Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Constitution, Section 24

Section 24 - Law enforcement

24(1) All law regarding law-enforcement practice shall recognise that all citizens are responsible for maintaining justice in the first instance, that professional law-enforcement Officers are citizens who happen to be paid by government to devote themselves to it, and that unpaid citizens under oath still have authority to act as proactive law-enforcement Officers.
Always remember that governments are nothing more than agents of private individuals. All individuals have the right to defend their rights by use of force, and the point of government is to do that on their behalf in an objective manner. Government has no function other than this purpose. All its operations should bear this in mind.

The government’s monopoly on the non-emergency use of retaliatory force should not unduly strip citizens of their ability to participate in law enforcement when the occasion to do so arises. The final phrase in the clause allows for the deputisation of civilians who take an oath to act reasonably in those efforts.

People should never get into the habit of thinking that everything about justice is the government’s responsibility, for that is the path to them forgetting about who is actually boss and who has the ultimate responsibility to judge and act. They must always remember that the rights are theirs, as is the responsibility. Government has a monopoly on the non-emergency use of force, not because it is superior to them as in old-world feudal systems, but because people have the right to make sure that other people employ some means of ensuring objectivity in the use of that force. The one solution to that across the great populace is the single government with sole jurisdiction in an area and a given range of parts of justice, formed by the people, for the people, and especially formed OF the people. This also means that the police should remember that they are themselves OF the people, and not elevated into positions above the people.

24(2) Only a citizen who can reasonably be believed to act reasonably according to standards of behaviour under law regarding law-enforcement practice and who has given appropriate oaths of Office may be appointed as a law-enforcement Officer and given standing general warrant for proactive power of arrest and detention; but law shall not abridge the right of all citizens who fit those criteria to act proactively in either an amateur or professional manner when empowered by a judge to enforce the law, nor abridge the right of citizens not under law-enforcement oath who observe breaches of law with their own sight or earshot to reactively arrest offenders in a reasonable manner while awaiting for citizens who are under oath to continue the course of due process.
The first half of the clause is necessary as the standard to judge those who may be given authority to exercise non-emergency use of retaliatory force.

The middle part formally gives judges the authority to deputise civilians to act along side or even in the place of professionals as the need to do so arises (particularly in local jurisdictions with low populations and limited ability to have sufficient numbers of police at times). In practice the judge in question or some other suitable Officer of his court would also likely administer oaths as required.

The final part reiterates that the emergency use of reasonable force is always a right of individuals, including action to make citizens’ arrests even when they are not themselves the victims of the crime at hand but are witnesses to it. This last part must be interpreted in conjunction with Section 6, particularly clauses 3 and 4.

24(3) Law regarding law-enforcement practice shall include the specification that the use of physical force shall only be to the extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
This (taken directly from one of Peel’s principles of policing) is recognition that the use of retaliatory force should be an unusual event, that liberty required it be used as little as possible, and that all operations of police should be geared around as little use of it as is reasonable. The use of force should be a last resort, not something that people are inclined to reach for whenever it occurs to them to do so. Men are creatures with the faculty of reason, and each man should be presumed reasonable and thus amenable to reasoned discussion until they prove themselves otherwise. Departure from that is a step towards government dismissing the powers of reason amongst the populace, and in turn to authoritarian government.


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