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Byron Shire
November 29, 2021

Who wants more cops on the north coast?

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Ronald Priestley, Main Arm.

MP Justine Elliott complains about no further allocation of police to the north coast (Echonetdaily June 7).

Haven’t we got far too many already? Drivers are scared to go out and face the endless road blocks, breath tests, spit tests, secure load and speed checks etc.

Expensive helicopters buzz the countryside in a pointless search for Marijuana in an era when it is being legalised.

Police dogs sniff you in the street and at all festivals.

Maybe Justine should be asking for sensibility allocation of police resources to serious problems like domestic violence instead of campaigning for even more police to harass us.

I have been travelling a lot and there is nowhere in the Western world with the heavy handed police presence we get in Northern NSW. You can drive for weeks in the UK and Europe without seeing p;olice and the UK has a better driving record than Australia.

Is Justine representing your wishes in asking for more police.?

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  1. Absolutely right, Ron Priestly, I agree 100%! Especially obnoxious is the constant threat of prosecution and loss of license merely for the presence of pot, days even weeks after ingestion, no way this nonsense is justified, it’s blatant contemptuous violation of basic human rights and civil liberties without any basis in road safety concerns, which is the only reason that makes random breath testing legitimate in the first place. The local court is a nasty place, very much a sign of the creeping fascism, the normalised police state that continues its insidious assault against the people.

  2. Surely the only person who would be frightened to face a police road block wold be someone who is driving under the influence – which when you think of the potential damage that the driver could do is despicable behaviour. Countries in the Europe had very heavily policed driving regimens, including RBT, in the sixties and seventies, very successfully normalising safe driving practices. The Northern Rivers has a road toll above the NSW average and as can be seen from letters on this subject, there is a still a culture of tolerance to driving under the influence. As a vulnerable cyclist this concerns me greatly. We do not tolerate pilots and train drivers piloting/driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and nor should we for drivers of such a potentially dangerous vehicle as a car. People who call this fascism appear to have forgotten what made fascist regimes so obnoxious. Policing laws of a democratically elected parliament that enhance our safety is not fascism.

    • Petrus’s letter is rendered irrelevant by the first sentence. It talks about driving “under the influence”. The effect of cannabis wears of in hours, minuscule traces are detectable for weeks. It’s not about road safety, it’s a cowardly method of punishing the police force’s traditional enemy- the educated, non conformist who abhors violence. People who treat themselves with the medical cannabis.

      • Curious you associate cannabis with the educated – drug use generally, including of cannabis, correlates with lower education levels, not higher.. The Uni of NSW National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre found individuals who were daily users of cannabis before age 17 are over 60% less likely to complete high school or obtain a degree compared to those who have never used the drug – this is consistent with other research. I would also note that Kylie Lee et al studied cannabis use in aboriginal communities and found individuals who reported any current cannabis use were nearly 4 times more likely than non users to present at least once for violent trauma after adjusting for current alcohol use, age, and sex A NZ study found cannabis use is a significant predictor of lifetime violence among the severely mentally ill, while both alcohol and cannabis use predict self-harm. Other studies note the difficulty in showing the causative factor in these correlations but the image of the non-violent dope smoker does not appear to be always true. Finally can I note that I am post-graduate educated; I am in my own way, not yours, non-conformist; and I do not just espouse non-violence, I served as a peace and post-conflict aid monitor in Bougainville and Bangladesh. But I do not regard the police as my enemy and no police officer has ever shown me any enmity (except perhaps during the final anti-apartheid demo in Brisbane in 1971).

    • Exactly Derek! If the saliva tests for THC were testing for impairment and very recent use only then there would be no problem. BUT people are testing positive for THC up to a week later after their last use of cannabis. This is ridiculous. Imagine losing your license and getting a large fine for smoking a bit of weed (or vaping it or having some edibles or oil etc) on the weekend then being saliva tested mid week by the over abundance of cops in the area and failing the test!

      If you really support these draconian saliva tests for THC you are nuts. They aren’t making the roads safer at all, they are revenue raising and also boosting the numbers of test results that are positive so the government and police bosses can continue to flood the region with saliva testing, police sniffer dogs, more police and more toys so they can go bushwalking looking for plants.

      There are much more pressing issues for the police to go after like violent crime and ice related dealing and manufacturing.

      Ruining peoples lives or making them struggle more by taking away their licenses and giving them large fines for using some weed many days ago is insane. This war on cannabis must stop as it is only pushing many people to use more alcohol and meth (as meth clears through the system faster than weed by a long shot).

      No wonder why we are seeing more meth and violence all around Australia.

      Our government and the police bosses are making things much worse by their ultra conservative strict approach to cannabis. All these religious people in power need to go.

      Places like Colorado in the USA that has had legal cannabis for adults for around 5 years now have seen less car accidents, less hard drug use and they have made HUGE amounts of tax from the legal sale of cannabis. Cannabis is in huge demand in Australia and that wont change, maybe we should be looking at other options instead of failing prohibition. Legalising cannabis has been working very well in many other places, so why are we still trying to do the zero tolerance approach to it here?

      • As I note it is no more acceptable to drive a car under the influence of cannabis as it is to fly a passenger plane or drive a passenger train. So where are your alternative proposals to ensure people are not driving under the influence of cannabis? I also note that the reference to the US shows the danger of transferring approaches wholesale to different countries. The US does not have Australia’s nation-wide comprehensive approach to reducing drink driving – and that is part of why it has a higher death toll – so it unsurprising that a shift form alcohol to cannabis may result in fewer deaths – it is a case of the lesser of two driving evils, a dynamic which is quite different in Australia with our tight control of drink driving by governments and insurance companies. I have no idea what these references to religion are about – there is nothing in the bible about not using cannabis. You provide the police with a better approach to detecting driving under the influence and perhaps those of us, religious or otherwise, who do not care to share the roads with people driving under the influence of any drug, prohibited or otherwise – will applaud your actions. As it stands with your tolerance of drug driving you are presenting a good case for continuing the prohibition of the drug .


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