Police call for tough action on disrespect

NZ Herald Mar 3, 2010 

The courts have to start convicting people for insulting police to help counter a culture of disrespect for the law that leads to assaults on officers, the Police Association says. President Greg O’Connor said low-level offences against police might seem insignificant, but they led to a disregard for the law and inevitably a loss of confidence in police and their ability to protect the public. He said this attitude had culminated in serious assaults, such as recent attacks including an off-duty officer being bashed into a coma by teenagers and an officer having his lip bitten off by a drunk driver.

Mr O’Connor said a lack of guilty verdicts in the District Court over the years showed society and criminals that insulting police was acceptable. There were already legal provisions that allowed charges for low-level offending, but court decisions meant that police were reluctant to use them.