Concern over police accountability under proposed G20 security laws

from ABC and Cairns News

Criminal law experts say existing police accountability rules will be dumped for the duration of Brisbane’s G20 summit. They say the normal requirement to register any arrest, search or property seizure in a central database will be scrapped, making it harder for police to be made accountable.

Stephanie Smail

MARK COLVIN: The Queensland Government is facing more criticism over tough security laws proposed for next year’s G20 summit.

Criminal law experts say existing police accountability rules will be dumped for the duration of the summit. They say the rules will scrap the normal requirement to register any arrest, search or property seizure in a central database. That would make it harder for police to be held to account.

Stephanie Smail reports.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The Queensland Government has already come under attack for the proposed G20 security laws.

The issues previously raised include the long list of everyday items banned from the security zone, including eggs, and a decision to deny automatic bail for people who’ve been arrested.

The problems don’t stop there, according to criminal lawyer and member of the Queensland Law Society, Ken Mackenzie.

He’s concerned that police won’t have to register arrests or searches in a central register as they usually do.

KEN MACKENZIE: The current laws in Queensland have been very carefully developed over a number of years, partly in response to Queensland’s experience of police corruption and abuse of powers in the pre-Fitzgerald Inquiry days. So we now have laws that are designed to ensure that police officers are accountable when they use their powers to search people or to enter people’s vehicles. And taking away that central register certainly reduces the transparency.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Ken Mackenzie describes the register as a way to monitor how police have exercised their powers. He says dumping it for the summit will make it harder to report problems.

KEN MACKENZIE: The problem is, if you feel that you have been wronged by a police officer or some other person, like a security guard, who’s been appointed under the act, if you feel they’ve gone too far and have violated your right to privacy or assaulted you in some way, or unlawfully detained you, it’s more difficult to find out who’s responsible for that and to take action about it. It’s more difficult to stand up for your rights if proper records are not kept of what was done.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Lawyers aren’t the only ones concerned.

Michael Cope is from the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties.

MICHAEL COPE: There’s no reason why the police should not be subject to the ordinary, basic accountability provisions which are contained in that legislation. And we think that’s a very concerning step. If the police engage in misconduct, they should be subject to exactly the same restraints as they are subject to at the moment.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: But the Queensland Police Union doesn’t believe officers will abuse the powers.

Incredulously, the union president and megalomaniac, Ian Leavers, says they’ll act responsibly.

Qld Police Union

The president of the union, is police officer Ian Leavers, who unfortunately is the mouthpiece for the rogue element in the Qld Police Service Inc. Following the unfortunate shooting death of a police officer on the gold Coast two years ago, Leavers screamed over the air at whatever radio station would put up with him,” “the only people who should own guns are the police” he ranted, clearly showing his true fascist colors and those of a large portion of his colleagues.

Meanwhile back to the planned new powers proposed for Mr leavers and his colleagues:

IAN LEAVERS: Some of these powers in relation to stopping and searching people, police will only use them as a last resort, as they do now, and where there is reasonable cause to suggest that a search and stopping of someone takes place. They won’t be abused. Police don’t abuse them now,

And I’ve got to say, when it comes to stopping and searching people, and sometimes we have to do strip searches; that is not something which is enjoyable for police. In fact, police don’t enjoy it and they don’t want to do it. They only do it as a last resort.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The new laws will only apply in the security areas designated for the summit.

Ian Leavers says people who are doing the right thing won’t be affected.

IAN LEAVERS: Police will be working right around the state to promote a very positive image. And it’s not about being draconian and brutality, that is not the way we work, we don’t work like that. And you’ve also got the morals and the standards of the police officer individually, and I think people have to take that into account, because we’re not thugs. We try to use the least amount of force on every single occasion.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Ken Mackenzie disagrees.

KEN MACKENZIE: It’s nae to suggest that powers of this nature only affect people who are doing the wrong thing. A person may be not breaking any laws, may not have any criminal intent or even intent to cause problems, but suspicion may fall on them because they’re carrying a carton of eggs, which a police officer might think is intended to be used as a projectile.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: A Queensland Parliamentary Committee is examining the G20 Safety and Security Bill.

A spokesman says the committee has yet to give the bill any detailed consideration, and the committee has not formed any views on the bill yet.

The Queensland Law Society says it’s in the process of writing a submission to the committee to express its concerns.

Cairns News has numerous legal opinions stating that the only lawful function of Qld Police Inc, as a corporation, is to earn money which it does by fleecing it from the public. IT IS ALL A BIG GAME OF BLUFF!