Police need resources, not new powers in Footscray - Hartland

Greens MLC Colleen Hartland has expressed concerns about the police plan to commence using their new powers in Footscray on Thursday.

"The police already had the power to search people suspected of carrying an illegal weapon.  They had the power to move people on, and fine people who are drunk and disorderly. What they need is more resources to do their job.  That's why the Greens voted against the legislation in Parliament."

"I'd rather have the resources allocated to return the police kiosk to the Footscray Mall, and police officers on bikes, than to give overworked, understaffed police new powers."

"The new powers mean that people can be stopped and searched for the 'crime' of shopping in Footscray.  It's hardly going to encourage people to come and enjoy our fabulous multicultural shops and restaurants.  People in Footscray will have fewer civil rights than in the rest of Victoria."

"On Thursday I will be in Footscray monitoring the situation. They can stop and search me if they want.  Like most people, I'll be carrying my Footscray library card, a cloth shopping bag and some bargains."

For comment: Colleen Hartland - 9689 6373


On New Years Eve, the Government gazetted the first planned designated area under amendments to the Control of Weapons Act.  This is the first gazettal of a planned designated area, and applies to an area in Footscray from 1-4pm this Thursday, 7 January 2010, which includes the train station, park and mall.

New powers include:
* random search powers in designated areas, including of children
* power to conduct strip searches (including of children) in some circumstances
* power to direct people to move-on from a certain area
* includes a new offence of disorderly conduct
* increases penalties for the new offence of disorderly conduct and for existing offences of 'drunk and disorderly' and 'drunk'

Liz Ingham
Office of Colleen Hartland MLC
Western Metropolitan Region

A: 75 Victoria Street, Seddon 3011
P: 9689 6373
M: 0409 333 595
F: 9689 6227
E: elizabeth.ingham@parliament.vic.gov.au
W: http://mps.vic.greens.org.au

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