The law of what we can and cannot do during a coronavirus outbreak changes almost every hour. Some of what is written now may be affected by changes in pandemic control forces.
But we must make sure that people trust any new powers granted to the authorities. They should be clear to everyone and applied consistently and transparently, which is currently not the case.
For example, on weekends Victorian teen was fined $ 1652 for leaving home to go to a driving lesson with mom. Police said their activity was an “inconsequential trip.”
But New South Wales State Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Frank Kelly ABC that in New South Wales you cannot go to your vacation home unless it is “necessary.” Victorians say they can go to their holiday homes on Easter until they are subject to strict quarantine upon arrival.
These are just two examples in two states of a broader core problem that Americans consider unconstitutional. "void for uncertainty“The law is invalid because it is not clear enough.
Appeals to common sense do little to ease fears that the situation may worsen. Broad strategies to contain and mitigate the effects of coronavirus can go on for many more months.
Remember Fitzgerald's request
Maybe we can learn from a landmark Fitzgerald Request Queensland Police, more than three decades ago.
The investigation revealed widespread systemic corruption in the police, politics, and civil society. This request represents a change in police responsibility.
There is another, less well-known or appreciated aspect of Fitzgerald research. He emphasized that the police must have the consent of the community: the police must ensure that their practice is credible, that people will be treated fairly and the police right will be used properly.
These are standard police scholarship questions.
Pandemic policing gives rise to many issues that, with consent, agree to the essence of policing.
How police resources are mobilized and local decision-making practices are vital. Just look at the confusing circumstances of the landing Ruby Princess Cruise Ship in Sydney, which was the main cause of the spread of COVID-19 in New South Wales and beyond.
The Australian border forces, the New South Wales State Health Authority, and the New South Wales State Police have been charged differently, so there is certainly a need to conduct a serious investigation into network failure and specific responsibilities.
Police discretion must be fair
Daily street policing is paramount in the fight against the pandemic: when does the police decide to intervene and ask someone what they are for?
Vague legislative provisions are often a source of poor police discretion. But the answer cannot be found in taking away any discretion, a sign of "police with zero tolerance."
There are many things that can be done, but a few simple ones come to mind.
Any legislation or regulation must be precisely drafted. This has not happened and is causing confusion. Just look at the level of uncertainty in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
We need clear-cut offenses, clear arguments, and a clear distinction between preferred practice or guidance and regulated behavior.
For example, what does it mean to be in your own “area” for permitted trips outside the home?
Discussion on ABC radio in Melbourne recently led to the fact that subscribers punished a person who thought he would like to go to the beach to practice away from his residence. Live, he asked Victoria Graham Ashton, Chief Commissioner of Police, if everything was all right.
The chief commissioner did not say yes or no, he simply called for "common sense." But what will be reasonable and common sense – 1 km, 2 km, 5 km or 10 km, etc.? Is it allowed to drive a car?
More than common sense
Common sense is not a way to provide police discretion will be used appropriately, nor will it give the community confidence in the law. It can only be a strange case, currently causing confusion or fear, but it changes every day.
Data on the use of this discretion should be recorded and made available to the public in real time. Equally important is the availability of data on police activities.
Most jurisdictions have a crime statistics agency, and these agencies should be required to compare data to determine who is being detained, where, for which crime, and with what consequences. Report it every day when we make health data.
This should not be data on the final result, which determines whether the fine will be paid or challenged in court in a few months. But this should reflect the immediate actions of the police, and this should be made public and timely.
As the pandemic continues and can worsen, pandemic policing can go in a direction that the wider population has never encountered.
Therefore, 30 years after Fitzgerald, we need to reinforce the notion that policing by consent, with transparency and accountability, is vital.
If a public support it is necessary to support during the pandemic, we need to provide legal clarity and a detailed understanding of what is being done in the name of exception. Pandemic police must have very real limits and reliable real-time reporting.
Pandemic police should be carried out with public confidence and not with confusion (2020, April 8)
restored April 9, 2020
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