Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Zealand Police Lauded Worldwide for Tolerant Approach to Occupy Protests

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/01/2012 - 22:18
"We are proud to be doing it by the book"; NZ Police lauded worldwide for tolerant approach to policing Occupy protests
On a cheery Christmas Eve at Occupy 2.0 aka Occupy Queen Street, the second of four established occupations in Auckland, we had the pleasure of a visit from Inspector Danny Meade of the NZ Police.
Immediately quelling any nervousness as to the purpose of his visit, Inspector Meade spent some time engaging directly with us, and with members of the public, in a jovial and edifying exchange regarding many topics of conversation.
We chatted about the Police stance on Occupy protests in New Zealand; the Occupy movement worldwide; the international perception of the New Zealand police as a result of their submission to the Court in support of our right to peacefully assemble and protest; and outreach that NZ Police are engaging in at community level, specifically with the homeless here in Auckland.
It was our pleasure to inform Inspector Meade that an international organisation "Occupy Police", comprised of present and past police officers who endorse Occupy principles and had published a very supportive article on the NZ Police as a result of their stance thus far.
Inspector Meade acknowledged the international recognition of the NZ Police policy of respecting democratic & human rights. He confirmed that the Police are proud of their handling of the protests to date and that they believe they are "doing it by the book".
Indeed, the Police submission to the Court included references to the NZ Police Manual regarding protest policing.
When talk turned to the benefits that Occupy Auckland and other occupations worldwide have provided to the community, with regards to housing, feeding, caring for and reintegrating members of the public who were falling through the cracks of the old system, Inspector Meade informed us of a little-known program run by a fellow officer, established in 2009.
Constable Tony Tatupu has a past beyond his current role in community policing; he was in fact a founding player in the Auckland Warriors Rugby League team in 1995. After joining the NZ Police in 2003, he is now part of the Auckland City Community Action Team, working together with Lifewise and the Salvation Army, to create bridge relationships and positive outcomes between homeless people in Auckland and the Police. [More details about that program can be found here.]
Inspector Meade consented to our request for permission to publish his comments; yet another sign of open and community-minded policing.
In contrast to the Police stance, last week the "Supercity" Council threw the book at protesters, unsuccessfully attempting to have the Court impose 21-day prison sentences for breaches of their by-laws.
I would like to personally congratulate NZ Police for standing up for the rights of all New Zealanders, and doing their part to truly create "Safer Communities Together."
Occupy Auckland Media Team

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