EDITORIAL: Smoke fine shows cops are serious
OUR SAY: On the surface, the case of a man fined $550 for obstructing police when he tried to light a cigarette seems extreme and heavy-handed.
He did not light the smoke, and he did not injure anyone.
Some tax-payers might consider the charges a waste of police time and resources, or a case that simply clogs up the courts.
It's certainly one of the more unusual cases to come before our magistrates in recent times.
But given the number of criminals who threaten police with legal action, squawking about their "rights" (when they are clearly in the wrong), there seems to be a perception that police have their hands tied with red tape.
Is it a coincidence that police are routinely insulted, sworn at and attacked in the line of duty, and respect for our boys and girls in blue seems to be reaching new lows?
I don't think so.
By pursuing action against this man, even though no one was hurt, shows that when police ask someone to do something they mean business - and the courts will back them up all the way.
The magistrate should be commended for supporting the police and enforcing the fine.
It's high time we started rebuilding respect for our police officers within the community, and this is a good way to start.