Smacking rules give no leeway – police union

NZ Herald June 21, 2007
New police guidelines for handling complaints about smacking children are unnecessarily restrictive and remove officers’ discretion, the Police Association says. Association president Greg O’Connor last night told the Herald the guidelines defeated the purpose of an amendment meant to allow police discretion when applying the law, which comes into force on Friday. He said the pressure would be directly felt by senior sergeants who would have to make a decision “on a Sunday night after receiving a complaint” about smacking. “The guidelines mean we have been given less discretion than we thought we were going to be given.” He said they seemed to have been drafted without consulting frontline supervisors. “In the short term there will be people on both sides of the argument who will be seeking to prove their point and that is where the real pressure is going to come on frontline police…Family First director Bob McCoskrie said good parents would be made criminals by “confusing” guidelines. “If the police cannot say with certainty what the effect of the law is, how the heck is a parent going to figure it out when they’re stressed and dealing with a defiant kid? “With drinking we’re saying it’s not the drinking it’s the way we’re drinking … it’s the same with smacking – it’s not actually smacking that’s the problem, it’s just some people go way over the top. “This is a waste of time because it’s not dealing with the real causes of child abuse.”