Politicians must resist “kneejerk reaction” after shooting on teenage girl

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Politicians and the public must resist the urge to lobby for draconian new laws in the aftermath of the tragic shooting of a teenage girl in suburban Sydney, according to a policing expert from the University of Western Sydney.

Dr Michael Kennedy is the head of the UWS Bachelor of Policing program and former detective in the NSW Police Organised Crime Squad.

He says it appears the teenage girl was shot in a targeted shooting of a home, but this doesn't mean the government needs to impose harsh new laws such as those recently introduced in Queensland targeting bikies.

"Like all Australians my heart goes out to the girl who was shot in this attack and her family, but we must ensure police are allowed to continue to do their jobs without interference from politicians," says Dr Kennedy.

"There will inevitably be calls by politicians and members of the public for greater controls to crack down on attacks like this, but there's simply no evidence police or the judiciary need new powers or guidelines."

Dr Kennedy says politicians and the community should resist the urge to follow the recent example of Queensland, which has introduced harsh new minimum sentences and laws restricting the movements and meetings of bikies.

"These laws are a crude and blunt instrument and are actually dangerous, as it means criminals have nothing to lose once they've committed a crime," he says.

"This is certainly not what we want for the young police officers and members of the public who are confronted with offenders on the streets and in their homes."

"A kneejerk reaction would not be helpful. What we actually need to do is send these criminal organisations broke, because simply locking them all up will only create more hardened criminals in the long run."

Dr Kennedy says despite the cowardly nature of this most recent attack, Sydney is still a very safe city.

"I am confident police will solve this crime, and the public should rest assured our city is an incredibly safe place to live and work, especially compared to other international cities like Los Angeles and Bangkok," he says.



5 November 2013

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer

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