The Sensible Sentencing Trust says the agreement to allow cross sharing of information between New Zealand and the United States is a constructive and practical tool to combat crime and has congratulated Minister Judith Collins.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Agreement on Enhancing Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Crime between New Zealand and the United States will allow law enforcement, immigration and border authorities to share information – to the extent permitted by each country’s laws – to prevent, detect and investigate crimes with a penalty of a year or more in prison.
“Long-standing cooperation between our two nations has been vital in enhancing our security, and protecting New Zealanders from transnational crimes, which can range from drug smuggling to online child sexual abuse,” Ms Collins says.
“This agreement recognises that information sharing is essential in the fight against cross-border crime. It will allow authorities to check whether fingerprints related to a specific case are also held by their overseas counterparts. If there is a match, they can share information about whose fingerprints they are –if there’s no match, no information will be shared.”
SST spokesman Garth McVicar said he hoped the new legislation would cover offenders and offences such as Jeremy McLaughlin who murdered Jade Bayliss in Christchurch in 2011.
It was later revealed that McGaughlin had previously killed an Australian teenager but was able to return to New Zealand as an unmonitored totally free man and the police were powerless to inform Jades mother of his previous criminal history.
McVicar said, “When it comes to matters of public safety it is vitally important that the Police know and are able to warn the public of a potential danger lurking amongst us.”
At the time Jade Bayliss was murdered Minister Collins said:
“My view is very clear … if matters are in open court I cannot think why we would not make that information available and have it available for anyone to access.”
Mr McVicar said “While we congratulate the Minister and acknowledge todays announcement is a step in the right direction Sensible Sentencing Trust firmly believes a publicly available register is the best way to ensure the public are protected from known criminals.”
“We look forward to the day public safety is actually the paramount consideration.”