Community Alliance Party view on Civil Surveillance
Michael Lindfield, Community Alliance Party candidate for Murrumbidgee urges the community to take part in shaping ACT’s civil surveillance regime, which includes the location and positioning of high-tech camera technologies, including drones, wearable devices such as global positioning systems (GPS) for tracking, and smart phones for monitoring movement.
“Sadly with the threat of terrorism, sophisticated criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, our individual privacy in public is being eroded and this is why the community should take a moment and participate in the review of civil surveillance in the ACT”, Michael Lindfield said. (Refer: http://justice.act.gov.au/review/view/45/title/review-of-civil-surveillance-in)
“However, I believe there are instances where stricter surveillance is warranted with wider use of GPS devises, particularly where domestic violence is involved, problem gamblers, excessive drink drivers, drug addiction offenders and pretty criminals (e.g. habitual break in and enter) to ensure a safer community. Current practices such as court orders and short-term imprisonment don’t seem to be having an effect in deterring such crimes or habits.
Michael Lindfield said, “generally speaking repeat offenders, like drink drivers are either sent to jail, gamblers banned from a betting outlet or thrown into the deep end with court orders to attend rehabilitation programs that automatically labels them as a wife or husband beater, alcoholic, drug addict or petty criminal and miss the underlying cause(s) of their behaviour.
“At the first gate such offenders have very limited desire or incentive(s) to change their behaviour. Labelling is a very powerful put down. Offenders self esteem is already on shaky ground in the first place and their personal desire to change is hampered.
“The Community Alliance Party is considering a compulsory early rehabilitation intervention program, One on One Reaching In, whereby amongst others, domestic violence, drug and drink driver offenders attend and would be required to have a discrete GPS devise in the first instance. One on One is taking a step back from existing programs (e.g. Alcoholic Anonymous, conflict and anger management programs and Narcotics Anonymous) to help lawbreakers from a different perspective by peeling back the layers that have contributed to their addictions and to identify the triggers that urge individuals to offend in the first place.
“One on One Reaching In would be aimed at reducing stigmatisation and personal embarrassment on the one hand and gradual acceptance that the offender has a problem(s), have the incentives and tools to self help and improve their situation and be confident that they can overcome and contribute positively to maintaining personal relationships with family, friends and work colleagues, on the other. The end out come is a safer community.
The One on One Reaching In programs would be developed by social and welfare practitioners, psychologists, nutritionists, mental health workers and other service providers, in consultation with law enforcement agencies. It would be aimed at changing the mindset of offenders so that they gradually come to terms with their problem(s), foster self esteem and reinforce the benefits of overcoming their problem(s) with the expectation that they:
- can be valued by the community by modifying their behaviour,
- have the tools to develop the will and confidence to make positive personal choices,
- improve their relationships with family, friends and neighbours,
- reduce family breakdown and dislocation,
- would contribute to their community well being socially, culturally and economically,
- can reach their full potential health wise, employment and economically and
- have 24/7 back up support services when relapse is being contemplated.
“The Community Alliance Party is one that shows empathy for individuals who are struggling with personal issues yet perpetrators of domestic violence, repeated gamblers, drug and alcohol offenders and petty criminals do have a personal choice and an obligation to self help and improve their behaviour to enable members of the community to feel safe,” Michael Lindfield said.
The closing date for public submissions is Tuesday 1 November 2016.
Post script: The Community Alliance Party is developing comprehensive policies on anti-social behaviour and addictions and will be announced shortly.