19 Aug 2014

Police union's election year wishlist

9:56 pm on 19 August 2014

Tougher penalties for fleeing drivers, a blanket ban on gang patches and raising the drinking age to 20 are top of the election year wishlist from the Police Association.

The association released its policy document in Wellington this afternoon.

The Police Association wants tougher restrictions on alcohol including raising the drinking age.

The Police Association wants tougher restrictions on alcohol including raising the drinking age. Photo: PHOTO NZ

President Greg O'Connor said vehicles of fleeing drivers should be impounded to send a message that trying to evade police has serious consequences.

"New Zealanders have made it clear they don't want police speeding and increasing the danger on the roads. However, in doing so, the danger has been that we have increased the incentive for drivers to actually have a go at trying to get away."

He also wants driver's licences taken from fleeing motorists.

Mr O'Connor wants tougher restrictions on alcohol, including raising the drinking age. He said the Government only took up a fraction of the recommendations from the Law Commission to address the binge-drinking culture.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said the association's call for a tougher stance on fleeing drivers is worth considering, but doesn't support further changes to liquor laws.

"The changes to legislation have only really had just over 12 months to bed in. I don't think it's time to evaluate that yet," she said today.

Union's wishlist

  • Raise the minimum alcohol purchasing age from 18 to 20
  • Impose trading hours restrictions to ensure alcohol is not sold after 10pm from off-licence venues like supermarkets, and after 3am from bars
  • A nation-wide gang patch ban
  • Full-time carriage of Tasers for all front-line officers and more firearms training, with a view to more police being armed full-time
  • Funding for an extra 1900 police
  • Give police greater powers to intervene in brewing disorder situations such as ''out-of-control'' parties
  • Amending bail laws to prevent people behind bars on remand from contacting their alleged victims. They currently can receive visitors and make phone calls which the association says is an area of concern for prosecuting domestic violence cases
  • Address court delays and increase their resourcing