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This column is written by a frontline police member. It does not represent the views or policies of the Police Association.

The larder is bare

How bad is the Police financial position? We all know there is a cost-cutting drive on and everything from morning teas and travel to projects such as ReFrame seem to be getting the chop. I have seen this before but it normally starts about May so this feels more serious. Police has some pretty solid fixed costs – obviously staffing but also petrol, mandated equipment and training and the many buildings that have to be kept going – so it can be hard to make big savings if this isn’t just a one-year overspend. Is this why our pay round hasn’t moved forward? I know my budget is looking darn sad and I haven’t even got an Auckland mortgage. Money is going to have to come from somewhere because we might be dedicated but no-one is going to work for peanuts.

Still short-changed

Talking of working for peanuts: Short notice shift change – SNSC for short – is a simple concept. So why do some managers get it wrong? I constantly get messages from “short-changed” colleagues who have been re-rostered within 14 days and they’ve either not been told or find out at the last minute (even the same day – turning up for earlys to find they’re on lates) and then are not compensated for the change, as per the collective. Yep, I’ve harped on about this before, but some districts are absolutely ruthless in how they treat their people. My advice is, if there is doubt, get onto your district employment adviser ASAP.

The silly season

I managed some family time over the festive season, though I did work some stat days, helping keep an eye on public events and celebrations. I enjoy working during the Christmas/New Year period – our communities are winding down and generally in a good mood. The thanks we get while out and about really makes it worth it. Most people really do like us, and the pat on the back from people we meet always puts a smile on my face. But – bah humbug time – I do sometimes have my head in my hands at this time of year over the idiocy of some people, usually brought on by alcohol. To be fair, reports on some incidents had me in stitches, such as the guy who phoned Police saying his car had “magically rolled down a hill and hit another vehicle” or the cyclist who got into a stoush with a pensioner after squirting water at him.

Razor tongue for boy racers

And while we’re on amusing reports, I recently read an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website about a Canberra inspector’s reaction to boy racers, or “hoons” in Aussie speak. He really let loose, using words like morons and pests. I don’t know what his bosses thought about it, and I wonder what the reaction would be here if one of us said something similar to the media.

Take it and leave it

Last year, I started with a New Year resolution, something about eating healthier. Lasted about a week, I think. This year I tried something different. I didn’t make any so I won't disappoint myself in a week or two. But, if I’m really honest, I will try my hardest to take time off during the year, and plan ahead (my supervisor will like this). Looking forward to leave is one of life’s pleasures, and having those leave periods blocked out on the calendar is good for the soul. Do it!

Stay safe out there.


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