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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.

How low can we go?

In the lead-up to Budget day last month, there was a comment by an Infometrics economist in a RNZ story looking at Police, teachers’ and nurses’ pay. The line that grabbed me was: “Compared to historical norms, police pay looks particularly poor…” How refreshing to hear someone come out and say what we all know is true. It is poor – we’re living it – but what do we do about it? How do we justify a decent pay rise when the ‘bean counters’ just see outputs and spreadsheets, when our jobs are much more than that? The above expert made one final comment that explains it better when quantifying our worth to our communities”... people seem to implicitly value the human nature of those roles when the going gets tough – but the pay rates don't necessarily reflect that”. Spot on!

Another flash in the pan?

I’ll be honest, I cringed at the media standup when our commissioner and Minister announced the new National Gang Unit on TV. This team will whiz around the country helping Districts combat the gangs, etc. Now I’m all for policing the gangs, and we try to with the sometimes-meagre Police numbers at hand, but we are outnumbered every time. So, tell me – where are these Gang Unit staff coming from? The Government’s extra numbers will barely cover the current vacancies and attrition and from what I hear they are already starting to fudge the numbers. So, I’ll tell you where this new politically driven unit will get their staff from. They will get them from existing numbers in Districts. Utterly unhelpful.

It's not like in the movies

When I was a “younger” constable, a pursuit was something my sergeant worried about. Me, I just wanted to catch the bad guy as quickly as I could drive. Hand on heart, I’m glad I grew out of that behaviour and see the merits of the current policy in place. Some may argue against it, but we have fewer tragedies and less carnage now, and as a parent, I’m grateful. But the point of this yarn is, what do we do when confronted with a great big machine not stopping? The recent FLEE that Masterton Police had with an 18-tonne digger on the loose was crazy. Luckily, it eventually stopped, but how in the name of St Michael do you stop something that big? Ten-foot-tall spikes? And how do you write that into the pursuit policy? I can’t wait.

Quiet courage

Well done to our SAR people receiving awards recently. You are the unsung heroes in my book. Search and Rescue is not a flashy or shiny job, it’s hard work in sometimes the worst of conditions that no human should be in, and you do it to save others. So, thanks to all our SAR members all over the country, you earn all the praise you get.

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