Monday, 1 September 2014

The limits of law enforcement accountability

I came across this piece of video in my FaceBook feed today and watched it with my mouth agape. Of particular interest is the last four or five minutes as the camera man is effectively intimidated by two uniformed police offices in his own home.

Now, I cannot discuss the rights and wrongs of civilian personnel working in marked police vehicles in this way, although the positioning of the speed van in the narrow road and the fact that the operator seems determined to hide his face seems suspicious but I just don't know whether the police van was being used correctly.

However, it really takes some gall for a police officer to clearly trespass on a private citizens property on camera - despite repeated requests to leave - then to challenge the mental health of an individual who it seems to me was showing some admirable restraint in the face of what seems to be quite provocative behaviour by the police officers. Remember at this stage they have no warrant, no suspicion a crime had occurred or in fact any proof that the camera man was even the person involved - I'm a white male, in my 40's with a beard and own a video camera - it could have been me !

It occurs to me that if anything the gentleman filming said was inaccurate the officers wouldn't have slunk back to their patrol vehicle in the way they did.

I will be keeping an eye on this story for further developments - fascinating stuff about the limits of what the police and public can do and how the police, like any public body need to be accountable for their actions.

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