Concern over unchecked powers

The ODT is uneasy about the Search and Surveillance Powers Bill.

On the one hand, the police must be able to act quickly and effectively to combat crime in this electronic age.

But they must also work within defined parameters.

Freedoms acquired over centuries can be jettisoned in a trice if great care is not taken in the devising and drafting of new legislation.

The nature and extent of the parameters in the proposed Bill – and how they would work in practice – are as yet unclear.

This is cause for some uneasiness.

Enabling police to act more quickly in urgent situations is a good thing, but there is a need for caution if the checks on their powers which exist under current legislation will be lost.

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