Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Drunk Town

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Ultimately, we’re not seeing clear results from the behavioural campaigns (“How we’re drinking”, etc).

    Parents could help here. The fact I experience is that parents know about , aid and abet preloading before their kids hit the street. Parents don't quite click that what appears to be a relatively "happy slightly tipsy" kid on their way to town , can become an "unhappy agro attention seeking kid" by the time a shared taxi gets them there.
    Police need to address that many yoof are enjoying the one and only vice that is legal whilst knowing about all the other stuff that achieves a great outcome, albeit illegal. Society says it's ok to get drunk. Society says here's a number, we can measure by. There has been no education or understanding as to how alcohol gets one to that number.So, kids experiment and parents don't really judge because they passed their test of experimentation, or not, ((and those ones are our statistics) . Like anything, we have success and failure. Alcohol is no different.
    For crying out loud , can't we accept not everyone can handle alcohol successfully? Given a choice (and I know pot smokers), not handling alcohol is a no brainer for them so how about we accept that a variation of substance could help a mature society be just that. The vomit etc, when I cleaned the Powerstation for a job, was just a night out with drunks there. Booze spilled, faces spilled, incapacity was rife. Now, I'll step over it. Now, I don't go where it is. Nothing has changed, except there used to be toilets in and around Q St. So we reap what we sow. How about we address our inability to educate our kids? The Police need to show a community spirit.
    Sad.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Beautifully put Sofie, really getting to the heart of things. Thank you.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to vangam,

    Just admit it Mathew, you cant seriously defend the ‘arrest more people’ as a solution to this perceived problem. Just as ‘suspend more liquor licenses’ wont work – unless of course you want to lock young people out of bar work. Expecting 19 and 20 yr olds to ‘police’ 40yr old and 50yr old patrons is not only unworkable but also very unfair.

    It's not a long-term solution, but nor is doing nothing. And when the narrative is about how people feel unsafe after dark because of alcohol-fuelled violence, it's got to be worth discussing ways to make it easier to deal with violent drunks that stop short of having to take them all the way through the court system - which is a great way to tie up police resources on the night, and later on. At present the only choices for the police are arrest, warn, release, or arrest, charge, release, prosecute.

    If it's not feasible for young people to enforce licensing requirements, perhaps there needs to be a conversation about their suitability for that work? "It's too hard" is not, IMO, an acceptable response to talking about dealing with intoxicated patrons. The law exists for a reason. If it can't be enforced, dispense with it or work out how to make enforcement possible.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    What you guys have missed is that the police can already arbitrarily lock someone up for the night.

    Not legally they can’t (s22 BORA for those playing along at home.)

    They have full power to decide to arrest someone, or not, and decide to release them without charge that night, or in the morning. That's pretty bloody arbitrary in my book, NZBORA notwithstanding.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    No, they don't. A constable must have reasonable and probable grounds to think you have committed an specific offence.

    They have discretion over who they arrest, but they can not arrest people in the absence of reasonable and probable grounds to think a specific offence has been committed.

    it’s got to be worth discussing ways to make it easier to deal with violent drunks that stop short of having to take them all the way through the court system

    Er that is rather the thing we don't want to do. The police should not be allowed to dispense punishment; that is not their role.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    A constable must have reasonable and probable grounds to think you have committed an specific offence.

    They have discretion over who they arrest, but they can not arrest people in the absence of reasonable and probable grounds to think a specific offence has been committed.

    Oh picky bloody picky. I hoped that went without saying, but obviously you needed to see it spelled out in writing. And what constitutes "reasonable and probable grounds" is quite open to interpretation, it seems, given the behaviour we've seen with policing of things like student protests. That looked extremely arbitrary to me.

    The police should not be allowed to dispense punishment; that is not their role.

    hmm. What, exactly, are they doing with traffic offences, then?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I think you might be defining the difference between 'can' and 'may'.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    They have discretion over who they arrest, but they can not arrest people in the absence of reasonable and probable grounds to think a specific offence has been committed.

    Relevant case: Chris Fowlie's acquittal after being arrested subsequent to a "random" search on K Road.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    policing of things like student protests. That looked extremely arbitrary to me

    and planned

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Oh picky bloody picky. I hoped that went without saying, but obviously you needed to see it spelled out in writing.

    Er, you said the cops have powers of arbitrary arrest, which is exactly false. If it is picky to point out the fundamental bulwarks of individual liberty from an oppressive state, then I am quite happy to be picky. They do have discretion in the exercise of those powers, which is another fundamental part of the system.

    (In traffic matters the police are dealing with very very minor matters, they are subject to challenge and review in court, and they do not involve imprisonment. They are still slightly awkward.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Graham, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Er that is rather the thing we don't want to do. The police should not be allowed to dispense punishment; that is not their role.

    They decide punishments when they put people through diversion, don't they?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2011 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Diversion only operates with the consent of the offender, and works as softening of the police's power to otherwise go to court and get a conviction. So it is more of a discretion in the exercise of prosecutorial power. It isn't a stand alone power to punish in advance of a conviction.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    If the police find someone drunk and incapable they should take them home and tuck them into bed, that would solve the problem and it would be cheaper than clogging up the courts with hungover people.
    There, I said it.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    And if said person happens to aspirate and die, the Police will be held responsible. There's a reason they don't take people to places where they will be alone.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I'm not saying that crews should roam the streets at night and pick up anyone drunk and incapable and ship them off to the marmite-factories, but it's a discussion worth having.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    exsoylent

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It isn't a stand alone power to punish in advance of a conviction

    how does locking up street protestors fit with that?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Relevant case: Chris Fowlie’s acquittal after being arrested subsequent to a “random” search on K Road.

    Is there some kind of Nixonian world view at play? Or are students and stoners just fish in a barrel compared with gangs and drunken hooligans?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3907 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    how does locking up street protestors fit with that?

    Bingo. All the rainbows-and-unicorns statements about NZBORA and civil liberties doesn't cut much mustard on the reality of effectively-arbitrary exercise of powers of arrest and detention. I'd be willing to bet that the protesters who were released without charge would've been held for significantly longer had it not been for the "Occupy Central Police Station" event.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    how does locking up street protestors fit with that?

    Well either they were arrested for a reason, or they were subject to unlawful arrest, probably involving assault and false imprisonment. In principle, the courts should offer redress. In practice yes there are difficulties practically enforcing laws. This is one reason that giving the police more powers to lock people up is a fucking atrocious idea.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I’m not saying that crews should roam the streets at night and pick up anyone drunk and incapable and ship them off to the marmite-factories, but it’s a discussion worth having.

    There does seem to be a shortage of Marmite at the moment.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    This is one reason that giving the police more powers to lock people up is a fucking atrocious idea.

    Because making them be honest about why they're arresting someone is such a terrible idea. We've just established that the police will arrest someone if they wish to, NZBORA or no. I would much, much rather that they have an appropriate lawful reason, which can be reported on and analysed, than use the Fish & Chip Act 1903 to get people off the street for a short period.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    the Fish & Chip Act 1903

    Aha!, I looked it up and I think you made that up.
    Even I can't imagine the NZ Police arresting someone because they didn't like the style of his cravat and we do have laws that cover quite low levels of disorderly behaviour. So, while we may have no law to protect Mr Wimpy Average from seeing a drunk person and being offended we do have laws covering the behaviour of said drunk.
    Perhaps the problem lies in the Police attitude to "civilians"* rather than the existing laws.
    * this annoys me no end as the police are not the military and therefore also civilians but they like to think we are some sort of inferior kind of citizen.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    the Fish & Chip Act 1903

    quality lawmaking

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    We’ve just established that the police will arrest someone if they wish to, NZBORA or no

    No actually we haven't established that the NZ police regularly engage in arbitrary arrests. If they do, there are well known remedies available, including BORA remedies and the criminal law, and legitimising that behaviour by changing the law is not the right way to deal with the problem.

    I would imagine that a blanket policy of locking up everyone caught fighting would either have to develop so many exceptions as to not be a blanket policy, or would in fact be the introduction of arbitrary arrest into New Zealand law --- see AG v Hewitt [2002] 2 NZLR 110.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

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