“Safety starts when the job comes in on the radio.” That was one of the messages on the theme of frontline safety delivered to conference delegates from Deputy Commissioner Tania Kura.
DC Kura, whose responsibilities for Police include overseeing frontline safety, custody and tactical capability, was outlining some of the highlights of the recently launched Tactical Response Model.
She said the one-week Frontline Safety Enhancement Courses, which have already been well received by those taking part, were expected to train up to 2000 staff by July next year.
“It’s not all about weapons,” she said, “but more about confidence and how we approach the job.”
That started from the minute a job came on the radio, “the preparation you do before the job, right from the dispatch”.
“We are coaching frontline responders to enhance their ability to stay safe… establishing confidence and abilities in critical situations and helping staff deliver under pressure… coaching you to be your best to make you safe.”
While the TRM was “not 100 per cent” completely designed yet, she said, the Police executive wanted to get it moving as soon as possible.
There were three parts, starting with increased training. All tactical training would increase from 3.5 days to 7.5 days, blending Police Integrated Tactical Training (PITT) with TRM and using AOS insights.
“The second part enhances our operational capability with AOS-trained staff joining Tactical Prevention Teams during shifts and two-up dog units.
“The third part is supporting structures involving the District Command Centres and intel teams, along with improving training facilities at the Police College and the district level.”
A “proof of concept” trial for TRM will begin in four districts yet to be named.
The motivation for the TRM had been the death of Matt Hunt, which prompted a review of frontline safety, followed by a spate of other incidents, including a police officer being shot in Waikato.
The implementation was the result of Government funding, representing a significant investment in frontline safety. “We are proud of having pushed for that.”
DC Kura has been in her deputy commissioner role (leadership & capability) for one year. “I’ve been in the district team for 34 years, so I thought it was time to step up and join the PNHQ team,” she told the delegates.
Part of her job was to shape the culture of New Zealand Police, enhancing the capability and skills of the frontline, but also looking at “the way we treat our people when they make a mistake”. She said she had seen good people get “thrown under the bus”.
“When people make a mistake, they might not come forward because they don’t trust their boss. I want to change that by working on trust relationships in teams and with those relationships with PNHQ. There is a role for everyone in creating the type of culture we want to work in.”
As part of a question-and-answer session with delegates, Hawke’s Bay member Shane Greville asked the deputy commissioner who in Police was accountable for the controversial decision to fund the Mongrel Mob-linked Kahukura meth rehabilitation programme.
She said it was not one person in Police who had endorsed the programme, but a wider group of people from across the government sector who were “seeing the bigger picture across a whole sector”.
She acknowledged that the decision had hurt some Hawke’s Bay staff. “But, if I think about dealing with gangs, as we have been for a long time, enforcement alone is not working.
“I do not endorse gangs directly receiving money. However, I do understand a group supporting an option when someone has come forward and said we can get into a hard-to-reach group, so give us a crack because nothing else is working. Locking up people day after day hasn’t worked for us so far. We need to open our minds to being inclusive of more than one strategy.”
Deputy Commissioner Tania Kura says part of her role is to shape the culture of New Zealand Police.