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Iam Keen (April 2021)

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

Where’s the crackdown?

From what I am hearing around the traps, it sounds like the Commissioner’s crackdown on gangs and guns might not be the in-your-face approach we have been expecting.

My sources tell me that few, if any, districts have assigned any staff over and above normal organised crime groups to Op Tauwhiro, and no specific actions are planned beyond reporting seizures under the op name.

I saw one district’s briefing reminding us that gang members are whānau who experience harm themselves, and alternate resolutions and referral for support should be considered.

I’m all for thinking outside the box, but somehow, I was under the impression we were saying we’ve had enough of gang members using guns to threaten the safety of communities and were going to crack down on it. I’m not sure too many 501s will be shaking in their boots waiting for this tough crackdown!

Cheap shot at police

On the subject of cracks, I see the race relations commissioner has taken a cheap one at all of us, branding the entire police service “racist”. Good to see the NZPA president and the Police commissioner both push back on this rubbish.

It’s frustrating when you are part of so many great initiatives to work with Māori to find better outcomes and then have this sort of negative comment thrown about.

The fact of who said it does a disservice to the position he holds. I hope he has reflected on the harm he has done.

Policy potholes

The troops are trying their best to comply with the new pursuit policy, but it’s not easy when offenders in vehicles are taunting officers, knowing they are unlikely to be chased, and perplexed bystanders can’t believe that no action is being taken.

There are stories emerging from many districts, but it’s provincial and rural areas that seem to be doing it hardest. My mate from further south told me about an incident recently where a vehicle was seen driving on the wrong side of the road with a blown-out tyre, driving on the rim.

Multiple reports came in about the car being involved in near misses, driving through red lights at speed, and almost crashing.

With officers denied permission by comms to pursue or deploy spikes and the driver obviously aware that police would not pursue, he deliberately drove past a parked patrol car a few times and then pulled up behind and attempted to ram it. The officers in the car had to drive off at speed to avoid being hit.

The focus for police shifted to having to flee from the offender! Now that is a kind of madness, and it all unfolded in front of members of the public.

The offender was later located, thanks to good police work, but that all took several hours.

I heard that the officers felt totally helpless as well as being concerned for their safety and that of the public because they were unable to take immediate measures to stop the plonker behind the wheel.

Let’s hope we start to see the upside of this policy soon.

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Iam Keen (April 2021)

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

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