David Clendon
The best policing money can buy?

It is worrying to see that the government is looking to make drastic cuts from the policing budget, despite this posing real risks to some of the more progressive policies emerging in that portfolio.

I’m never persuaded by reassurances that ‘front line’ resources will not be reduced.  I saw first hand in the tertiary sector how (initially at least) ‘front line’ teaching staff numbers were not reduced, but ‘efficiencies’ (i.e. cuts) in support staff meant that academics were spending more time with administration and so spending less time with teaching and research.

It is a particularly critical time in policing as the new Commissioner seeks to improve public safety and confidence with initiatives like ‘prevention first’.  The focus on community engagement, and preventing crime and reoffending, is exactly the right approach, but it will fail if police officers are not adequately resourced or lack the time to build relationships and to understand their communities.  No amount of dealing out iPads and iPhones and other no doubt useful technologies will compensate for an over-stretched and stressed human resource.

Given the government’s enthusiasm for privatisation, one hopes the cuts are not a precursor to seeing here what is happening in Britain, where  there is a move afoot  to farm out to the private sector many of the functions of the police forces, including core functions like “investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public”.

A police spokesperson in UK has said “Bringing the private sector into policing is a dangerous experiment with local safety and taxpayers’ money…We are urging police authorities not to fall into the trap of thinking the private sector is the answer to the [governing] coalition’s cuts.”

We need a well resourced police force focused on reducing crime as well as enforcement.  We don’t need a run down service, relying on ‘Rent-a-Cop to plug the gaps.

18 thoughts on “The best policing money can buy?

  1. I believe we are miles away from the fundamentals of policing that Robert Peel first envisaged.

    Big problem right there, the police agenda has changed from controlling criminals to controlling anyone that isnt part of their elite group.

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  2. This Govt. is intent on slash & burn the public service (including Law Enf.) I just hope the reduced resources are not directed away from REAL crime & towards chasing traffic fines & busting the pot-smokers.

    Just a thought – Kia-ora Greens

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  3. From what I’ve seen of police culture, there’s a huge sense of entitlement coupled with an old-school public service attitude of wastage and inefficiency that wouldn’t be accepted in any other government department.

    Neither am I too keen to have some officers building relationships with the community when they are still carrying punitive attitudes to those they see as “trash” (to quote one officer, who was nice enough to give me a lift through Ngaruawahia when I was hitch-hiking, describing the people on the streets as we passed by).

    I’d be concerned about budget cuts being an excuse for continuing the second rate practices that often currently exist, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about reducing the police budget per se.

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  4. RE: Traffic stops, youd be surprised at the amount of bail breeches, drug offences, car theft, and other crimes they manage to stop \ solve simply by stopping people in cars. Criminals are mobile these days.

    On the subject of waste, I see that the latest arms amendment is up again, wonder if they will waste another pile of tax payer money trying to push the whole thumbhole \ pistol grip thing again onto licence holders ?

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  5. Neither am I too keen to have some officers building relationships with the community when they are still carrying punitive attitudes to those they see as “trash” (to quote one officer, who was nice enough to give me a lift through Ngaruawahia when I was hitch-hiking, describing the people on the streets as we passed by).

    So let me get this straight, a cop gives you a lift so you don’t get mugged on the street and he is the bad guy??

    The cop stopped and gave you a lift, what a ba$tard!!

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  6. Shunda barunda

    You missed the point. Sam never called the PO a “bad guy”. In fact Sam called the officer “nice”. Sam observed that the officer had some worrying prejudiced views. Would it be safe to say that PO is not one of the worst as it picked up a hitch-hiker?

    peace
    Bliss

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  7. In fact Sam called the officer “nice”. Sam observed that the officer had some worrying prejudiced views.

    Worrying prejudiced views??

    So what exactly was this cop ‘pre-judging’? I would offer that this particular officer was probably making a fair judgement due to prior experience of the neighbourhood in question!
    Unless, of course, it was his first day on the job.

    Perhaps Sam needs some more life experience, or needs to accept that “trash” do in fact exist.

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  8. “Trash”?
    Nice little bit of dehumanizing there, Shunda.
    Dangerous stuff, that objectifying people. Trash, scum, animals, gyppos…you know the rest. I thought you fought against that sort of ‘yellow star’ thinking?

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  9. Trash, scum, animals, gyppos…you know the rest. I thought you fought against that sort of ‘yellow star’ thinking?

    Why would you draw such an extreme conclusion?
    Do I have to be an extremist?

    It’s funny how our lofty ideals of being a superhero for humanity dissolve when we experience the worst of humanity.

    I would have loved for you to meet my previous neighbours greenfly, perhaps your definition of ‘trash’ would have changed too.

    Some people can’t and won’t be helped greenfly, it is unfair of you to make out that that makes me the monster.

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  10. @Shunda barunda 9:12 PM

    If you want to get into that debate, take a look at this Tom Robinson video – it has always summed up for me what “freedom” and discrimination is really about – and NOT about:

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  11. Yeah well you really don’t understand me at all then Toad.

    It makes me laugh like hell when Green Mp’s and other left wing types that live in their fancy lifestyle blocks on the out skirts of town (or even well away from town) think they can preach to me about how I should react to the appalling behaviour of those in the less desirable suburbs (where I live).

    You don’t know what it is like and you appear to be completely ignorant of the reality of certain communities. It is as simple as that.

    Though I will say this, it is wrong to refer to people as “trash” in the way certain upper class ar$holes do, but describing certain behaviour as ‘trash’ is entirely appropriate. It’s the whole “there are no evil people just evil deeds” thing, but Toady, sometimes people’s ‘deeds’ are so screwed up and so consistently out of whack that describing them as ‘trash’ or ‘evil’ is very easy to do.

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  12. “Perhaps Sam needs some more life experience, or needs to accept that “trash” do in fact exist.”

    Not sure what life experience you think I’m missing, if it’s having lived in places where crime is rife, I’ve done so (had neighbours once who chased me and others down the street wielding knives and chains because my mate complained about them dumping rubbish in the courtyard of the block of flats we lived in).

    My point is that this particular guy, nice as he was to me, held attitudes that made him not the kind of person who should be given the task of building a relationship with this community. Rather than sorting out its problems, I reckon he would be looking to identify particular individuals as ‘troublemakers’ and imposing punitive solutions on them.

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  13. I reckon he would be looking to identify particular individuals as ‘troublemakers’ and imposing punitive solutions on them.

    Sam, I am intrigued by your objection to this.

    While I can accept it would be wrong for an officer of the law to unfairly label someone a “trouble maker” I can also accept that the weight of an individuals actions over a period of time could also cause them to be seen as a person that frequently causes trouble.

    Why are you so hung up on this as a bad thing? isn’t it simply an efficient way for police to do what they are paid to do? isn’t it a fact that some individuals are hell bent on causing trouble?

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  14. Firstly, I think a lot of people do get unfairly labelled ‘troublemakers’. Secondly, if your approach to a community is to take a punitive approach to individuals, rightly or wrongly labelled as such, you aren’t going to fix anything, you are just going to continue the merry-go-round of crime, punishment, alienation, crime that we have been in for far too long, and police are going to continue to have a fractious and confrontational relationship with some communities.

    How is this going to help? We’ve seen some nasty cases of communities ‘closing ranks’ around people alleged to have done some vile things, which hardly helps matters. In case you haven’t noticed, the punitive method hasn’t worked – things aren’t getting better. We just have a massive incarceration rate and no sign of less crime.

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  15. If you see the police’s job as simply making arrests and ensuring troublemakers get punished, I guess your argument is fair enough, and perhaps they aren’t the best agency to get in communities and sort out the problems that lead to crime. But it would be nice if we, as a society, were looking at solving problems, rather than just continuing to do what we’ve always done.

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  16. Interesting…

    I think the police are out there to either prevent crime or arrest those who perpetrate it. I’m sure there are some police who use their positions for ‘self-interest’ too..
    BUT I wonder if they are really just being turned into revenue gatherers for the Govt.

    I think the real concern is the Key-partys agenda of slash & burn of ALL Govt. jobs (besides their own) & then they say to the unemployed “Get back to work !”

    OH DEAR

    Kia-ora Greens

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