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IAM KEEN (February 2021)

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

Ground control

No more coppers in Defence Force choppers for the annual police cannabis recovery ops. Possibly one of the more exciting summer jobs in police, and it will be missed by some, while not forgetting that two officers and one pilot have died doing the work over the past 20 years.

The massive hauls of whiffy cannabis plants that were burnt on even bigger and whiffier bonfires may also be a thing of the past.

It looks like aerial searches are no longer considered the best, or most cost-effective, way to track down grow businesses. Most are well hidden now, under cover in industrial estates, rural buildings and homes.

My worry, though, is that crims are quick to adapt, and don’t forget that gangs still make millions of dollars a year out of cannabis. So, while meth, rightly, should be the priority, I suspect there will be repercussions in a few years’ time.

Capping ceremony

The way police look is changing too… Very soon we will have baseball-style caps for the frontline, not just the specialist squads. That can’t come soon enough, I reckon, and I know that the troops in windy Wellington will be especially appreciative of a hat that stays put when you want it to.

Numbers game

On the subject of capping, it looks like there won’t be many such events at the college this year… It’s hard to get your head around that when I hear there are still plenty of good keen people wanting to join, and the work isn’t going away any time soon. I hope it’s not a sign that, without Winnie, Labour think they can back away from the increased numbers.

Hijab welcome

Meanwhile, in Auckland, quietly and without the need for a six-person committee and a forest’s worth of reports, I see that Constable Zeena Ali has become the first recruit to be allowed to wear a hijab as part of her uniform.

It was created for her by the design team at Massey University and they’ve done a great job.

The aim is to encourage more Muslim women to consider a career in policing. It’s a simple step and shows how welcome they will be.

Lucky to be in NZ

As Fred Dagg would say of us Kiwis, “we don’t know how lucky we are”. I hear that in London, the Met Police has at least 3000 frontline staff currently sick or isolating. And police offices are being drafted in to drive ambulances. And police are not being added to the list for the first wave of vaccines being rolled out. Understandably, the Police Federation is feeling pretty desperate about the welfare of its members.

The worst our staff working at managed isolation facilities can complain about is probably boredom. What they wouldn’t give for a chopper ride…

Kia kaha and stay safe
Constable Iam Keen