50 signatures reached
To: Justice Select Committee
Say NO to revenge based policy: Oppose NZ First's 1st Responders Bill
This campaign has ended.
We ask you, the members of the Justice Select Committee to oppose the Protection for First Responders and Correction Officers Bill and work to provide solutions that prevent first responders from being harmed in the first place.
Many of the people this Bill will affect will be people suffering from extreme trauma, addiction, mental illness and mental distress.
Punitive, revenge based policies do not help to address violent crime. Many people who commit these crimes are not safe, stable, or in a sound mind at the time that the crime occurs.
The Protection for First Responders and Police officers Bill will not succeed in keeping our brave frontline staff safe, and instead will only punish vulnerable people who need help, increasing our prison population in the process.
Our hope is that parliament will not proceed with this bill, but rather will redirect its energy into providing solutions that will mitigate the risk that our First Responders and Prison Officers face, with the goal of focusing on prevention, rather than punishment.
Your signature will be delivered together with others as a joint submission to the Justice Select Committee.
Why is this important?
We are concerned that the Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill fails to provide a solution to the issue which it seeks to address.
This bill fails to recognize that many of the people who will be affected by this bill are not in a rational or calm state of mind during the time these assaults occur. Many of the people affected by this bill will be punished for an action which they did not have full control over at the time of the offence. People who were not making a calculated decision to harm someone, but who were in fact reacting out of the pain and trauma they were experiencing. People who are - no doubt - severely distressed, mentally ill, intoxicated, or any combination of the above at the time the offence occurs.
If this bill goes through it will have catastrophic consequences for our community. When you send one of our whanau to jail, it does not just affect the individual. It harms all of us. The children left behind without parents, the partners left alone to manage on their own, the whanau and friends who have to struggle with the stigma and loss of losing someone they love.
And when that person has done their time and they are released back to us, they will be only further traumatized and harmed by a system which is just not working to rehabilitate our people.
This bill will not prevent people from assaulting First Responders or Prison Officers, instead it will succeed only in increasing our prison numbers.
Instead of seeking punitive responses to complex problems, we believe parliament would be better served using our time and resources seeking out real solutions. For example:
★ Review the calibre and frequency of de-escalation and assessment training provided to First Responders and Prison Officers.
★ Provide ongoing de-escalation and assessment training to all professionals working on the front line.
★ Provide intensive training for all first responders and prison officers around addiction, mental illness, and the effects of trauma and colonization. Build understanding within our frontline workers so that they are equipped to identify the risks and respond accordingly. Knowledge is power, and the more our First Responders and Prison Officers understand about the complex challenges facing people within our community, the more equipped they will be to deescalate tensions and provide a compassionate and effective response.
★ Bring back the previous governments plan to create a mental health team equipped to support the Police in de-escalating and caring for people in crisis and suffering from mental distress.
★ Review whether First Responders and Prison Officers have the right support to manage these high and complex situations they are being asked to walk into. Are they staffed adequately to deal with these situations? Do they have adequate safety and support plans in place to mitigate the risks they are dealing with?
To protect our First Responders and Prison Officers we must provide solutions that prevent them from being harmed in the first place.
The concern we have with the Protection for First Responders and Correction Officers Bill is that it fails to actually address the concerns it seeks to highlight. It will not prevent our First Responders and Prison Officers from being assaulted, and will only punish the very people who need our help and assistance the most.
Our hope is that parliament will not proceed with this bill, but rather will redirect it’s energy into providing solutions that will mitigate the risk that our First Responders and Prison Officers face, with the goal of preventing these assaults from happening in the first place.
If you would like to read more about this bill you can do so here: https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-crime/revenge-justice-wont-keep-new-zealands-first-responders-safe
The Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_78241/protection-for-first-responders-and-prison-officers-bill
How it will be delivered
This petition will be delivered as a joint submission to the Justice Select Committee on the 12th Feb