Media Releases Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:49:51 +1200 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:49:51 +1200 Police Association launches 2017 election year policy document: Towards a Safer New Zealand <p><strong>The proliferation of illegal firearms in New Zealand has provided a sobering backdrop for today’s launch of the Police Association’s 2017 election year policy document.</strong></p> <p>Association President Chris Cahill referred to yesterday’s Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) finding that the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) was justified in shooting an armed offender who pulled a gun on a police officer.</p> <p>“The report details how the offender aimed at an officer but his shotgun failed, and when he tried to reload, he was shot by the AOS and later died.  It is chilling reading on a number of fronts,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Had it not been for the initial failure of the offender’s shotgun the story could have been another police fatality,” he said.</p> <p>“There is no satisfaction in ‘I told you so’, in this game, and that is why our Policy Document highlights the danger illegal firearms pose to members of the public and police officers.  That is why we are so critical of the Government’s decision to reject key recommendations from the Select Committee report into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms,” he said. </p> <p>“It is as if they don’t believe what is really happening out on the frontlines”.  </p> <p>“Take Wednesday, during a routine traffic stop in Onehunga.  As an officer spoke with the driver he saw the barrel of a pistol protruding on the floor by the driver’s seat.  The officer retreated to the patrol car to access his weapon from the lockbox and was then able to arrest the offender.  The revolver originally seen was confiscated, along with a sawn-off shotgun and meth found in the boot,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Cahill said he is determined to alert New Zealanders to the constant reports he has from Association members who find, or are confronted by, illegal firearms during routine policing.</p> <p>Among its many recommendations for political parties, the Association calls for increasing pressure on organised crime and gangs, and a serious focus on processes that will ensure better records of how many firearms there are in New Zealand, and who has them.</p> <p>The Association applauds the Government’s increase in police numbers, announced at the beginning of this year.  However it warns that by the time the 880 extra officers are all in place by 2021, New Zealand’s population will have risen to the point where the population-to-police ratio will be little better than it is today.</p> <p>“We are cognisant of the fact that policing is not about arresting or imprisoning our way to safer communities,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“We need to be smarter in how we allocate resources and target crime. We know that simply doing more of the same with extra resources is not a viable strategy, and we know that waiting for policing to reach breaking point before paying it due attention is seriously damaging to the welfare of police officers.”</p> <p><a href="">Read the NZPA 2017 Policy Document here.</a></p> Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 10:49 Media Releases Police Association astounded at Government rejection of firearms controls <p><strong>The New Zealand Police Association says the Minister of Police has today ignored the risk of increased firearms threats to the public, and made the jobs of front line officers more difficult and definitely more dangerous.</strong></p> <p>Association President Chris Cahill said gun presence and/or violence is now reported in New Zealand on a daily basis and Minister Paula Bennett’s gutting of the recommendations of the Law and Order Select Committee’s Inquiry into the possession of illegal firearms will do nothing to rectify that.</p> <p>“The Minister has rejected every meaningful measure put forward by the Committee in a genuine effort to prevent the supply of firearms to criminals,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Minister Bennett appears to have bowed to the pressure of the gun lobby which we believe  represents fewer than 10,000 of the 240,000 licensed gun owners.  She has ignored the deliberations of the Select Committee, even on the common sense and obvious recommendations, to the point you have to ask why hold an inquiry in the first place,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Cahill acknowledges the Minister’s statement that nobody wants firearms getting into the hands of violent gang members, but says that’s exactly what is happening now and essentially maintaining the status quo will not rectify an already unacceptable situation.</p> <p>“The Minister’s concern about ‘over the top’ rules and restrictions on hunters and shooters ignores the reality that New Zealand is awash with illegal firearms and the majority of them are stolen,” he said.</p> <p>“The Association does not want to burden legitimate gun owners, but does not believe any of the Committee’s recommendations did that.”</p> <p>The Association keeps a record of firearms incidents reported by its members.  The following is just a small sample of those recorded in and around the Auckland area in the last few days:</p> <p>- male victim assaulted by offenders with a shotgun and pistol</p> <p>- police locate rifle in vehicle tracked by Eagle helicopter</p> <p>- victim threatened by 4 males with shotgun</p> <p>- three offenders discharged shotgun in late night bar, took contents of slot machine</p> <p>- Black Power supporter’s vehicle search revealed sawn off shotgun and ammunition</p> <p>- vehicle containing air rifle and stubb nosed pistol stolen outside owner’s address</p> <p>- male driver waves long barrelled firearm out window of vehicle</p> <p>- vehicle containing 2 shotguns stolen from owner’s address</p> <p>- pump action shotgun belonging to patched Tribesman member located during search</p> <p>- shotgun victim had been using for duck shooting stolen from vehicle parked near rugby club</p> <p>“In one Police district alone, officers seized 525 firearms, and recorded 461 offences involving either breaches of the Arms Act or criminal use of a firearm in the last fiscal year,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Control of firearms is taken very seriously by the Association because it is our members who stand between criminals with guns and the public. That is why we question the reasons behind the Minister’s rejection of a very simple and painless measure such as Police recording serial numbers of all firearms upon renewal of licence or inspection of premises,” he said.</p> <p>He added that another puzzling decision was for the Minister to recommend the introduction of the power to suspend licences pending decision on revocation, in order to give Police an alternative to cancelling a licence in situations such as someone charged with family violence or where security issues need to be resolved.</p> <p>“The Association would consider family violence or lack of secure storage to be potential red flags when it comes to the right to have guns”, Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>While the Association does not question the personal integrity of the two people the Minister appointed as independent advisors on the firearms report, it does challenge their ‘independence’ given one actually made submissions against the Committee’s recommendations.</p> Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 00:00 Media Releases Budget 2017: Continued commitment to law and order welcomed <p><strong>The Government has today confirmed its commitment to increase the number of police by 880 and the number of non-sworn Police employees by 245, over the next four years.</strong></p> <p>The Association welcomed the announcement when it was initially made in the February 2 Safer Communities package.</p> <p>“A $388m increase in Vote Police is a much needed initiative to relieve serious strains on front line policing,” Police Association President Chris Cahill said.</p> <p>“Ideally we would have liked the officers and support staff on the job immediately, but it is imperative to recruit the right people and train them to the highest standards.  That takes time and considerable effort,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>The roll out of the Government package means every year for the next four years, 220 extra recruits, over and above the 400-500 trained every year, will be needed to meet the target of 880. The first of these intakes enters Police College this July.</p> <p>Mr Cahill said since the initial announcement Police has provided more details on exactly where the extra police will be stationed.</p> <p>“High pressure districts such as Northland, Waikato and Eastern have the largest percentage increases at 19%, 16.4% and 16.1% respectively, and indicative planning allocations show the largest numbers will go to these areas in the 2017/2018 financial year,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“It is also good to note that the 880 officers will all be out in the community, and not adding to Police bureaucracy.”</p> <p>“Our members are telling us every day of the growth in key crime areas, and the dangerous cycle being fuelled by the methamphetamine “industry” which is always closely linked to gangs,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“And where there is meth, there are invariably firearms which pose not only a danger to the general public, but to police who are encountering such weapons on a regular basis,” he added.</p> <p>The Association is mindful of the job ahead in keeping the Government aware of the dangers of a growth in the gap between the New Zealand population and the number of police officers on the frontline.</p> <p>“By the time this year’s Budget package is fully rolled out, our population will have increased significantly.  Unless there is a serious drop in crime, we will again find ourselves caught in this cycle of stressed police and political catch-up remedies.  That is neither good for New Zealanders nor good for our members, so we will be watching it closely,” Mr Cahill said. </p> Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 10:34 Media Releases Police Association welcomes new focus on illegal firearms in New Zealand <h2> The New Zealand Police Association says Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee is clearly serious about dealing with the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand.</h2> <p>Association President Chris Cahill says today’s report, following ten months of submissions and deliberations, has produced some good, common sense recommendations which answer a number of concerns the Association has with the current situation.</p> <p>“We are particularly pleased with the recommendation that the permit to procure a firearm be extended to cover the sale or transfer of all firearms,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>The Committee noted that this process would provide details of firearms transactions to the Police, and over time, this information would build a database of firearms possessed by individuals. </p> <p>“The Committee members have recognised that this permit regime would initially impose an administrative burden on buyers, sellers and the Police, but it is time to focus on the bigger picture.  New Zealand needs to better monitor private sales of firearms and the majority of the country’s 242,000 licensed owners will agree with that.  An online process for permits will eventually reduce the costs to all,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>The Association applauds the tough stance recommended with respect to gangs.</p> <p>“Anything that makes being a member of a gang less appealing, we’re happy with,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Gang members and gang prospects are not fit and proper persons to possess firearms, and they demonstrate that every day of the week.  We know of gang members who are licensed firearms carriers and currently there is nothing to stop them purchasing any number of weapons, and then distributing them amongst the gang,” he said. </p> <p>The Committee decided against the creation of a firearms register, opting instead for a law change to require Police to record the serial numbers of firearms owned by licence holders when they renew their licences, or are subject to inspection of their premises.</p> <p>“We are quite happy with that recommendation, particularly when it is combined with the recommendations to extend the powers of the Police to enter premises to inspect the security of “A” category firearms, and loss of licence as the penalty if storage regulations are not complied with.  This will mean when Police carry out security checks they can at the same time, record serial numbers and add them to the Police registry,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“These are only a number of the recommendations, and they sit amongst many others that the Association believes will lead to a much better understanding of where firearms are across the country.”</p> <p>However the Association is not happy with the Committee’s attitude to the rules and regulations surrounding the importation of firearms.</p> <p>“There appears to be a glaring omission in the report when it comes to tightening up on the tens of thousands of firearms imported into New Zealand every year.  We have to ask why on earth we need all these firearms, why we need MSSAs and pistols, and why is it acceptable to not know where many of these weapons end up,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>The Association hopes the Government will take seriously  the recommendations, and implement them as soon as possible.</p> Friday, April 7, 2017 - 16:21 Media Releases Scrapping New Zealand’s Vehicle Safety Officers dangerous and short-sighted <h2> The Police Association is deeply concerned that the jobs of the country’s 26 Vehicle Safety Officers (VSOs) are to be axed at a time when New Zealand’s road toll is unacceptably high, and climbing.</h2> <p>Police last year announced that 111 road policing staff (which includes VSOs) were to be taken off these duties and absorbed back into general policing with no-one losing their job.</p> <p>“That is clearly not the case because the 26 VSOs are to be disbanded.  These highly specialised mechanics and engineers who focus on the safety of New Zealand’s heavy duty vehicles are not sworn officers and so cannot be simply absorbed into other policing duties,” Association President Chris Cahill said.</p> <p>Police say that less than 4% of crashes on our roads involve commercial trucks.  The Association considers it not unreasonable to extrapolate from that that the relatively low figure of commercial vehicle accidents is due to the independence and expertise of the VSOs when conducting inspections.  </p> <p>“There are tens of thousands of heavy commercial vehicles on New Zealand’s roads at any given time, and, when trucks can travel 100,000s of kms between inspections, an undetected mechanical or structural fault can cause havoc,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“When trucks or buses are involved in accidents the consequences are usually significant.  It simply doesn’t make sense to downplay the roadworthiness of the likes of massive logging trucks, school and tourist buses, and, don’t forget, the potential catastrophe of an unsafe vehicle is not only for those inside it, but for other road users who may be impacted in any crash.”   </p> <p>VSOs deal regularly with issues which could cause imminent vehicle failure.  These include the likes of worn universal joints, missing, lose or broken cap bolts, visible cracks in cross members and between drive axles, cracked chassis plates, damaged chassis rails, cracked deck attachments, insufficient tread depth on tyres.</p> <p>The Association wants to know which independent agency or agencies will now carry out the vital inspections which uncover these faults, and who will be responsible for reporting on the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles involved in crashes.</p> <p>“Taking staff from road policing when New Zealand’s freight levels are expected to increase 75% over the next 25 years is extremely short sighted,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p> “We also only need to look back at the last Christmas/New Year holiday period open road toll of 15 fatal crashes and 19 deaths to know it is not a time to mess with road safety in any way”, Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Added to that, Police’s own report notes a 16% increase in road crash hospitalisation figures for the last quarter of last year compared to the 2015 figures.  That is the highest result since 2008/09 and while those numbers were fairly consistently represented across most districts, some areas showed substantial increases,” he said.</p> <p>The report also shows New Zealand has nothing to be proud of when our progress in reducing road deaths is compared with other OECD countries.  We top the scale in (relative) rises in road deaths - increases which are mirrored in the hospitalisation results.</p> Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 14:36 Media Releases Police Association urges caution over publication of Taser camera footage <p><strong>The Police Association has appealed to media outlets to show judgement and fairness if they publish Taser camera footage from a recent trial of four Hawkes Bay police officers.  The officers were acquitted of assaulting Gregory McPeake by using either a police Taser as a weapon, or assault using a police dog as a weapon.</strong></p> <p>The Napier District Court has granted TVNZ, Fairfax and NZME access to the footage, subject to a number of conditions.</p> <p>Association President Chris Cahill asks the media concerned to heed Judge Cooper’s warnings about fair and contextual use of the material.</p> <p>Mr Cahill says he would be alarmed if the footage was used to essentially “trial by media” the Hawkes Bay officers. </p> <p>“It is vital to remember that the actions of the officers were fully tested in a court of law, and the decision from that trial is the most informed.  The jury considered all the evidence – including the footage Judge Cooper has agreed to release - and took little over an hour to acquit the officers,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>Mr McPeake died during the arrest process but not as a result of the actions of the officers, and Mr Cahill says the Association is very aware of the distress caused to Mr McPeake’s family.</p> <p>“I am therefore very concerned that the Taser footage the wider public will see captures only a few moments of a difficult, protracted and ultimately tragic night’s events,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“Context in such situations is a serious issue. It is up to the media to ensure they follow the Judge’s directions on this matter.  Context means the Taser footage must not be isolated from everything the police officers were confronted with that night,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Cahill welcomes the ruling of Judge PW Cooper in granting the application in which he advised media to report this matter accurately.</p> <p>The Judge said <em>“media will need to provide a context which, to be fair, balanced and accurate, would no doubt include matters leading up to the use of the Tasers and the police dogs and the fact that Gregory McPeake’s death, if referred to at all, was not caused by the officers’ actions.”</em></p> <p>The Judge went on to say that <em>“having presided over the trial, I can say that it is incontrovertible that the officers acted in good faith and any suggestion otherwise would be highly actionable.”</em></p> Friday, March 10, 2017 - 11:02 Media Releases Police Association questions shooting club ban <p><strong>The Police Association is alarmed that a Wairarapa shooting club has banned police from using its firearms training facility in a bid to force Police National Headquarters to change its attitude on certain gun policies and procedures.</strong></p> <p>Association President Chris Cahill says the Association readily accepts that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens.</p> <p>He also says in his experience very few gun owners have issues with registering their own firearm, or who they may on-sell to. The aim is to control who has access to firearms, not penalise licensed firearms owners.</p> <p>“Like it or not, the reality is that criminals often acquire their guns from burglaries of legitimate gun owners and dealers, or, guns are on-sold to people who have no intention of registering them and using them within legal parameters,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>On a daily basis our members are being confronted by criminals with guns.  The results of a proliferation of firearms are very real for front line police and the Association believes that having a gun pointed in your face should not be seen as just part of the job.  Illegal firearms are also regularly uncovered during routine searches of suspects, vehicles and buildings.  This situation is a significant risk to police officers and to the public.</p> <p>Under the Arms Act (1983) a firearms licence allows the holder to have and use sporting type shotguns and rifles.  Target shooting pistol club members require a ‘B’ Endorsement attached to their firearms licences to possess and use pistols as a member of an incorporated pistol club on a range approved by the Commissioner of Police.</p> <p>“With all dangerous things in society come rules and regulations that have to be enforced.  A firearm is a lethal weapon and we do not see why firearms should be excluded from safeguards”, Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>He added that while the club’s president, Mr Rawlinson, says they are “not trying to be vindictive or nasty”, in imposing an immediate ban,  it certainly sounds vindictive when Police is trying to ensure dangerous weapons do not end up in the hands of criminals.</p> <p>“This banning of front line police from the firearms training facility is the first the Association has ever heard of the issues the Wairarapa Club has now expressed.”</p> <p>“Perhaps it would have been more productive to at least approach the Association with the view to discuss the concerns rather than complicate the training programmes of Wairarapa police who use, and pay for, the Club’s facilities in order to ensure they are equipped to keep the community safe,” Mr Cahill said.</p> Friday, March 10, 2017 - 11:06 Media Releases Police Association welcomes commitment to policing <p>New Zealand Police Association President Chris Cahill says the Government’s announcement of 1125 new police will make a real difference to the fight against crime in this country.</p> <p>“The Association has identified the pressure points for policing being on the front line, in investigations and organised crime, and the Government has taken notice,” Mr Cahill said.</p> <p>“This package shows the Government has done its homework, and while ideally we would like the extra staff immediately, knowing that the cavalry is on its way will be a positive for Police in making future plans,” he said.</p> <p>“The Association has voiced its concerns about the proliferation of illegal firearms, the growth in organised crime and the availability of methamphetamine and we are very pleased to see the Government has identified these areas specifically.”</p> <p>Mr Cahill says initiatives such as the 12 mobile policing units will allow policing to be more responsive when crises arise in particular areas.</p> <p>“The focus on Safer Communities not only allows police to formulate longer term prevention measures, but also deal with crime as and when it is occurring.  Ensuring that balance is right is crucial to good policing and it is something we have been concerned about in recent times because of staff shortages,” he said.</p> <p>The Association believes recognition of the need for support staff is a positive move because of the vital role they play for those on the front line.</p> Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 13:07 Media Releases Resourcing critical to changes in Youth Justice age <p><strong>The New Zealand Police Association says it is vital that the Government adequately resource its decision to extend the youth justice system to include lower-risk 17-year-old offenders.</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Earlier this year the Association surveyed its members on the prospect of extending the youth justice age from 16 to 17. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Association President Chris Cahill says 73% of police opposed such a move, and, narrowed down to Youth Aid officers at the frontline of juvenile offending, 55% were against the change. Youth Aid officers who did support extending the age did so on the proviso that it could only happen with additional resourcing. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Police need to be able to do their job as best they can at all levels of offending, and as the country knows, many areas of policing are currently stretched to breaking point” Mr Cahill says.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The last thing we need is any increase in our workload and we are concerned that this move is based on youth court numbers and not the myriad of other ways Youth Aid officers work to keep the majority of child/youth offenders out of any courtroom. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The arrest and interview process for a child/youth offender is a much more complex and often time consuming process than for an adult.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr Cahill accepts the policy move is focussed on what the Government refers to as “lower-risk 17-year-olds”, and says that is more acceptable to the Association membership than a wholesale extension of the youth justice age.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Police are also very aware of the issues that arise when young people are placed in adult prisons, that at 17 they are still often very immature, and that the New Zealand government has seen the need to be in line with other similar jurisdictions and the United Nations” Mr Cahill says.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“It appears the Government has moved to address international criticism. The Association now awaits the details of how the Government will address the needs of the frontline staff and services to avoid domestic criticism.”</span></p> <div>  </div> Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 15:14 Media Releases Police Association welcomes new President Chris Cahill <div> <strong>The Police Association’s 81st Annual Conference has today elected Chris Cahill as President for a three-year term.</strong></div> <div>  </div> <div> <img alt="Chris Cahill" src="/system/files/image/Media Releases/Chris Cahill Pic.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 375px;" />In a contested election, Mr Cahill secured the position after receiving the support of delegates to the conference in Wellington.</div> <div>  </div> <div> Mr Cahill is a Detective Inspector in Auckland City. With a police career encompassing Invercargill to Auckland and many places in between, across a variety of work groups, from one-man stations to specialist national squads, he will bring a broad perspective and understanding of policing to the role.</div> <div>  </div> <div> Mr Cahill has a long history of involvement within the Police Association. He has held every committee position, including serving as a core negotiator on three salary negotiations, as well as regional director and Vice-President for three years.</div> <div>  </div> <div> “I believe Chris will bring a high level of commitment and experience to the role,” departing President Greg O’Connor said.</div> <div>  </div> <div> “He has shown himself to be a strong advocate for police as an Association member and representative, and I am confident he will ensure that the voice of police officers will continue to be heard in the law and order environment.”</div> <div>  </div> <div> Mr Cahill will take over the position of President from Mr O’Connor, who announced at last year’s conference that he would not seek re-election after serving 21 years in the role.</div> Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 23:00 Media Releases Fallen colleagues remembered on Police Remembrance Day <p><strong><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Whatever else we do in Police, this day is the one that reminds us that being a police officer is different,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said after attending the national Police Remembrance Day service today.</span></strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The day is about those slain on duty and remembering that they made the ultimate sacrifice,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“I’ve been coming to this service for many years now, and as I hear those names read out, I put myself in the position of each of them in their last moments of the event that caused their death,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“WhenI look around and see the police officers here, it is a sobering reminder that it could be any of us, at any time”.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Police Remembrance Day falls on the 29</span><sup style="line-height: 1.4em;">th</sup><span style="line-height: 1.4em;"> of September, the feast day of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of police, and was observed today with a service at the Royal New Zealand Police College and in services around the country.</span></p> <p><img alt="Police Remembrance Pin" src="/system/files/image/feature/Remembrance Pin.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" /></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Police staff, family members and others wore the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin as they reflected on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">The Police Remembrance Pin was designed by the Police Association as a way for members of Police across New Zealand to feel part of the day. Introduced in partnership with NZ Police, the pin has been promoted and embraced as the symbol of police remembrance in New Zealand.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“A growing number of police and others are now wearing the Police Remembrance Pin on Remembrance Day, and in the days leading up to it, as a sign of respect for those who have lost their lives.  It is humbling for police to see the widespread support from their colleagues and other New Zealanders for the sacrifices police officers have made for their safety,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">This year, three historical names were added to the Memorial Wall, bringing the number of officers slain on duty to 32. The deaths of Constable James Butler, Constable Louis Heke Bidois and Detective Constable Ronald Bernard Hill, had been identified by the Police Recognition Project  and plaques added to the Wall to commemorate them.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">The service also remembered 40 officers and employees who have died as a result of their duty, along with serving and former constabulary staff and employees who have died in the past year.</span></p> Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 13:14 Media Releases Rise in child abuse investigations reflects pressure – Police Assn <p><strong>“Child abuse investigation has been a very heavily audited and scrutinised area of policing since the IPCA inquiry in 2007,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor was referring to media articles today which pointed out the considerable workload increase and the increase in the number of victims in this area.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Despite the emphasis on, and resourcing of, this area, there is now clearly still a considerable backlog of files and pressure on staff. Experience has shown that other areas of policing which do not receive the same attention were unable to meet demand and problems have arisen,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Association fears that the new emphasis on burglaries, while to be commended, will simply result in resources being taken from other areas such as organised crime and drug investigations, and New Zealand will pay the price in years to come.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“There simply must be more than a commitment for more staff in the future – there needs to be funding so the process of filling these gaps can begin now.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Any comfort that may be gained from promises of more staff will quickly dissipate as more and more problems emerge,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 16:55 Media Releases Burglary tells the real story of crime – Police Assn <p><strong>“While many offence types can fluctuate, burglary figures tend to be a very good litmus test of how much criminal activity is taking place in the community,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor was commenting on the 11.9% increase in the number of burglaries nationwide over the past year, as revealed in official crime statistics released by Statistics New Zealand today.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“While it is pleasing to see that the focus is now on burglaries across the political spectrum, including the recent policy announcement that police are attending all burglaries, the danger is that we do not recognise that burglaries are often a symptom of bigger problems, especially organised crime and drug problems,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The prevalence of methamphetamine, both in the number of seizures and as a factor in crime, shows the need to attack crime across all dimensions. Focusing purely on burglaries may inadvertently cause problems elsewhere if resources are moved away from other areas.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“What is clear is that the public are now becoming concerned that the crime situation is deteriorating, an inevitability after many years of under-investment.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“We are now seeing political parties, including the government, accepting there is a need to increase police numbers. But it cannot wait for an election – this government must find the money now to increase police numbers across the board so that community concerns about crime can be addressed,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 15:41 Media Releases Response to NZ Herald column on police pursuits <p>On 10 August a column by Brian Rudman was published in the NZ Herald that called for the end of police pursuits.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Read the column: <a href="" target="_blank">Brian Rudman: Pursuit death a heavy toll for crime of idiocy</a></span></p> <p>Police Association President Greg O'Connor responded by way of a letter to the editor of the NZ Herald. Below is his response.</p> <p> </p> <p>Dear Sir,</p> <p>Brian Rudman’s (10 Aug) view blaming police for fleeing driver crashes, ignores the fact that the vast majority of deaths and injuries occur within a very short time of those drivers accelerating away from the initial attempt by Police to pull them over.  It is the knowledge that Police are unlikely to continue a pursuit if the driving is dangerous enough, which incentivises those drivers to flee at speed. </p> <p>Fleeing driver incidents rose 57% from 2005 to 2015, the number of abandoned pursuits rose 179% over the same period, but the deaths continue.  </p> <p>We have inadvertently given bad drivers the green light to flee at speed.  Mr Rudman’s solution will entail police never attempting to pull such drivers over in the first place, and just policing law abiding drivers who it is calculated will not flee.</p> <p>Greg O’Connor</p> <p>President, <span style="line-height: 1.4em;">NZ Police Association</span></p> Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 09:32 Media Releases Police officers see relief in sight – Police Association <p><strong>“Frontline police officers around New Zealand will be watching the current political discussion around police numbers with a great sense of relief that their plight has been acknowledged”, Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</strong></p> <p>Mr O’Connor was responding to the fact that Labour, NZ First, Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff, and now the Prime Minister have all clearly seen the need to increase police numbers and are setting policy accordingly.</p> <p>Mr O'Connor said, “NZ First leader Winston Peters indicated today he believed an increase of 1800 police was needed, Labour have acknowledged that there are simply not enough police, Phil Goff has pointed out that in recent times numbers of Auckland police alone have only increased by one new officer per year, despite huge increases in population, and now the Prime Minister has said that an increase in police numbers is ‘likely’ as the population grows”.</p> <p>“The Police Association has been concerned for some time that the increase in calls for service from the public and now an increase in crime, both reflective of population increases, have not been addressed by a corresponding increase in police numbers or budget. </p> <p>“The public of New Zealand, along with those police officers who are tasked with protecting them, should take some comfort that the lack of police has now been clearly recognised at the highest levels. While it will take some time for the numbers to materialise into actual feet on the street, the fact the problem is now recognised means we can work on a solution.</p> <p>“The Government began increasing Counties Manukau numbers by 300 in 2008, and that had a significant impact on making that district a much safer place. The same proportionate increase in each of the other 11 districts would make New Zealand safer for New Zealanders.</p> <p>“New Zealand increasingly has the opportunity to be seen as the safest place to visit and do business, but this will not happen unless we invest strategically in law and order capability", Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p>“New Zealand Police have introduced new structures, practices and technology which has increased efficiency considerably in recent times. These changes have mitigated to a certain extent the falling police to population ratios, but the time has now come to address the shortages.</p> <p>“The Association remains politically neutral through such debates, and will continue its strategy of supporting good policies and not political parties”, he said.</p> <p>---------------------</p> <p>Read more about the <a href="">Association'</a><span style="line-height: 1.4em;"><a href="">s Policy Position on Police Numbers</a> from our 2014 Policy Document.</span></p> Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 16:01 Media Releases Another Kaitaia homicide will further stretch staff <p><strong>“News this morning that the Far North policing area now has their fourth homicide this year is just more evidence of why policing issues in the area need to be addressed,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</strong></p> <p>Mr O’Connor was commenting on the police investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 77-year-old man in Te Kao overnight.</p> <p>“I have personally visited the Far North twice this year and staff are under extreme pressure to try to keep the lid on a burgeoning gang and drug problem. I have highlighted the issue to the Police administration, and some short term relief has been forthcoming,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p>“Kaitaia and the Far North are a symptom of the problem which has seen the police to population ratio in New Zealand slip from one officer per 515 head of population in 2014 to today’s one officer for every 528 people.</p> <p>“Despite assurances to the contrary, there has been no change to the RAT (Resource Allocation Target) figure target for sworn police in New Zealand which is 8,907. This figure is rarely reached, and as of last month, the number of sworn police (excluding Authorised Officers) sat at 8,604,” he said.*</p> <p>“Police numbers do make a difference, as evidenced by the considerable input made in Counties Manukau post-2008, when the government increased staff numbers by 300. Were the same percentage increase to be applied to every other police district, a considerable difference could be made to the safety of the public in New Zealand.</p> <p>“As further evidence of the impact of reduced police numbers, the road toll has increased considerably at a time when police are being forced to reduce road policing staff numbers by 111,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>*Source: NZ Police Monthly HR Report. The number of total constabulary including Authorised Officers was 8,837.</em></p> Friday, August 5, 2016 - 16:49 Media Releases Focus on the "why" for shootings <p><strong>"While there has been much discussion and commentary on police actions following events in Hamilton and Rotorua this week, it is important to also address the reasons why two men acted in such an irrational, dangerous and threatening manner that police were forced to use lethal force to protect themselves and others," Police Association President Greg O'Connor said today</strong>.</p> <p>Mr O'Connor was commenting after the shooting of two men by police this week.</p> <p>"The common denominator in both events was methamphetamine," he said.<br /> "Frontline police officers are reporting that methamphetamine use is endemic and in many areas it is more prevalent and easier to acquire than cannabis," Mr O'Connor said.</p> <p>"This is being reflected in the irrational behaviour of offenders; the same behaviour displayed by the two men police were forced to use firearms against this week.</p> <p>“The Methamphetamine Action Plan launched in 2008 has been unsuccessful, and needs to be revisited. Recent large seizures are evidence of that.</p> <p>"Police actions should always scrutinised in absolute detail following any shooting – by the IPCA, the Coroner and through a criminal inquiry. However, it is also important that the environmental factors contributing to the behaviour of offenders is also examined to then minimise and prevent, where possible, the behaviours that lead to police having to use lethal force. “Methamphetamine is the most prevalent factor at present," Mr O'Connor concluded.</p> <p> </p> Monday, July 18, 2016 - 09:41 Media Releases Association warns against using police as strike-breakers <p><strong>“The Association believes that it is a very bad precedent to use police officers as strike-breakers,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor was commenting on a proposal by the government to use police officers to perform the roles of striking aviation security staff at airports.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The primary role of police is to preserve the peace and to enforce the law,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“For police officers to try to perform both roles, i.e. strike-breaking and policing any public disorder which may arise around such a dispute, is an absolute conflict,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Police officers will always obey lawful orders, but to place them in a situation where their roles are in conflict is ill-advised.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Industrial disputes and strikes are a part of the democratic process and should be respected by all parties. The role of the police is to enforce the law and keep the peace in such situations. To contemplate using police to perform the tasks of those who are taking industrial action, is to compromise their role as law enforcers and peace keepers,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 10:31 Media Releases Champion Surf Skier first back-to-back winner of Sportsperson of the Year Award <p><strong>Constable Rachel Clarke, an endurance competitor in the international surf ski world, is the first back-to-back winner of the New Zealand Police Association’s Sportsperson of the Year Award.</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Last year, <a href="">the 26-year-old from the North Shore took home the 2014 award</a>. Police Association President Greg O’Connor presented Rachel with her 2015 award at the North Shore Policing Centre on Monday 4 July.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor said, “The double win is in recognition of another year of great achievements on the international and national surf ski circuit.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 16.8px;">“Her hard work and personal sacrifice has earned her respect from her colleagues, fellow athletes, and the wider community – her achievements reflect positively on Police too,” he said. “The Police family all feel a bit of pride seeing one of our own achieving such success not just in NZ but internationally.”</span></p> <p><img alt="Rachel Clarke" src="/system/files/image/Media Releases/Rachel Clarke.jpg" style="line-height: 16.8px; width: 480px; height: 338px;" /></p> <p>Rachel's results in the past year include:</p> <ul> <li> NZ Surf Ski Queen of the Harbour 26km (NZ champs and World Series race) – 1st</li> <li> West Coast Downwinder (World Series race, Perth) – 1st</li> <li> North American Surf Ski Champs 25km (World Series race) – 3rd</li> <li> US Surf Ski Champs 23km (World Series race) – 3rd</li> <li> ICF World Surf Ski Champs (Tahiti) – 3rd</li> <li> Perth Doctor (World Series race) – 3rd</li> </ul> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">In May, Rachel competed in the 2016 Molokai to Oahu race in Hawaii (unofficially considered the world champs of surf ski) – a gruelling 53-kilometre event that she won in 2014. It took four hours and 33 minutes of effort then, so she was under no illusions about what to expect this year. Struggling in dead flat conditions, she still came home in second place after four hours and 34 minutes.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">In April this year, she won the Queen of the Harbour race in Auckland, which is part of the 2016 World Surf Ski Series, coming in about 10 minutes ahead of current world champ and fellow New Zealander Teneale Hatton. It was a tough race, and Rachel said she really had to push through the pain barrier. But, as she has shown, that is her strength and one of the qualities that keeps her at the top of her game. This month she has her sights set on the next World Series race in Canada.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">It is the same mental toughness and determination Rachel brings to the challenges of combining a top-level sporting career with her policing work. Most days, pretty much year round, she is either on the water, in the water or, in her role with road policing at the Auckland Harbour Bridge, over the water.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Her normal week looks like this: fulltime shift work, ocean paddling six times a week, two gym sessions, three runs and a recovery swim. She says it’s tough juggling work and training and trying not to overload herself.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Rachel’s successes are impressive considering she took up long-distance ocean paddling only five years ago. She was no stranger to water sports, however, and has been involved with surf lifesaving since she was 5, and took up paddling at 12. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Growing up in Whangaparaoa, Rachel won several national titles in surf lifesaving, swimming and sprint kayaking. When she discovered ocean paddling, however, she realised it was the perfect discipline for her. “I’m not a sprinter; I like the endurance aspect of the long-distance races,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Rachel’s a focused competitor, but she also does it because she loves the sun, sea and surf lifestyle and it’s something she wants to share with others. She runs paddling clinics for beginners and those wanting to build on intermediate skills, helping to promote the sport within the community.</span></p> <table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 500px"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <h3 class="rtecenter"> NZ Police Association Police Sportsperson of the Year Award</h3> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>For more than 40 years, the Police Sportsperson of the Year Award has been presented to members of Police who have displayed outstanding sporting excellence. The Police Association has proudly sponsored the award since 2002. The award is administered by Police Sport.</p> <p><strong>Previous nominees and recipients include:</strong> Selica Winiata, Black Fern and NZ women's sevens player; Melissa Mae Ruru, NZ Volleyballer; Fiao’o Faamausili, world champion Black Fern; Sian Law, Commonwealth Games Wrestler; Jeff McGrath, Ironman/Triathlete; Grainne Scott, MVP NZ Lacrosse Team & Captain Canterbury Women’s Ice Hockey Team; Michelle Nunn, Captain of the NZ Women’s Wheel Chair Basketball Team - the Wheel Ferns; Cowboy Action Shooting World Champion Tracey Ball; NZ Black Cap cricketer Shane Bond; Atlantic Rowers Steve Westlake and Matt Goodman; Silver Fern Jenny-May Coffin; All Blacks Murray Pierce; John Gallagher and Blair Larsen; Kiwi rugby league star Sam Stewart; All White Roger Gray; Hockey internationals Shane Collins, Scott Anderson and Karen Smith; cricketer Sarah Illingworth; lawn bowler Phil Skoglund; triathlete Steve Farrell; athlete Andrew Collin; and martial artist Karen Vaughan. </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> </p> Monday, July 4, 2016 - 14:44 Media Releases Police Association supports undercover technique <p>“The fact that the bodies of two homicide victims were recovered and their killer was convicted is vindication of the innovative and legal method used by police to obtain a confession from the offender,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor was referring to the sentencing today of Kamal Reddy to life imprisonment for the murders of Pakeeza Yusuf and her three-year-old daughter Juwairiyah ‘Jojo’ Kalim, after police used an undercover technique known as the ‘Mr Big’ technique to elicit a confession from him.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The police’s job is to put the best possible evidence before the court to ensure they are able to make the right decision, and the use of innovative and legal techniques achieves that,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The public should not be swayed by the arguments of defence lawyers who endeavour to prevent this evidence from being heard in court, as the admission of such evidence virtually guarantees the conviction of their client,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Police Association believes the actual details of how police obtained such confessions should not be made public and only heard by the court, so as to ensure the technique can be used in the future and criminals do not become aware of the full details of the technique.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The family of the two victims can now have double closure – firstly that they have retrieved the bodies of their loved ones, and secondly that the offender has been brought to justice,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 17:13 Media Releases Association supports Pora compensation <p>The Police Association fully endorses the decision to compensate Teina Pora for wrongful imprisonment. The Association also believes the decision to apologise is the right one.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">The Association called for an inquiry into the Pora case in 2013 due to concerns raised by some senior police officers about the soundness of the conviction. We believe the subsequent decision by the Privy Council to quash the conviction was the correct one.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Commentators around this issue should note that much of the evidence and corroboration against Teina Pora was provided by his family and associates.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">The Association believes Mr Pora is deserving of compensation and an opportunity to move on with the rest of his life.</span></p> <p> </p> <p>The Association sent the following press release in 2013 supporting an inquiry into the case.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.2em;">Pora case inquiry warranted</span></p> <div> NZPA | Sat August 3rd, 2013</div> <p>There is sufficient doubt about the soundness of Teina Pora’s conviction for the murder of Susan Burdett to warrant an independent inquiry into the matter, Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p>“The vast majority of challenges by the ‘innocence industry’ are based on fanciful conspiracy theories, and baseless attacks on the integrity and competence of individual officers.  Unfortunately, while that approach generates controversy and sells books, it also has a ‘crying wolf’ effect  when it comes to genuine cases that ought to cause concern,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p>“A sufficient number of highly experienced detectives have expressed their doubts to me, that I believe Teina Pora’s is such a case.  As such, I believe an independent inquiry of some sort – whether at QC level or higher – should take place into the soundness of his conviction.”</p> <p>Mr O’Connor stressed that his support for an inquiry did not mean he accepted allegations made towards individual police involved in investigating the case.</p> <p>“I have seen no evidence to suggest anything other than good faith by those officers involved.  However, there were clearly unusual complicating factors, including an apparent confession and supporting testimony from various witnesses, from which it appears the justice system may in this case have been unable to ‘self-correct’ through its usual processes.  That is why I believe further inquiry is now warranted in the interests of justice,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p> </p> <p>This <a href="">Police News column from President Greg O'Connor in 2013</a> also explains the Association's position.</p> Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 16:56 Media Releases P bust evidence of extent of problem <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Northland police and public are to be congratulated for their excellent work in preventing 448 kilograms of P from reaching the market,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“However, this bust will give New Zealanders some indication of how big the market is for criminals to attempt this sort of importation. The extent of the P problem is becoming apparent to middle New Zealand through the issue of ‘P houses’, where evidence is found that the drug has been smoked,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“P and organised crime go together, and the P problem is evidence of the extent of organised crime activity in New Zealand. Believing that a P problem can be confined to a certain segment of society is folly, as the issue with rising violence and P houses is showing.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Only considerable investment in disruption of organised crime in New Zealand will curtail or help to reduce the prevalence of P and other destructive drugs. This of course needs to be combined with investment in drug treatment facilities and education to also help reduce demand. Failure to invest in either of these areas will mean the situation will continue to deteriorate.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Once again, the Northland police are to be congratulated for their good work, but this should be a sobering message for all New Zealanders,” he said.</span></p> Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 13:17 Media Releases Association supports officers involved in Paeroa shooting <p align="left">“The Police Association is fully supporting the officers involved in today’s fatal shooting in Paeroa after a man attacked police with a machete,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“This is the situation every police officer dreads. It’s a possibility police face every time they go on shift. Every officer goes to work hoping they will not be placed in a position where they are forced to use lethal force. However, if that situation arises, they deserve the support of the public they are sworn to protect,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Inevitably, armchair critics will speculate and make judgments about what ‘could’ or ‘should’ have been done. But the officers involved were the people who were there facing the situation, who had the training, and who were faced with the responsibility of actually making a decision," said Mr O’Connor.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Police Association is supporting the officers and providing all the assistance we can."</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“As with all such incidents, this shooting will now be the subject of extensive investigation by Police, the IPCA, and the coroner. Those investigations will take time. But until they are complete, no one should criticise the judgment call that the officers involved were forced to make,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Friday, June 10, 2016 - 13:29 Media Releases Firearms related offences against police officers <p>TV3 news outlet Newshub requested information from Police on the number of times police officers were threatened with a firearm.</p> <p>Police responded: The total number of firearms related assaults police crimes was:</p> <p>2012 - 4</p> <p>2013 - 8</p> <p>2014 - 7</p> <p>2015 - 10</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">The police numbers seem low and we assume they must relate to instances where officers were fired upon, as our own survey results below indicate a much higher number of officers threatened with firearms in the last 12 months.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">In our 2015 Police Association Member Survey we asked members: "Have you been t</span><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">hreatened with a firearm in the past year?"</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;"><strong>341 constabulary members</strong> <strong>said they had been threatened with a firearm</strong>, 9% of the 3817 total respondents</span><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">. </span><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Of this, around 300 were frontline officers. This equates to 10% of the frontline members who responded. </span></p> <p><strong>NZPA Member Survey 2015 results - Q17 Threatened with a firearm</strong></p> <p><img alt="Q17" src="/system/files/image/feature/Q17 Threatened by a firearm results.jpg" style="width: 480px; height: 53px;" /></p> <p> </p> Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 11:53 Media Releases Police Association: Status quo budget for police <p>“The 2016/17 budget is an acknowledgment that the police operational budget cannot continue to absorb inflation costs as well as natural wage increases,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p>Mr O’Connor was commenting on the $279 million that will be made available over the next four years to absorb the wage increases previously paid for out of operational funding.</p> <p>“The Association is pleased that the Government has acknowledged there is no further capacity within the police to absorb such costs,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p>“Operational Commanders will be disappointed that there will be no significant new operational funding to enable them to deliver essential policing services, but will be relieved that they will not have to continue to absorb natural increases such as wages,” he said.</p> <p>The budget could be described as a status quo one, which essentially funds debts already incurred.    </p> Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 15:55 Media Releases Hamilton incident highlights need for careful design to keep staff safe in stations <p>“Every police member will feel for the seriously assaulted officer and his family after the incident at Hamilton Central Station on Sunday; police station public area safety has been a key focus for the Association for some time,” Police Association Vice-President Craig Tickelpenny said today.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Security and safety of front counters was first raised with Police in 2013 with members concerned that staff safety was being compromised in favour of a more open environment.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr Tickelpenny went on to say, “The Association is engaged with Police in the current review of front counter areas, and immediate, practical steps to increase the safety of staff are welcome.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“With careful design, Police can deliver practical operational safety and security for staff and visiting public, while still providing a welcoming environment in public areas,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Given the wide variety of stations across the country, a range of well-considered and practical solutions are needed. The immediate solutions being put in place by Police are necessary until longer term modifications can be implemented, so that all police staff can have confidence in their safety at work.”</span></p> Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 17:32 Media Releases Drug law investigation needed <p>Police Association President Greg O’Connor has been quoted in various publications today as advocating for the liberalisation of cannabis laws. That is not correct.</p> <p>What he is saying on behalf of the Association is a full investigation is needed into the impact of increased cannabis use which would be the inevitable result of liberalisation. That is, if attitudes towards cannabis were to be liberalised in New Zealand, it could inadvertently increase societal harms by enriching and empowering the illicit suppliers, for example, organised crime and gangs. A failure to fully understand the implications could have the worst outcome of increased cannabis use with associated health implications, but also increasing the wealth and power of those supplying the market, albeit a decriminalised one.</p> <p>The Association endeavours to be a well-informed voice on law and order issues, and seeks to ensure the full implications of any policy or law change are understood.</p> <p>The below interviews with Radio NZ and Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith clarify the points being made by the President.</p> <p><strong style="line-height: 1.4em;">- Radio NZ: </strong><a href="" style="line-height: 1.4em;" target="_blank"><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Colorado drugs model better - Police Association</span></a><span style="line-height: 1.4em;"> (includes audio interview with Greg O’Connor)</span></p> <p><strong style="line-height: 1.4em;">- Newstalk ZB Leighton Smith show: </strong><a href="" style="line-height: 1.4em;" target="_blank">Politicians warned to get drug law change right</a></p> <p><strong style="line-height: 1.4em;">- NZ Drug Foundation article - <span style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Matters of Substance Feb 2016: </span></strong><a href="" style="line-height: 1.4em;" target="_blank">Q & A on drug policy with Greg O'Connor</a></p> Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 10:48 Media Releases Association pleased officers’ concerns recognised by firearms inquiry <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Police Association welcomes the decision by the Law and Order Select Committee to inquire into why criminals are accessing firearms so easily,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Police officers have been expressing their concerns about the number of people who should never have access to firearms being in possession of these weapons,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Last week’s events where four officers were shot, a cache of military-style semi-automatic firearms was seized, two people were murdered by firearms, and a cache of guns was located in Hawke’s Bay are evidence of the extent of the problem.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“This inquiry needs to focus on whether it is faulty regulations or inadequate policing, or a combination of both, which is at the heart of the problem.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Association will be offering full assistance to the select committee to assist in their deliberations,” he said.</span></p> Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 14:27 Media Releases Association welcomes calls for firearms inquiry <p>“If any good can be said to have come from the Kawerau shooting of four police officers, it is that the public of New Zealand and, more importantly, the politicians are becoming aware of the extent of the firearms situation in our country,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p>“The Association has for some time now been voicing the concerns of frontline police officers around the proliferation of firearms in the hands of offenders and calling for an inquiry into the reasons for that.</p> <p>“This week’s shooting of police officers in the Bay of Plenty, and the discovery of military-style firearms in Auckland are symptoms of a much larger problem,” Mr O’Connor said.</p> <p>“Politicians should be wary of stop-gap measures, which are unlikely to make a difference in the long term, before we fully understand the reasons why so many people in New Zealand who should never have access to firearms are in possession of these weapons.</p> <p>“The onus falls on firearms users, owners and others in the firearms industry to support such a call before there is a more serious incident involving multiple deaths and which would necessitate just such an inquiry taking place, but in an emotionally and politically charged environment,” he said.</p> Friday, March 11, 2016 - 15:28 Media Releases Focus on gangs is timely <p>“It is vital that the public of New Zealand do not become complacent about the extent to which gangs in New Zealand are expanding their sphere of intimidation. This week’s announcement and subsequent publicity around establishing a co-ordinated gang intelligence centre ensures that criminal gangs and their activities remain topical,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“The Association welcomes the centre, but all the intelligence in the world is pointless unless the agencies involved, especially Police, are resourced sufficiently to use the information to investigate and prosecute criminals.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“Intelligence is not evidence, and the long-term, targeted operations that are needed to get evidence against those at the top of the gang hierarchy, as opposed to dispensable, street-level ‘jail bait’, are expensive and require commitment from all agencies to seriously disrupt criminal activities. Organised crime investigation teams are frequently reassigned to other priorities and gangs are thriving as a result.”</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">Mr O’Connor is calling on the Government and agencies to set achievable targets to measure whether gang influence is waning and to consider innovative ways to disempower gangs, especially reducing opportunities for them to make money.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4em;">“This begins with ensuring there is no incentive to join gangs, especially in prisons, and providing realistic incentives for individuals to leave gangs. Such incentives will need to include education, employment and relocation opportunities, to sit alongside targeted legislation,” Mr O’Connor said.</span></p> Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 12:48 Media Releases