04/05/2012

"The OPI’s report of its review into police stop and search powers, released yesterday, confirms what the Greens and other groups have been saying: that there is no evidence to justify these laws", Greens spokesperson on justice, Sue Pennicuik said.

“The OPI found that there is no evidence to suggest that these powers have had any discernible impact on the rates of armed robbery, or the type of weapon used", she said.

“Any increase in police powers must be proportionate to the risk but the evidence just isn’t there to support these powers,” said Ms. Pennicuik.

“The OPI also found that Victoria Police is not able to meet the legislative reporting requirements due to inadequate data collection", Ms Pennicuik said.

"It is very concerning that there is therefore no transparency or accountability for these police powers that even the OPI acknowledges are an intrusive form of surveillance.”

“The OPI also mentioned that the police in the UK issue receipts to persons searched, but recommended that Victoria should wait until receipting is found proven to be effective in other jurisdictions before undertaking a similar reform,” Ms Pennicuik said. "During debate on amending legislation in 2010, I suggested that people should be given a receipt by the officer conducting the search".

“We welcome the call by the OPI for community discussion on this issue, but believe that the laws should never have been introduced as police always had the power to search a person on the reasonable belief that they were carrying a weapon", Ms Pennicuik said.

“The Greens have always pushed for a human rights focus on these laws and for greater police accountability regarding their use and we will continue to do so,” said Ms Pennicuik.