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APEC Letters and POVs -- the fallout from police powers

Selection gathered by Norm Dixon

The Canberra Times

11 September 2007
Heavy-handed police give new meaning to the word 'overkill'

I have just been watching the television footage of the disgraceful behaviour of NSW police at APEC today. Of course, it was inevitable that peaceful citizens would
be treated this way.

People do not join the police force unless they are not afraid of using physical force and in this environment it was clear they were whipped up into major drama queen- itis by politicians, state and federal, and presumably were encouraged to be thugs by being permitted to take their identification badges off.

Just what is this country degenerating into? Let us take stock before it is too late.

Jennifer Saunders, Canberra City
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I want to thank the NSW police for their timely reminder of what unfettered police powers would result in.

Their thuggery left me fuming and I would love to have a one-on-one with the copper that shoved the female photographer to the ground.

Come to think of it, I would like the same opportunity with the individual coppers that hunted in packs and pounced 10 on one on individual citizens.

The Labor Government in NSW needs to be extremely careful in its unqualified praise. The experience should be a wake-up call to all ministers in charge of police that they should always look to protect their citizens from police aggression.

Jimi Bostock, Curtin

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Are Scipione's boys above the law or has the police state arrived? There are requirements for officers to wear their ID, but for APEC, what the heck.

The question is who ordered the IDs to be taken off as they are the officers responsible for such a blatant attempt to avoid officers being held accountable for their actions something police expect from the public. I am willing to wager, if (and that is a significant "if") Scipione does do anything, it will result in the lightest of admonishment for what is a most significant breach of accountability by police commanders.

Lance Williamson, Stirling

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The stunt by The Chaser team has pointed out one of the common failures of security teams, namely that they expect a "baddie" to hurtle down the road in full battle gear not a legitimate-looking limousine.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber who was a beautiful woman, not a wild-haired radical.

Many Americans died in Vietnam because their killers came in the form of a peasant boy or an old man who just wanted to rest their bikes against a guard post bikes packed with explosives. Anyone who deals with the police knows how inflexible they are.

Mike Phoenix, Greenway

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"NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says the stars of The Chaser could have been shot during a prank played on APEC," Sky News reports.

Shot for what? They weren't dangerous, they weren't threatening anyone, they weren't armed. And they were all (presumably tax-paying) citizens.

That the commissioner could even suggest the possibility that they could have been summarily executed, indicates to me it's all over we are now a fascist state.

M.A. Smith, Kambah

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Last night I watched news showing a man in his late 50s being set upon by police for daring to cross a street near a motorcade in Sydney. With their snipers on roofs, let's hope our humourless, heavy-handed police are not also trigger happy or they could give a new meaning to the word overkill.

John Dinn, Ngunnawal
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It is not very often I agree with very much that a NSW police commissioner has to say. However, I fully agree with him when he stated that police snipers were serious and not for show.

Who could forget how totally serious and dedicated the two drug-fuelled close- quarter snipers were on Bondi Beach some years ago, or the British SWAT team that assassinated an innocent man in London a few years ago?

My very word, those policemen were very serious, no sense of humour whatsoever. As for everything else the commissioner said about APEC protests and The Chaser team, it was a total load of tripe.

Andy Hogan, Bonython

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SMH

Stand proud? That's not the way we do things in NSW


I am appalled that the new Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, feels police "can really stand proud for what they did on the weekend" ("Identity parade of the secret police", September 10). Removal of ID before committing acts of aggression is unfortunately a time-honoured practice by NSW police and brings back memories of the corruption exposed by the Wood royal commission.

Mr Scipione's dismissive comment, "that's the way that we do business in NSW now", reeks of arrogance and an unwillingness to confront hard issues of abuse of police power. Morris Iemma should have the guts to admit his mistake and sack the Police Commissioner now before we need another royal commission.

L. Smith Potts Point

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No, Mr Scipione, that's not the way we do business in NSW. If you think it is, perhaps the Government shouldn't give you a second week in the top police job.

Peter Krisenthal Thornleigh

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Bring back Uncle Ken. Mr Scipione should lead a police force in some dark hidden corner of the world, not one in a country that seeks to show the people of our region what true democracy is.

Russell Mills Redfern

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After Sydneysiders behaved remarkably well, most of us getting out of town away from all this malarky, it would have been nice to be thanked for the way we behaved and for putting up with this huge imposition.

Now it's time to remind our politicians and the police that we are not animals and NSW is not a police state. This is a state with the presumption of innocence, the right to bail and the right to speak out against the executive.

Anthony van den Broek
Newtown

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I notice from the photos of anonymous police that the missing name tags would once have been attached by what appear to be strips of Velcro. It has been said by some police that the pin in the badge can be used as a weapon. Just which part of Velcro is dangerous? The hooky bit or the fluffy bit?

Steve Jackson Wyee

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The Australian

The Tory Tattler

The NSW Government makes no apology for the heavy-handed security during the APEC summit. Surprise, surprise! Has the NSW Government ever apologised to anyone for anything?

Henk Verhoeven
Beacon Hill, NSW
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THE APEC meeting was not an invitation to Sydney policemen to use the law enforcement tactics of thugs in totalitarian countries. The televised spectacle of several burly policemen hurling a slightly built young woman at least three metres on to her back on the roadway was shocking. The force they used could have killed her.

They should consider themselves lucky not to be facing a charge of grievous bodily harm or manslaughter. Her offence? She was a TV news camerawoman, trying to do her job. As a former journalist, I expect her employers not to let the matter rest.
R. Aitchison
Waramanga, ACT

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NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione claims police removed their name badges to prevent said badges from being used as weapons by APEC protesters. In that case, why are police not issued with embroidered cloth identity badges like the name tapes many school students sew on to their uniforms?

Jennifer Killen
St Peters, NSW

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