Cop or Comrade? Accountability Deficits in Police Covert Operations Targeting Activist Groups

58 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2019

See all articles by Anna Roznawska

Anna Roznawska

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

There is growing evidence that covert police operations involving surveillance and infiltration are expanding beyond a traditional undercover criminal investigation to target activist groups. Due to the nature of such activity and the legal uncertainty around police powers of this kind it is difficult to know when democratic rights are being undermined. This paper argues that if such police practice is occurring, the potential legal, political and administrative accountability mechanisms are inadequate in both their availability and effectiveness. While the current climate of security inhibits public disapproval of police spying, it is apparent that more robust legal standards are needed to prevent abuses of public power.

Keywords: police accountability, protest, covert operations, surveillance, section 21 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Roznawska, Anna, Cop or Comrade? Accountability Deficits in Police Covert Operations Targeting Activist Groups (2018). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 38/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3485304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3485304

Anna Roznawska (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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