November 14, 2007

What Checks and Balances?

So the anti-riot laws introduced after a serious riot and subsequent revenge attacks are here to stay, after the Ombudsman's recommendations. But here is the rub though - the government accepted the recommendation to keep the new powers, but rejected the recommendations which would have provided checks and balances. These checks and balances include:




  • the "reasonable suspicion" test for searches of persons performed under these powers.

  • accountability of the police by requiring the police commissioner to report on use of these powers anually



It seems there is a serious flaw in the review process. When the government can chose which recommendations to accept independently of, checks and balances are the first to go out the window. These new laws means one can be searched without reasonable suspicion, and with no senior level accountability.



While we would like to think that the police will use these powers responsibly, the fact is it will be abused, most likely in the name of good. With each passing legislations, our civili liberties, our privacy, and the government's accountability is slowly being whittled away. What is the point of a safe life behind bars?






Cheers,

Steve