President's Weekly Round-up: 11 April 2016

NZPA - Greg O'Connor | Mon April 11th, 2016

I am sitting on a flight to Wellington reflecting on last night’s farewell to retiring Detective Inspector Bruce Good in Auckland, which I attended, along with senior police from around the country, including the Commissioner and his deputy.

Bruce led a big team, previously AMCOS and latterly Auckland OFCANZ, which has been responsible for most of New Zealand’s big meth and other organised crime busts, including Operation Eight, over recent years.

At many farewells, there is often an element of duty involved on behalf of the attendees, and the accolades, while well intentioned and genuine, may not paint a full picture of the retiree’s service.

Bruce's was not one of those. The esteem and mana in which he is held by some very good police officers, lawyers, judges and other agencies was on display. There’s nothing flashy about Bruce; he’s the stoic, capable, unflappable and wise leader you are lucky to have probably once in a career. The haka his staff performed at the end was as powerful a tribute as I have experienced.

Bruce is one of four long-serving, high-ranking detectives who will leave in the next couple of months. Those departures would appear to signal a change in the traditional investigative approach. History will judge the wisdom of the new direction. 

The role of the CIB in the Prevention First model is somewhat ill defined and, as with the rest of the organisation, it's a balance between ensuring our response and investigative capabilities are not compromised while at the same time being part of proactive attempts to stop crime before it happens.

The Association can never allow itself to become a voice for advocating the status quo; that eventually consigns us to irrelevance as the world moves on. However, we can provide a forum for alternative views on behalf of well-informed members, whose opinions are often not only ignored but can prove career limiting if expressed internally.

The current firearms situation is a case in point, and having politicians of all colours approach me to congratulate the Association for raising an issue their constituents have been telling them about for some time, shows how bad news is not suppressed just in Police.

It’s important to constantly remind ourselves that the membership need their Association to be involved across a broad spectrum of activities to look after their interests. I can assure you, though, that protecting members’ interests does not involve Panamanian bank accounts!   With the hacking and disclosure of that dodgy legal firm’s database, following on from WikiLeaks and even our own Dirty Politics, it just proves the adage that if you don't want it on the front page, don't put it online.

I don’t have any sympathy for tax dodgers. They're happy to use the roads and ring the police when they need us, but are averse to paying for it through tax. Some of our wealthier citizens seem to keep their tax to a very low level using tools never available to mere salaried individuals like ourselves.

Our Welfare Fund staff, who deal with your insurance and other needs at National Office, have moved back to their refurbished floor. They had to put up with some pretty rudimentary conditions while waiting, so they very much deserve a modern workplace. We can hardly be hassling Police to improve working conditions, if we don't practice what we preach.

Stay safe.
Greg O

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