Judith Collins: I believe in the police

Who would want to be an undercover police officer? You put your life on the line, you leave your home and family, you assume an identity, you live with people who are violent drug dealers in constant fear for your life, and then they start to suspect you.

Back in 2009, Nelson police targeted the Red Devils gang in the undercover Operation Explorer. Explorer resulted in more than 150 charges. That sounds like a great result to me.

Then the case got thrown out because Justice Collins decided the police had “broken” the “law” by forging some documents.

Now call me old-fashioned but I thought the whole point of a police investigation was to get a prosecution? If you put in all that time and money in you need to have some people in prison at the end of it. Surely?

Those poor Nelson police didn’t even get to crush a vehicle.

Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess has said officers involved in breaking the law “were acting in the honest belief that their actions were legal because they were the police and the gang members were all really dodgy looking with tats and stuff.”

I agree with the police. It’s simply outrageous that people who have tattoos, beards, loud motorcycles and listen to 1980s Metallica albums are still out on the streets.

When will this utter nonsense end?

There are a couple of simple solutions. Parliament could amend the law to allow police to take the action deemed necessary to protect officers risking their lives. After all, if faked identity documents and even birth certificates can be used to provide a cover story for victims of domestic violence trying to escape their abusive psrtners, many people would say, what’s the difference with a faked search warrant? Or why can’t the police embezzle money from various organisations if it means realising more money for frontline officers? Or why can’t they taser hippies? Or perjure themselves? Or become drug dealers to try and clear out our bulging evidence rooms? Or give suspects the bash if they’re not cooperative? Or plant evidence if they don’t have quite enough for a prosecution and they’re pretty sure they’ve got the guy?

The difference is that some of those are allowed by law and some aren’t.

Sometimes the law really is an ass. This is one of them. We should change it.


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