Police & GCSB Making Me Uneasy
October 24 12:00 AM
I am starting to feel very uncomfortable.
First, there were the revelations about GCSB acting improperly in the Dotcom case; now we have the Police false arrest case. Neither look particularly good.
I am a supporter of the institutions of the state – like the Police and the security services – to protect the public interest, and I readily acknowledge their task is often a thankless one, which I would not want to undertake.
But I also believe very strongly that when exercising their responsibilities the agencies of the state must at all times act within the law they are pledged to uphold. In a free state, it cannot logically be otherwise.
So, when I hear of instances when law enforcement agencies have not been doing so, and more than that, seem to have actively conspired to subvert the particular provisions of the law to achieve an outcome they might regard as being in the wider interests of upholding the law, I become extremely concerned.
No matter the history or integrity of the agencies, it is not for them to decide how the law should be applied. That is the prerogative of Parliament or the Courts. The argument that the ends justify the means have never been ethically sustainable, and cannot be justified now.
It is possible these are just simple cases of human error. But in the two latest examples there are some common links which leave me seriously asking whether there is more to them than just coincidence.
Free societies operate on the basis of mutual consent. We respect the authority of the state because we believe it to be exercised in our best interests. When confidence in our institutions is diminished by their own actions, the cohesion of our society is eroded.
That erosion and where it might lead is what has me feeling uncomfortable right now.