Home > The Body Politic > September 11, Keystone Cops, and “toy soldiers”…

September 11, Keystone Cops, and “toy soldiers”…



When the world changed irrevocably on 11 September 2001,  at 8.46am (local time), that seismic shift reached our country as well.  As the USA declared it’s “War on Terror” (more accurately, “War of Terror”, as ‘Borat’ suggested in his eponymous movie), New Zealand moved in lock-step and adopted stringent airport security procedures; locked up a  refugee as a “security risk“, though never charged or convicted of anything; and enacted a draconian anti-terrorist law.

In the backdrop of a global post-11 September hysteria,  early-morning raids in October 2007 involved more than three hundred police conducted searches in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch using warrants  under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

The Solicitor-General, David Collins,  subsequently refused to lay charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 – saying the law was “almost impossible to apply in a coherent manner“. Only  firearms charges remained.

Finally, of the original 18, four stood trial this year. Of the firearms charges, roughly half were proven and the remaining dismissed. The Jury could not agree on the charge of “participating in an organised criminal group“,


Full Story


So what have we ended up with?

All for some rather ordinary firearms charges – and even those were not all proven.

Jeezus H. What a monumental waste of resources, time, and money. The police could  just as easily and simply sent a couple of the local ‘Bobbies’ (who probably knew everyone around the Ureweras anyway); pulled Tame and his mates up; told them all to knock off playing ‘toy soldiers’; and meet up at the local pub for a drink instead.Sorted.Cost; $10 in petrol.

I’ll depart from my normal partisanship and say that neither Labour nor the Nats come out of this smelling of roses.

This sh*t makes the Keystone cops look gooood…

I live in eternal hope that this expensive fiasco has been a salient lesson to our elected representatives, and those who manage our police force. American style terrorism hysteria is never a good starting point to investigate a possible crime and mount prosecutions.

The impression many people will get out of this is that the police were overly  “gung ho” and both Labour and National politicians lost their capacity for common sense.

Cost to tax-payers: $6 million and mounting.

Cost to society: a waste.


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Other Blog posts

Chris Trotter: Failing The Crown


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  1. 22 March 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I’m instantly reminded of the lines from ‘Alice’s Restaurant’…

    “I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station. They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to mention the aerial photography.”

    Given the current range of US-derived cop equipment worn on the raids (besuited in fireprook Nomex® suits and gloves, anonymous under Kevlar® helmets behind Oakley® shades, and tooled up with M4® carbines and pump action shotguns), it’s like someone opened up a US warehouse and said “Here, y’all help y’selves, we got heaps…” – we paid for it, they used it, and now we’re going to pay for it again.

  2. 23 March 2012 at 1:11 am

    I think you’ve nailed it, Duncan.

    When they raided that little village, the only thing missing was Huey helicopters straffing the locals, to the music of “Ride of the Valkyries”.

    All that equipment – why not use it to bash down doors and frighten the living daylights out of innocent men, women, and children.

    I think when people saw black-garbed, heavily armed para-military “police” smashing down doors and manning checkpoints – the collective thoughts of New Zealanders must’ve been, “We’re not in New Zealand anymore, Toto.”

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