Friday, November 02, 2007

Protection orders

John Key wants to give police the ability to issue temporary protection orders on the spot. Everybody seems to think it is a good idea - the Women's Refuge, the Police Association and civil libertarians. And it's difficult to understand why anyone would deny protection to women and children (or even a man). But here's the sticking point:

In 2005, 4236 people were charged with breaching protection orders.

Is this another instance of doing more of what doesn't necessarily work? Or are breaches a measure of 'success' because they enable the police to then arrest the offender? In which case, why not go straight to an arrest? Instead of a temporary protection order being issued, why not the power to arrest for a temporary period of detention? Isn't waiting for people to breach protection orders a risky business?

And if you can't arrest someone on the word of another why can you issue a protection order? Can't protection orders be provocative and worsen the situation?

Then we have people who abuse the protection order facility already, making false complaints or exaggerated claims. I was told of one woman who routinely picked fights with her partner and then called the cops to 'punish' him. In reality the children were at risk from her - not him.

I am sure this area is a minefield - one which I do not properly understand. Help me out if you can.

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