The Secretary General of the United Nations once remarked that “curtailing freedom does not preserve order, but undermines it”. Although he was making this observation against a different context, it equally applies in this context; oppression and order often make easy bed fellows.
Identifying where the line should be drawn between freedom and order is something that comes into play in the area of civil applications by the police.
Many applications in this area contain complex interrelationships between personal freedoms and the need for the state to ensure that others are protected. Should children be the subject of orders by courts which can result in criminal convictions; should communities be terrorised by groups of children damaging their property and intimidating them?
These applications are an important part of the state’s ability to regulate the environment in which its citizens are living; but the importance of ensuring any order is properly scrutinised and the rationale for making it, evaluated carefully, cannot be overstated.