Police culture, Police bars, and pack rapist Shipton’s little helpers

TV3 reports:

Police Commissioner Howard Broad told the Government to drop the exemption for police bars, as it would show leadership.

But front-line officers disagreed, and he got rolled by his own minister.

“I’m actually very comfortable with trusting the police who run the police bars actually,” says Police Minister Judith Collins.

In chimes Police Association President Greg O’Connor:

“Police officers are vulnerable when they are drinking as identifiable groups out in the public – simply because those they police are more likely to have a go,” says Greg O’Connor.

So Police bars won’t have to keep to the new closing hours, or face any of the tougher penalties.  They will remain a law unto themselves.  By taking the position advocated by Collins and O’Connor, the Police become increasingly perceived as privileged and aloof; isolating themselves from the communities they are meant to serve.

There have been numerous reported incidents of criminal offending and inappropriate or thuggish behaviour by Police during or following drinking sessions in Police bars.  That is part of what is wrong with Police culture, and why public respect for the Police is on the wane.  Police bars should be subject to the same laws and controls as other licenced premises.

Public confidence in the Police is also undermined by the apparent continued tolerance of thuggery and corruption.  In 2005, former Police officer and pack rapist Brad Shipton’s “little helper”, Senior Sergeant Dave Archibald, was reprimanded for unlawfully accessing the police computer system to dig dirt on the complainant in one of Shipton’s cases to pass on to a private investigator (and former Police colleague) working for Shipton’s defence team.

Archibald put helping his mate Shipton ahead of the law he was sworn to uphold.  In any other part of the public service, such a blatant and corrupt breach of privacy would likely result in summary dismissal.  But five years on, we now see Archibald promoted to Detective Inspector and put in charge of the Police College’s investigation and intelligence school, where he will no doubt instil his perverse cultural perspective of putting his loyalty to mates ahead of upholding the law into young Police officers in training.

Shipton’s sexual offending, incidentally, commenced following drinking sessions with young women in the Rotorua Police bar; and in 1995 the senior officer who was eventually jailed for covering up Shipton’s offending, John Dewar, was suspended and found guilty of insulting language after a confrontation with a young woman officer in that Police bar.

I’m among the first to want to see the Police change their culture and regain the public respect and confidence they have lost.   On recent evidence, that isn’t going to happen soon.

24 Comments Posted

  1. I went to a political meeting Collins was at, where she talked about grown policemen as ‘her boys’. She then went on to talk about prisoners as some sort of scum. Still, she is a National Minister. We must expect that sort of philosophy with them and Act.

  2. Here’s one argument for having a police bar with loose rules at the training college: it helps to detect people who cope badly with alcohol before they’re sworn in.

  3. Photonz1-Did you realize that this post was related to the fact that police bars will be the only ones not having to be under the new liquor laws and closing hours? It was also suggested that the police need alcohol to deal with their job and can be trusted not to abuse their exclusive rights.

    The views of many here is that police don’t deserve to have special privileges above any other stressful occupation and there is lots of evidence to show that many police are likely to abuse the privilege anyway. As the frontline in dealing with the consequences of alcohol abuse it is also sending out the wrong messages regarding the importance of alcohol in our daily lives.

    I still miss your point.

  4. toad “Are you suggesting we should just sit back and let our Police become as corrupt as they are in many other countries? ”

    What – having their own bar will make them corrupt?

    Toad – every post you make is slagging the police off for some reason or other – never a good thing to say – only endless slagging off.

    And you claim this it to make them accountable – yeah right.

    When what you really need is a blog titled “Reasons I hate the Police”

  5. One can only opine that’s it’s a bit difficult to stick the knife into the Police’s front since they persist in showing their @sses.

  6. What is you point, photonz1?

    Are you suggesting we should just sit back and let our Police become as corrupt as they are in many other countries?

    I want a Police service that is effective in detecting and prosecuting criminal offending, is democratically accountable, plays by the rules, upholds the rights of everyone rather than just the rich and powerful, and is free from corruption.

    What sort of Police service do you want?

  7. Hi Frog,
    I just need a ‘like’ button for this post, right now the fact that Police Bars are exempt from the changes being discussed makes me too angry to post.
    Thanks for coherently expressing what has been fizzing around my brain.

    Toad, etc, thanks for your continued support on this issue.

  8. @photonz1 4:50 PM

    For some reason you left “rape” off that long list. That was a significant issue frog raised in the original post.

    Why would you have left that off your list? Is it not important to you that some Police officers abuse the power they have as Police to rape?

  9. Groupthink..?

    Okay, so police like time out.. but together, always together.. I don’t think so. Unhealthy.. risky.. especially by the kooks among them.. and no, I don’t buy there are no kooks— policing can be a most stressful job..

    Then, in terms of management and priorities thereto, efficient policy-by-exception would be impossible under groupthink scenarios..

    Maybe the government minister could have more thought and consideration given to these debilitating aspects..

  10. Photonz1
    We don’t like the lying about U turns either and a policeman neighbour once borrowed my trailor without asking.

  11. Certainly the Force loses a lot of Staff to Job Stress.
    This is true all over the World.
    But Police should know (from work experience) that despite the fleece of being Legal, Alcohol is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs around.
    After two young Officers were involved in an 8am shooting on one of Sydney’s Beaches (several years ago ), blood tests revealed that they had significant levels of alcohol, marijuana, speed, exstacy (sp?) and PCB in their systems.
    My Sydney friend was unsurprised and said that such things were quite normal for young men in Sydney, regardless of their Occupation.
    I am reminded that often our frontline Police are comparitively young in the ‘school of life’.
    I would be very wary of adopting simplistic and Blase attitudes to this problem – people who abuse substances are usually in some good deal of pain – I feel that this issue needs to be viewed from a compassionate angle, irrespective of their Job.
    ‘Sticking the Boot in’ is probably the most Harmfull thing we could do – but, from what I’ve seen – this is all too often the approach taken by the Ethics of today’s Institutions in NZ.
    It is unnecessary and Very Counter-Productive.

  12. So we have issues with police with their

    – opening hours
    – licencing laws
    – too much drinking
    – not drinking with everyone else
    – stealing cannabis
    – damaging alcohol reform
    – not using psychological debreifing
    – drink driving
    – poor messages being sent out

    It sort of backs up my assertion that this is little more than another opportunity to stick the boot in.

    Then we complain there’s no one wants to do the job.

  13. I saw the Police Spokesman, on the six o’clock news, saying that Police ‘needed alcohol’ to cope with the job stress

    I thought they would be able to get by with all the cannabis that gets seized but somehow doesn’t turn up as an exhibit in court.

    And, before you start, photonz1, I’ve seen this – went to court to support a friend who had been busted with his season harvest – a rubbish bag full. But when he got to court the exhibit was a small plastic bag. No-one’s going to get up and say “Excuse me, your honour, but there was a hell of a lot more than that”.

  14. Just astride that point; I saw the Police Spokesman, on the six o’clock news, saying that Police ‘needed alcohol’ to cope with the job stress.

    Using alcohol as medicine has a pretty unhappy history in that when the effects of drinking wear off, the problems not only remain, but are enhanced over a period of time.

    Can I suggest that a compassionate psychological debriefing would be preferable to boozing one’s way to good health?

  15. “There’s probably some advantages when you’ve got a group of people in an extraordinarily stressful job having their own place where they can de-stress and have a bit of a blowout.”
    Photonz1- I was referring to this statement and thought you were implying that for some stressful occupations, with a high public profile, having somewhere to destress without public scrutiny was useful.

    …and yes it can be difficult for doctors and teachers if they are recognized in bars, however these occupations recognize the poor messages sent when there is an over-emphasis of alcohol within their culture. I would have thought with what police have to deal with on a regular basis they would recognize this as well.

  16. Rimu – stand opening hours are pointless if that’s when most police are working.

    Sprout – I diodn’t realise it was common for teachers and doctors to get abused in bars because of their profession.

    Frog – you say police don’t socialise much with non-police.

    Do you have any evidence to back up your statement?

  17. “And you think making them all go to public bars with all the verbal and worse that they get”

    Having the police bars obey the same licensing laws and closing hours is not the same thing as closing down the entire police bar.

    Sometimes I think you are contrary just for the sake of it.

  18. Photonz1-Under your logic similar bars should be available to medical staff and teachers who have similar issues around their occupations.

    In my experience those police who mix with their communities at a social level tend to have far more respect and support than those who seperate themslves under privileged conditions. I totally support your views, frog.

  19. photonz1, I don’t have that much of a problem with the existence of Police bars – many workplaces have their own social clubs.

    I would, however, encourage Police officers to sometimes socialise at places other than Police bars. Not having any social contact with anyone other than their workmates can create a very insular “us against the world” mindset.

    The much bigger problem, as I see it, is that the Police bars are not subject to the same licencing requirements as other licenced premises. I’ve only been in a Police bar a couple of times, but from what I’ve heard from former officers who used to frequent them, people are served in states of intoxication that in any other licenced premises would (or should) result in the Police prosecuting the staff who served them.

  20. frog says “I’m among the first to want to see the Police change their culture and regain the public respect and confidence they have lost. ”

    That seems unlikely – you stick the knife in the back at every available opportunity.

    There’s probably some advantages when you’ve got a group of people in an extraordinarily stressful job having their own place where they can de-stress and have a bit of a blowout.

    And you think making them all go to public bars with all the verbal and worse that they get, would IMPROVE things????????

  21. How can we expect the Police to uphold the liquor licencing laws when they don’t have to comply with them themselves and seem to frequently get pissed as parrots at the Police bar and drive home.

    A friend of mine was involved in a car accident a couple of years ago.

    He wanted to call the Police, as the driver of the other vehicle was obviously drunk. But the other driver convinced him not to, writing out a statement at the accident scene admitting liability and providing contact details. When my friend phoned the contact number the next day the receptionist answered “Auckland CIB”.

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