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President's Column: Strongest solutions come from co-operation

The front cover of this month’s Police News shows a grainy screenshot from the March 15 arrest of the man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The two officers pictured were nominated by their colleagues, and chosen by the selection panel, for this year’s Police Association Bravery Awards. It was an honour to have them with us, and for the Prime Minister to present their awards at our October conference.

Officers A and B is all we can call them at this stage due to a court suppression of their names.

It would have been wonderful if we had been able to introduce them to New Zealand in the positive and supportive environment of our conference, but that will have to wait till later. We will bring you more details and photos of the ceremony when we are legally permitted. Until then, the association will keep working with these remarkably brave and humble officers through the next part of their journey.

Having been among their association fraternity at conference, I am confident they know we, as a team, have their backs.

The conference also produced tangible examples for delegates of the value of when the association and Police work together. In our relationship, the strongest solutions come from co-operation.

The association’s advocacy role is a critical part of this equation because we know many members find themselves in situations where they feel they can’t complain or give the full picture of their concerns to their superiors within Police. However they can tell us, or they can tell their committee representatives who bring issues to national office and we carry them forward.

The Critical Incident Working Group is an excellent example of co-operation. After much work on refining the programme until it met the needs of both Police and our members involved in shootings, the recommendations have been implemented.

With respect to Comms, the Enhanced Comms Roster has been implemented and a working group will have an ongoing monitoring role.

As an association we are well aware of the reality that unless Police management listens and is prepared to act on the information we provide them, nothing much happens and delays are extremely frustrating and potentially damaging.

However, to have the Commissioner and other senior management at our conference and openly discussing current issues must be taken in good faith and a positive sign for the future.

Our conference theme, The changing face of organised crime, was very timely for members because it focused on the main issues you indicated in our 2019 survey of members to be the top threats to law and order – methamphetamine and organised crime/gangs.

They of course go hand in hand with the proliferation of illegal firearms – another sizeable concern for the association. We are actively pursuing this with Police and with the Government, and two weeks ago we made our submissions to the select committee on the second tranche of the firearms law reform.

On a more personal note, I am looking forward to the next three years in this job. Thanks to you all for my re-election (unopposed) as this gives me confidence that I am paying attention to you and your needs, and I intend to build on that in my second term.

During that time we will also have a new commissioner to work with. Like you, I am sure, we look forward to knowing who that will be in the coming months.

 

Chris Cahill

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