President's Weekly Round-up: 4 March 2016
Excellent news that the officers involved in the Myers Park shooting last year will not face charges. There are still the coroner’s, IPCA, and PPP (Policy, Practice and Procedure) inquiries to come, which means the officers can’t put it behind them yet, but the criminal decision is the big one. The coroner coming out last year and talking about this as probably 'suicide by cop' was unique and helpful.
No doubt the IPCA will find fault with some technical part of the operation which will completely overshadow the fact that the shooting was found to be justified, but that is their way. I argue that they exist to reassure the public that police are not brutal or corrupt, and that by highlighting issues which are almost invariably irrelevant to the final outcome, they simply distract from the fact that the shooting or pursuit was justified. It would be nice if they were to go after the really big issues around resourcing, rotation and other broad policies which can have a bigger impact than the PPP issues they seem to focus on.
The team in Counties Manukau have a homicide inquiry on their hands this week, that is getting more publicity than many of their homicides do due to the fact the victim leapt from a car, and the possible gang involvement. Considering how little organised crime investigation is going on, I expect we will see more of these.
The Minister announced this week that a joint Gang Intelligence Centre will be established to share information on gangs. All very well, but intel is not evidence, and as we pointed out, without some serious investment in investigation, it will only ever be the low hanging jailbait we catch while the guys at the top remain immune. Squads are frequently diverted to other work, especially child abuse. In saying that, the Intel Centre is a good start.
I'm heading to the College this afternoon for the funeral of a member, Carl Kennedy, who worked in Intel there. Carl suffered a major cardiac arrest while swimming. He was ex-military before becoming a police employee, and he was well known and respected at the college. It will be a big turnout. He leaves behind two teenage sons, which of course is the real tragedy. Following on the heels of Barry Woon's funeral last weekend, it is a reminder of our mortality. Barry got a good send-off in Tauranga, with a nice mix of Barry the man and Barry the policeman. It’s easy for the police part to subsume the individual, but the speakers managed it well. I reflect on the number of funerals I have attended over the years, and how important it is to pick the right speakers who understand they are there to honour the deceased person. People should walk out feeling they know more about the deceased person’s life.
So once again I finish on a reflective note. But at least in both Barry's and Carl's cases, it is nice to know we can offer more than our sympathies to the family. Reassuring them about the life insurance policies we hold on behalf of the member does take away the burden of wondering how they are going to manage financially, and allows them to grieve. The range of Welfare Fund products we offer really is about looking after the broader interests of the membership, and it is highlighted at these times.
Once again, stay safe and enjoy life.