New Zealand Police open up law-making to the public

As a follow-on to the posts regarding Madeleine, the Portuguese police and the public interest, I thought you might be interested in a real life ‘open conversation’ involving New Zealand police. They have created a wiki to encourage public participation in the revision of the current police act, written in 1958.

Any internet user can participate and it is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the world, say the police. Newcomers can hit the wikisandbox to learn how to post before they contribute and the final document, which will close in November, will pass into the parliamentary process later in the year along with other information gathered during the review period.

I think it was around June 2005, that I read of academic and cofounder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger envisioning a democracy where citizens would improve policy decisions by making ideas known through modified web pages – I’d say this move brings us to that. The police here have taken quite a pasting in recent months over a number of issues which might influence the way people take part, but I genuinely hope that they are successful in this bid to encourage participation.

As it says on the wiki “Creating this online environment is a continuation of the open process used throughout the Police Act Review. It’s all about encouraging a national conversation on policing”. And conversation – as Markus always stresses – is what is all about. I’ll report back when the process is complete on how well they listened to the contributions – that other essential conversational component.

And in the best traditions of technology, I can’t get the links to work just now so here is the site – it really doesn’t like me posting on Southern Hemisphere afternoons.

http://wiki.policeact.govt.nz/

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