pasifika, and you have a tool and a culture which enables and entrenches systematic racism. The data is retained indefinitely - no Privacy Act controls on police! - and naturally the police won't provide ethnicity data on who they're photographing.

And remember, these are kids who legally cannot consent to being questioned by police without a parent, caregiver, lawyer, or other adult present. So any claim that these photos and information are taken "by consent" is bullshit. There is an obvious power imbalance between police and young people, and as the article makes clear, it is abused to the hilt by police eager to make their targets and collect "intelligence".

This practice must end, and any "intelligence" sourced from it must be deleted. It is that simple.