-clause 42(d) of the Bill provides that a surveillance warrant is not required in relation to the observation and recording of private activity in the curtilage of private premises provided that the observation is for less than 3 hours in any 24 hour period. Bell Gully questions the appropriateness of this warrant-free period.
The above from a submission on the ‘Search and Surveillance Bill’, an extraordinary bill which seems to extend Police powers across a whole raft of government agencies including, most amusingly, the Meat Industry board. The government seems to be defending this by saying that a) this bill is nothing new and was under development under the previous government, and b) it is not new law, it is merely a codification of existing powers.
I have no reason to doubt the assumptions of a & b but I see no reason why a & b add up to a compelling reason to be enacting this Bill….rather they’d seem to represent a good argument to do away with existing law and curb some of the powers of some of these government agencies rather than codify them further.
It’s questionable whether even the Police should have some of these powers, but regardless giving these powers to non-police agencies would be even worse:
-non-Police agencies do not have the checks and balances that exist in the Police culture of supervision, training and discipline, which constrain the misuse of surveillance powers. We share these reservations and suggest that the power to obtain surveillance warrants should only be granted where there is sufficient justification and robust supervision and training to minimise misuse. As we set out below, we do not consider that there is justification for extending this power to non-Police agencies.