Police association front page news https://policeassn.org.nz/ Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:17:13 +1200 Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:17:13 +1200 Police comms centre staff fear being penalised for taking sick days https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/recent-media/police-comms-centre-staff-fear-being-penalised-taking-sick-days Police comms centre staff fear being penalised for taking sick days - Police Association president Chris Cahill said people should not be penalised for being sick. Recent Media Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:17:13 +1200 Police association front page news Police News August 2018 https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/police-news/police-news-august-2018 In this issue: Auckland blues - the downside of living and working in Auckland; Wing 276 older and wiser; sustainable police stations; annual meetings round up; and Sportsperson of the Year awarded to Black Ferns captain for the third time. Read articles: President's Column: Mental health is often not a policing issue Auckland blues From strength to strength: NZ Police Association Sportsperson of the Year awarded Towards the eco-friendly police station Bolder & wiser: Wing 276 five years on Committee newsflashes Police News (Magazine) Tue, 07 Aug 2018 14:14:44 +1200 Police association front page news President's Column: Mental health is often not a policing issue https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/presidents-column/presidents-column-mental-health-often-not-policing-issue The perilous state of our mental health system is having an unacceptable impact on policing. By default, police officers are the first line of help for tens of thousands of New Zealanders in mental health distress, and that’s not good enough. It is not fair to the people involved and it is not fair to cops. Our worry about the toll that mental health calls are having on officers was exacerbated last month when we found out the Government had canned a pilot scheme to trial having mental health workers accompany police attending crisis calls. Because the idea for the pilot had been National’s, and Labour has decided not to implement it, an inevitable political tit-for-tat blame game ensued. Not a single person needing mental health care was helped by that. I doubt the proposed pilot would have been the ultimate panacea, but I do know that there is a crisis and that the status quo has, by stealth, co-opted frontline police to deal with incidents that actually require fully trained mental health professionals. The situation is so critical that it is not unreasonable to take the view that anything, even a pilot scheme that could run while the Government’s Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction does its work, would be better than nothing. There has been alarm expressed about the fact that police recruits have only four hours of training for dealing with people in mental health distress. The reality is, this is just one of a vast array of subjects that must be covered in their 16 weeks at Police College. The increase in mental health-related calls for service is truly astounding, and should be of concern to all New Zealanders. In the past four years, there has been a near 50 per cent increase in reports of threatened or attempted suicides. In 2017, there were 50,000 mental health events reported to Police. This means 20 per cent of a frontline officer’s time is spent attending mental health callouts. Add to that the 50 per cent of time spent responding to family harm incidents and it is easy to see why the public is frustrated at the lack of visibility of police in the community responding to other types of calls for service. Members tell us how exasperated they are with repeated callouts to the same people, an inability to get those people the help they need and the waste of police resources when they have to wait hours in hospital emergency rooms until an overworked mental health specialist is available. Yes, that is better than taking an unwell person to a police cell, where I think we can all agree they do not belong, but it does mean that police officer is not out in the community preventing and solving crimes. The Government’s inquiry is due to report back at the end of October. I sincerely hope there is acknowledgment that a police uniform is not the ideal first sight for people going through a mental health incident, and it certainly is no substitute for a medical professional. We are looking for a firm acknowledgment that police officers are shouldering too much of the burden when, in the majority of cases, mental health is not a policing issue. President's Columns Tue, 07 Aug 2018 08:43:38 +1200 Police association front page news Auckland blues https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/auckland-blues Auckland is a great city. It’s big, bold and vibrant. People who live there enjoy good services, a cosmopolitan culture and a temperate climate. One-third of the country’s population now call it home, but increasingly, its big-city status and successes are becoming a curse for ordinary working people, including members of Police. In the past few years, Police Association members have been sounding the alarm that the costs of living in Auckland are becoming untenable. Members are feeling the squeeze when it comes to rents, house prices, fuel taxes, traffic and travel woes and staff attrition. Some are choosing to leave the city, but for others that’s not really an option. It’s their home, where they were born and raised, and they are well invested in their communities. Besides, someone’s got to police Auckland. It’s no secret that rents and house prices are significantly more expensive than in other cities and show little sign of going down in the near future. If you are not already established in the housing market in Auckland, it appears to be an almost impossible dream, and rents remain unreasonably high, rising faster than inflation nationwide since 2010. The national median rent for a two-bedroom home is around $395 a week; in Auckland that is $550 a week. Average house prices in Auckland last year were $952,000 (make that more than $1 million for central Auckland). That compares with $565,000 in Wellington and $471,000 in Canterbury. “On a cop’s salary, that is unachievable,” says a senior constable from South Auckland. “I know that a lot of members say we don’t have to live in Auckland, but this is where people have grown up, have a family and their children are settled in schools.” A letter to Police News is typical of the exasperation clearly being felt in Auckland. The writer, who has now left Police to join the private commercial sector, said: “I don’t plan or want to end up on a clifftop mansion. I just want to some day own my own home and support my family, and I want to do this without having to live pay cheque to pay cheque. I get the sense that people outside Auckland believe that everyone here is making a fortune from capital gains in the property market. The reality is, we’re not. There are few who have been fortunate enough to have been around long enough to reap the rewards, but the numbers  are insignificant compared with the majority of Auckland cops, especially the new ones  coming through.” The reality for some staff is that by joining Police in Auckland and a few other high-cost areas of the country (Queenstown and Tauranga, for example), they will feel disadvantaged by taking employment there. Already, in the past couple of years, the Association has noted that among the recruit wings coming through the Police College, greater numbers are experiencing a reduction in income (compared with their previous jobs) not only while they are at the college, but on graduation. Member feedback to the Association shows the perception is that the price of just about everything in Auckland seems to have doubled in the past 10 years, while wages have not. “People used to joke about cops living at home with the parents, now heaps actually are!” says one member. “And, if that’s not it, they’re living in awkward flatting situations ages away from the station they work in, costing extra in petrol, which keeps going up.” So should there be an Auckland allowance? “Yes,” says another member. “It will cost, but hopefully we can retain staff in the job, retain staff in our area instead of training them and then losing them to cheaper areas.” Some members fear that attrition, currently at almost 6 per cent, is going to jeopardise the promised figure of 1800 extra Police staff over three years. “We need to stem the attrition rate, particularly in high-demand areas such as Auckland. To do that, we need to pay Auckland-based officers a reasonable wage. It seems unfair that staff in provincial towns get paid the same salary as staff in Auckland when the cost of living is much higher here. “Such a proposal might fail in a popular vote among members, but sometimes the right decision is not the most popular one.” A senior sergeant in central Auckland says that after three decades in policing there, he has never seen such a high attrition rate, with many officers either moving to Australia or into civilian roles in Auckland. “Detectives I have known are leaving for better pay and conditions to other government departments or insurance companies.” There is a lot of talk around the muster rooms about looking for another job. Another cop laments that he has seen “so many friends quit who were bloody awesome cops, all because of the pay”. Rural stations have allowances to compensate for isolation and costs, so why not Auckland, some members are saying. In many other police forces around the world, officers in metropolitan areas are paid a higher rate or “weighting” to acknowledge the extra costs of big-city living. The New Zealand Defence Force has recently moved to address such concerns among its staff and has agreed to an allowance for staff moving into or remaining in more expensive locations and cities.   Increasing living costs are not exclusive to Auckland, and getting on the property ladder can be tough all over the country. If you’re mortgage-free anywhere, you’re going to be better off for it. “There are many Police staff in Auckland who already own their own house and have for many years, which means they have benefited from capital gains and would again benefit from an allowance, if that was the proposed solution,” writes one member. “Even with the new petrol levy [in Auckland], the petrol price is cheaper there, holidays overseas are cheaper, house furnishings are cheaper and much else as the result of competition pushing prices down. If Auckland was to get an allowance, then so should Wellington and pretty much everyone else.” One of the biggest, and perhaps most notorious, Auckland issues is the high volume of traffic and resulting congestion, which affects everyone no matter their financial situation. An eight-hour shift can easily turn into an 11-hour commitment when travel to and from work is added in. It isn’t always possible to live near to where you work, particularly if it’s in the central part of the city. One young cop travels for an hour-plus to work each way from his home north of Auckland. He admits he feels like “one of the lucky ones” because he and his wife were able to buy a house, but the travel is draining and takes a toll on family life and he would like his commitment to be fairly recognised. “I must admit, most days I feel tempted by jobs in the provinces where both my wife and I would be paid the same, have next to no mortgage and a great lifestyle. But we care about where we live now and our family and friends are here.” Others he knows have left Police in search of more money. “I don’t want to be part of the exodus, but if the strain becomes too great on my family, it’s something I will have to consider.” However, many members can see that an Auckland allowance would be a blunt tool given that the pressures of balancing a budget are felt around the country and not every member of Police in Auckland is struggling with housing or other costs. So what are the other possible options – and not just for Auckland? Some suggestions include: • Paying officers for all overtime. • Targeted accommodation subsidies for those who need it most. • Flexible working options, such as doing four 10-hour days, thereby reducing the need to travel long distances every day. • Targeted child support and transport assistance. There are already cases being reported to the Association of staff pitching in, including district commanders, to help colleagues who are struggling financially. They know that a cop who is under financial pressure at home may find it harder to be at their best at work. The added inconvenience of working unscheduled overtime, compensated only by TOIL, does not help anyone’s finances, so there could be room for improvement there. Many members lament the control that Police has over their ability to earn additional income, with secondary employment options such as working on licensed premises, commercial driving and security work being off-limits to Police staff. Police Association president Chris Cahill says all these options may have to be considered and deployed to make progress in alleviating the big-city Auckland blues. “Auckland affordability is such a big issue it cannot be solved in a pay round, but that doesn’t mean we should shy away from targeted assistance for those members most in need and, to that end, all possible options will be explored,” he says. “Some things may be able to be addressed in the pay round, while others will be longer-term solutions.” Featured Articles Tue, 07 Aug 2018 08:42:57 +1200 Police association front page news From strength to strength https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/strength-strength Detective Constable Fiao’o Fa’amausili, our superstar Black Ferns captain, has scooped the Police Association Sportsperson of the Year award for the third time and the second year in a row. This time, she says, she’s not giving too much away about what the future holds. When she won the 2016 award (presented last year), she told Police News she was planning to retire after the crowning glory of her team’s Rugby World Cup win in Belfast. Since then, however, Fiao’o and women’s rugby in general have gone on to more successes and accolades, at home and abroad. Instead of retiring, the 37-year-old is back on the field, still as captain, and looking forward to two tests against the Aussies this month and a series later in the year In terms of what the future holds, she’s “playing it by ear this time”. “I’m really here to help the girls coming through, to keep the standards up and give them guidance and the best way to do that is on the field.” A lot of it is about mental preparation, she says, keeping calm on the field and off. There could be few better role models for combining the pressures of high-level sport with a career as Fiao’o continues to progress in her job as a crime squad detective constable in Counties Manukau District. Apart from the World Cup games last year, Fiao’o played with Auckland Club women’s champions Marist, played 100 games for the Auckland Storm and, as a Black Fern, became New Zealand’s most capped player, reaching 50 tests at the World Cup (now 52). She was named the No 1 hooker in the Women’s World 15 rugby team and the Black Ferns were named the World Rugby Team of the Year at the World Awards. At home, the Ferns were named the ASB Team of the Year and Fiao’o was chosen as the New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year. She’s the first to admit that it has been incredibly difficult to fit sporting commitments around work, but she’s managing it. “I’m really lucky that Counties Manukau Police are so supportive if I need time off.” Physically, after the past year, she’s feeling “pretty much all broken”, she says, but there’s much to look forward to. Apart from the games this year, there is the start of contracts for women’s teams – a “massive” change for the sport, thanks in large part to the success of  players such as Fiao’o. “I’m very glad to have been part the group that paved the way for that,” she says. “I’m looking forward to reaping the rewards and, eventually, to professional women’s rugby.” In the meantime, she says, it’s important that women players have time to put energy into their day jobs too and to make plans for life after rugby. Her services to the sport were recognised this year when she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. There’s no doubt she’s driven by her twin passions of policing and rugby, but family is also at the core of everything she does. Especially poignant for Fiao’o last year was having the Farah Palmer Player of the Year medal named after her. The Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal will be presented annually and in 2017 it went to fellow Black Fern Hazel Tubic from the Counties Manukau Heat. “The best thing is having my family’s name on an award,” she says. Police Association president Chris Cahill presented Fiao’o with her Police Sportsperson of the Year award in Auckland last month.   Top: Fiao’o in her civvies at last month’s Black Ferns capping ceremony. Bottom: Making mum proud. Nasareta Fa’amausili holds the No 15 jersey her daughter wore after Fiao’o was named the No 1 hooker in the Women’s World 15 rugby team last year. Featured Articles Wed, 01 Aug 2018 17:05:15 +1200 Police association front page news Bolder & wiser https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/bolder-wiser All five of our Wing 276 graduates say they can hardly believe it’s been five years since they left Police College to begin their careers as police officers. Wing 276 graduates five years ago, from left: Mefiposeta, Amy, Mel, Catherine and Sam. Two of the Wing 276 graduates have also been doing their bit to add to the police family, producing twin boys and a girl. All have spent time working with tactical crime units and all continue to broaden their policing skills. Three of the five are based in Auckland, where, as detailed in this month’s cover story, some of our members are doing it hard. Amy Flower says there is no doubt that the costs of living and working there are very high. “We’re forced to move further and further away from the centre due to rising rent/house prices and end up spending more on fuel and time travelling to and from work, which impacts on family life. I feel for those with even larger families to provide for.” Catherine Sieczkowski says she would like to take a whole year off with her twins, but she and her partner simply won’t be able to manage on one wage, even though the costs of daycare are going to be “ridiculous” – almost $600 a week for the two boys – “Most of my pay gone in a fortnight.” Sam Hutcheson, who is single, says the high cost of living in Auckland is a challenge, but not unique to police. “It needs to be addressed within Police, but it’s a distraction from the wider issue that police officers everywhere in the country face – that our pay does not acknowledge and reflect the high-stress situations we are in on a regular basis, the responsibility we hold and the high level of accountability that we are, rightly, subject to. “It also doesn’t account for the price police officers pay in donated overtime and the toll the job takes on their wellbeing. It generates resentment in the ranks, particularly in an environment that prioritises social media campaigns and recruiting while we haemorrhage quality people to other industries and overseas. It goes deeper than a bunch of Aucklanders wanting a few more pennies in their pocket on pay day.” Police News has been following the group since 2013. Here’s what else they have to say about their professional and personal lives this year.   Making a difference at the coalface Constable Mel Kingi, 37, has found herself in a role where she feels she can bring all her skills to the workplace – frontline at the Foxton Police Station. Since graduating from Police College, Mel was working in her home town of Levin doing general duties, including six-month stints in family harm and with the tactical crime unit (TCU). That work helped clarify where she felt her policing future was heading. “TCU focused on volume crime, gathering information and intel from covert sources, executing search warrants and with a strong focus on getting ‘bad guys’ off the streets,” she says. “While I loved the experience, my passion and purpose for joining Police was not to ‘lock up baddies’, but to help people break free from the criminal system and to work closely with those affected by crime. Working with the family harm team gave me more opportunity to do that.” It’s an ethos she has had since she went to the college. Back in 2015, a year after graduating, she told Police News: “Every person has a story, yet I am only given an insight into one chapter. Whether they are drunk, homeless or have been beaten, I want to help them.” And when it comes to family harm incidents, that is where police can really make a difference, she says. This year, she is based at Foxton Police Station, about 15 minutes’ drive north of Levin. “We work in pairs, but, as is expected, we often find ourselves working alone. There are  challenges that come with that, but it suits me – talking to people, establishing trusting relationships and helping create a positive rapport between community and police.” Mel’s daughter, who was 10 when she started with Police, is now 15. “I used to worry about the effects that my job would have on my family, but I think that being a mother makes me a better officer. I strive to establish fair and positive interactions so as not to draw negative attention to my family. My daughter has said she wants to be a police officer too, and I’m okay with that.” Mel says that in the course of her work, she always attempts to defuse difficult situations without resorting to her appointments, and to date has used only her OC spray. “Maybe it’s because I’m female. Maybe it’s because I’m Māori and have a connection with the large Māori population I deal with in this job. Whatever it is, I try to connect in some way with the people I deal with and to avoid presenting as intimidating or threatening. I think that has helped me avoid potentially hostile, physical altercations.” Mel says she is not interested in climbing the ranks within Police at this stage in her career. “While some strive for promotion, I get satisfaction from working directly with those needing immediate police assistance. I rate my successes on establishing trusting relationships with people who may previously not have been willing to interact with police. “Promotion has financial rewards attached to it, but I don’t feel that an increase in pay is enough to warrant me taking on the stress and responsibility of a supervisor’s role at this point in time.” The move to working in Foxton wasn’t planned, Mel says, but has quickly become a highlight of her career. “I’m able to incorporate all of my passions within policing, working in a small community, getting to know people on a first-name basis, helping to educate those needing to break free from the criminal system, protecting and supporting those affected by crime and ultimately feeling that I am helping people.”   At a crossroad Constable Sam Hutcheson is the youngest of our five Wing 276 graduates. At 25, he admits he is at a bit of a crossroad in his career. “I was only 19, just turning 20, when I started. I’ve grown up a lot in the past five years and now I’m going through a transition period, trying to figure out what I want to do. “I don’t feel at the moment that I would necessarily spend my whole career in Police though I’ve gained experience and skills and learnt a lot about humanity.” Up till June 2017, Sam had spent time with several workgroups – the public safety team, as a field training officer and acting sergeant, Crime Squad and Auckland Metro, attending a lot of major incidents. He spent the past year in CIB. “It was never my ambition, but I wanted to do it to see what it was like. It has been a good experience, but I haven’t enjoyed the file preparation aspect of the job.” He was part of the team that put together the case on Rollie Heke, the fugitive gunman who shot at police with an MSSA weapon, and who last month pleaded guilty to using a firearm against police officers. “Down the track, I will likely return to that sort of work, but at the moment I would quite like to spend some more at the coalface.” He definitely prefers frontline, operational, “hands-on” work, dealing with people, rather than sitting behind a desk. That was evident when he was on a PST patrol in 2017 in Auckland and drove by a young man standing on the edge of the Grafton Rd overbridge, “obviously about to jump off”. Sam stopped and spoke to the man, spending about 20 minutes negotiating to get him down. “It was a good day’s work. I’ve come to realise that I operate on a more instinctive and intuitive level. I don’t really work so well in a slow, methodical environment, but I thrive at working under pressure and making quick decisions.” He’s considered exploring negotiation work and did some training with the Auckland police negotiation team, but even that was still a bit far from the action for him. “The AOS is my next challenge, but I need to get a lot fitter for that.” Right now, he’s considering doing the CPK sergeant’s exam. During his first year on the job, Sam was part of TV’s Police Ten 7 cop show. Looking back, he says, it was certainly strange being followed by the cameras and he was a bit more conscious of what he was saying. “The programme has become more and more ‘PC’, and so has Police, I reckon. We do serve the public and we are accountable to the public, but sometimes we seem to bend over backwards to avoid offending anyone. It’s a shame we can’t show real policing on TV.” Off-duty, Sam has been trying to build a race car – a mid-90s Honda Integra – but about two months ago, it was stolen from outside his house. “It’s completely disappeared and is probably in parts somewhere now.” It’s been a disappointing setback, but he’s consoling himself with a planned snowboarding trip with his friends to the north of Japan next year.   Opportunities keep coming Former professional rugby player Constable Mefiposeta Taele, 42, is the oldest of the Wing 276 graduates being tracked by Police News since 2013. Mefi was a relatively late starter to join Police, at 38, as his talent on the rugby field had sent him to France for 10 years, then he owned a sports business and later worked for the Ministry of Justice in Tauranga. He’s always said that if he could have turned back the clock, he would have become a police officer much earlier. Now, he’s well settled into his job in Tauranga where he lives with his wife, Joanne, and their two children. This year, he has completed 12 months with the tactical crime unit, which he says was very different from his previous work with the Public Safety Team. He’s been working on “high-end stuff”, homicides, robberies, burglaries and arson. His last job with TCU was another first, and another learning experience, working on reviewing CCTV footage and collating that information. Mefi has always been keen on picking up new skills. “I just keep working on upskilling a little bit more and applying for jobs as they come along. There are so many opportunities in policing.” One of those opportunities came along in 2015 when he was chosen as one of 50 Samoan police officers from New Zealand to help police the Small Islands Developing States Conference in Samoa, providing security and looking after delegates. Meeting so many other Samoan police officers was a revelation for Mefi as previously he didn’t know any. Now, he’s firmly a part of Police’s Pacific Island officer network and keen to find more ways to make use of his heritage within Police. He is also keen on community policing. It has been “a great journey so far”, but Mefi acknowledges there were hurdles along the way. A couple of years ago he was struggling with the shift work and file management was an issue, but that had been more manageable while working in TCU where the hours were more regular. He finished that deployment in June and is back on the frontline and ready for his next opportunity.   Twins take hard work to a new level Constable Catherine Sieczkowski, 31, recalls the moment she found out she was having twins. “It was a complete shock. I had to asked the sonographer to double check what I had just been told.” The unexpected news took some getting used to. “We started to worry about whether we could financially afford to have two babies. I also worried about how we would cope.” Catherine had not long heard the news before she started a challenging CIB selection and induction course. “It was a pretty tough four weeks and I often wondered if I would make it to the end,” she says. However, the course, run through Unitec in Auckland, was really well put together and the trainers, particularly Detective Sergeant Matt Lynch, helped make the course the success it was, she says. On April 9, baby boys James and Max were born at 35 weeks. Catherine and her partner, Nick, couldn’t be happier. “Despite our worries, we wouldn’t change them for the world, although I think it’s been the hardest thing that we have ever done.” When we last caught up with Catherine in 2016, she had made the switch from general duties to the tactical crime unit. Halfway through 2017, a secondment opportunity came up with Auckland Prosecutions. “I was happy in TCU, but I’ve always had an interest in that aspect of policing and it seemed like the right time to give it a go.” In fact, she says, prosecutions proved to be an “eye-opener” and a steep learning curve, but she developed new-found confidence in court procedures, something she had previously struggled with as nerves sometimes got the better of her. Before the birth of her boys, Catherine had been on light duties with Auckland City Area CIB. For now, she says, she is enjoying her parental leave before she gets “back into the thick of it all”. She is considering returning to work near the end of the year, either FEO or fulltime.   Challenges come in many forms What’s worse for sleep deprivation – on-call police shift work or looking after a baby? Before she had her baby girl, Zara, Constable Amy Flower, 35, thought she was well prepared for broken sleep patterns having done a few years on the Police roster. “I’ve been quite shocked at how tiring being a parent can be,” she says. “The thing is, when you’re doing shift work, you know that it will come to an end in a week or so. That doesn’t happen when you’re looking after a baby. There are no sleep-in days!” Amy went on parental leave in May last year, returning to work three months ago, working FEO three days a week in the enquiries section at Avondale Police Station. Before Zara came along last year, Amy had been working as a community constable at Mt Roskill Station. It was quite different work from the tactical crime unit she had been with at Glen Innes Police Station when she last spoke to Police News in 2016. At that time, she had also just been made a permanent member of the search and rescue squad. With the change in roles she went from investigating burglaries and other crime to visiting schools and taking part in community events, even doing a dance performance at a school disco. For an officer who enjoys the testing environment of wild search and rescue ops, this was an experience that took her “right out of my comfort zone”. It just goes to show that the challenges of policing can come in many forms. Now she’s juggling motherhood with another new role on the enquiries team while she works on becoming recertified. She has recently completed her PCT and two of three integrated training packages that she needs to finish before she can get back into uniform. She has also successfully completed the Core Investigation Knowledge (CIK) exam that brings her a step closer to being eligible for CIB training. Becoming a detective is one of her goals, along with returning to work fulltime and resuming her on-call SAR role. Outside of work, Amy’s focused on the needs of her active one-year-old who apparently shares her parents’ love of the outdoors. “If she ever needs settling down, we just take her outside!” In terms of how parenthood will work with her career, Amy is philosophical. “Police has been very accommodating with regards to FEO,” she says, “but I think it can put limitations on your career in terms of the childcare responsibilities that you have outside work, which mean that you can’t always be on call or available for shift work.” There was never any question about returning to the job, though, she says. “Even though I needed to go back to work for financial reasons, I was also definitely ready to go back. I still love my job and I missed it.” Featured Articles Wed, 08 Aug 2018 14:32:23 +1200 Police association front page news Committee newsflashes https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/committee-newsflashes The Police Association’s 34 committees held their annual meetings over June and July, attended by either Association president Chris Cahill, national secretary Greg Fleming or Welfare Fund manager Pete Hayes. The committee chairs reviewed the past year, giving insights into the issues that were top of mind for members. Above: The Palmerston North committee had the biggest turnout for its annual meeting with 70 people attending. Christchurch City chairman Lachy Garrick was in a nostalgic mood when he delivered his report to the committee this year. He noted how much Police had changed since he joined in 1989, when “we were all quite happy with our green screen Whanganui computers, hand-written notes and the occasional report courtesy of a typewriter”. “I recall a revamped AOS command bus specially fitted with PCs – a new term – that moved around stations in Canterbury allowing staff to become familiar with the Windows operating system, complete with a mouse!” Now, the committee was holding its first annual meeting in the modern, safe, state-of-the-art $300 million Justice Precinct where police worked alongside other agencies serving the community. But despite all the advances, he said, the issues that members faced daily remained as complex as they ever were “in an environment that demands the best and yet is increasingly less forgiving when things don’t go as planned”. Members were still faced with near constant reviews and the daily scramble to ensure minimum response levels were met, which all took a toll on Police’s most important resource – its people. On that note, just about every committee chair had something to say about the plan to inject 1800 more staff into Police over the next three years. While welcoming the prospect, many said the fear among members was that there would either not be enough money and recruiting standards might fall, or attrition levels would make that an impossible target. Rotorua chair Mike Membrey said the promise of 700 extra staff for fighting organised crime was welcome, “but we also need to balance the removal of experienced staff from the frontline. We do not want to put undue pressure on new staff starting their policing careers”. In Tauranga, chair Wayne Hunter said the number of new recruits coming out of the Police College was failing to keep pace with attrition there. The public safety teams were particularly hard hit and those left at the coalface were having to take up the slack. Gisborne chair Brent Griffiths said that over the past year, his area had carried up to 16 vacancies at any one time across all workgroups, due to promotions, welfare transfers, leave without pay, appointments to national vacancies and resignations. Pleasingly, several chair reports also showed that committees had taken on board the Association’s desire for more diversity and gender balance among reps. Jesse Mowat, chair for the North Shore, Rodney and Auckland Motorways committee, said they had achieved a 50-50 gender split, and a 66-33 constabulary-Police employee split (equating to two Police employees). Not to be outdone, Waitakere chair Michael Colson reported that his committee had assigned an ethnic liaison rep. On a more prosaic note, Michael also reported that the new locker room at the Henderson Police Station was going to be a unisex facility, “which is a big change from what we are used to”. Staff would have to “change with the times, and not get changed in front of their locker, as is the current practice”. Several chairs said they wanted a broader cross-section of staff from all work groups joining the committees, especially younger members. In Waikato, chair Derek Lamont reported on a busy year for his district, including two critical incidents – the Morrinsville shooting and the River Road fleeing driver death. In relation to the first incident, Derek said that an unarmed officer coming under fire was totally unacceptable. “So I would ask Police and the Government to ensure that the health and safety of staff and public can take a serious step forward to routine arming and provide a safe working environment for staff.” Of the second incident, he said that failing to stop for police should come with a mandatory prison sentence. Whanganui chair Zak Thornton said his committee had a wish list for the future that included: • Continued rollout of cross band radios in vehicles so that communication was not an iissue for staff attending jobs in rural areas. • Sufficient numbers of firearms sets and suitable access for all work groups. • That deployment of staff, especially PST, below minimum numbers would become a thing of the past. Lack of PST numbers was a concern in many other areas, including Palmerston North, where chair Allan Wells said there were shifts where minimum numbers were not being met. “Many members are concerned not only for their own safety, but about the service we give to our community.” Sadly, he said, many staff were simply afraid to speak up about the problem for fear of “not being on board” and doing themselves out of a job. In Nelson, chair Brett Currie said there was obviously a problem with planning around recruitment, resulting in large “peaks and troughs” of staff numbers there. “Given that it takes the better part of a year to get a recruit in place, trained and back to district, Police should be able to plan ahead and keep the actual staffing levels at a relative constant.” Uncertainty over the upcoming restructure of file management centres is on the radar for several committees as they deal with member concerns about their future employment, particularly in provincial areas. On such issues, it was in the advocacy space, said Timaru chair Paul Hampton, that the Association continued to prove its real relevance to members, “advocating for them in a manner that removes personalities and places the onus on Police to follow best practice, or sometimes simply their own policies”. Turnout at this year’s annual meetings was variable around the country, with the standouts being 70 people in Palmerston North and 60 in Invercargill. And the metropolitan centres? Well, not so good. President Chris Cahill has acknowledged that the logistics of getting to meetings in the bigger cities can be difficult, but thinks better communication could help. The value of the committee system was highlighted by several chairs, including Marlborough’s Barrie Greenall who also praised the Association’s office holders training course, held earlier this year in Wellington, for raising the skill level of the committees. Wairarapa chair Mark Brown wanted to get the message across that being a committee member did not come with an obligation to be an office holder, unless you wanted to, in case anyone was confused about that. And Taupō chair AJ Munro had this message: “Being a committee member, you are asked to keep in touch with what is going on at the coalface. By doing this, we ensure early detection and provide appropriate information. If we do not hear or identify current trends and concerns to our national office, then they will be oblivious to what is really happening. All members have a part to play. If your gut feeling tells you your mate is not right, either talk to them or advise someone who can have that discussion.” Featured Articles Tue, 07 Aug 2018 08:42:00 +1200 Police association front page news Towards the eco-friendly police station https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/towards-eco-friendly-police-station How big is Police’s environmental footprint? Above: Members of Dunedin Central Police Station's Sustainability Committee; from left, Sally Cargill, Detective Inspector Reece Munro, Heather Dunne and Detective Mike Bracegirdle. Take the biggest Police-issue boot you can find and multiply it by 10,000 – about the number of staff who work for Police. And it’s not getting any smaller. Some of those staff, however, are trying to “do the right thing” and create more sustainable police stations. Detective Mike Bracegirdle is chair of Dunedin Central Police Station’s Sustainability Committee. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Such groups are a rarity in Police, but Mike and his small team of about eight are hoping that will change. At the moment, he says, Police’s performance on sustainability is “a national embarrassment”. He would like every police station, including the “flagship” Police College premises, to start having a conversation about sustainability in their patch, as has happened in Dunedin. The key, though, says Mike, is that the change has to come from the top, with policies integrated into organisational strategies, even recorded within Our Business. “What is happening to the thousands of tonnes of refuse generated by our stations every day? Where does our voluminous e-waste end up and what about the thousands of worn-out patrol car tyres sent to the landfill every year? “We are leaders in so many other fields within government departments. We need to add responsible eco-citizenship to our sworn, day-to-day duties and address the environmental impact of our stations and services in our regions. “I wonder if our executive understands that instituting intelligent energy efficient and sustainable practices can lead to budgetary savings?” Sustainability and the environment are big topics elsewhere, Mike says, but, sadly, there seems to be little in-house discussion within Police, despite the fact that these days most successful and innovative corporates have such policies. In his patch, it was several years ago that he and a few other staff members felt the need to make changes. “You didn’t have to be much of a greenie to notice the large volumes of waste being generated by a station the size of Dunedin Central and to start feeling guilty about where it was headed,” he says. “Particular issues were station clean-up days, when e-waste, old desks and other office furniture were just tossed into miniskips and sent to the landfill.” In the early 2000s, his proto-action group instigated three-colour stacking recycle stations, which, he says, was soon copied in many other stations. Even now, though, he notes, it can still be tough getting a hard-working cop on his lunch break to dispose of his rubbish in the proper way. “A minority of staff are fantastic, but, sadly, in our busy working days, recycling is not at the top of our tasks. Education is the key with staff and our attitude is that every single piece of plastic or glass put in the right bin is a win.” One piece of good news at Dunedin, Mike says, is that funding has been approved for soft-plastic collection stations to be installed on all four floors of the station. A committee member has been tasked with tracking monthly electricity usage to see how it might be reduced. Mike says that while the bosses are happy for staff to implement changes themselves, making meaningful change from the bottom is almost impossible – it has to come from above. “The essential first move for Police to aspire to right now is at the very beginning of procurement policies, which need to be carefully looked at. Recycling is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Purchasing decisions are key to preventing waste.” Mike is optimistic about what can be done: “With just a modicum of leadership and direction from the top, we could start moving in the right direction. We are a potent force when we choose to pull together on any challenges and the sky is the limit for what we could achieve in being an environmentally responsible organisation.” He would like to help create a movement within Police and a national network of sustainability groups. He’s sending out the call and hoping that younger staff especially will take note. “New, young police officers and non-sworn staff of today must see sustainability as quite the norm. Where are their voices?” – ELLEN BROOK What do you think Police should be doing about environmental sustainability within the organisation? Email us your ideas to editor@policeassn.org.nz. Featured Articles Mon, 06 Aug 2018 14:33:22 +1200 Police association front page news New deputy promoted as size of police executive grows https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/recent-media/new-deputy-promoted-size-police-executive-grows New deputy promoted as size of police executive grows - Association President Chris Cahill comments on the growing size of the police executive. Recent Media Tue, 31 Jul 2018 10:12:23 +1200 Police association front page news Parental care advised https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/publications/featured-articles/parental-care-advised For everything you wanted to know about parental leave, but were afraid to ask, the Police Association has compiled a guide for mothers and partners. Becoming a parent is one of the most basic and natural aspects of being human, but deciding how to fit that into your working life can be complicated. And when you’re about to welcome a new member of the family, you want to keep life as calm and happy as possible. A team at the Police Association, including Detective Sergeant Sally Patrick, who suggested the idea, has put together the Parental Leave Pack (PLP). It’s a comprehensive guide for mothers and partners on what you need to know throughout a pregnancy or adoption and the parental leave process. The six-part pack provides a step-by-step guide to the sometimes complex system of your employment rights and entitlements. It covers each phase of the process, from the moment you find out you are going to become a parent until returning to work from parental leave, with advice and a checklist for each section. One thing the PLP team was acutely aware of when putting together the pack was that there are always a lot of questions, ranging from “Who should I tell?”, “What happens if I can’t wear my SRBA any more?” and “How much time off can I have?” to “How do flexible employment options work?”, “What about childcare?” and “Can I breastfeed at work?” The answers can vary depending on your personal situation, so the pack seeks to cover as many options as possible, including some advice that is specific to partners. Two of the most complex aspects are varying types of parental leave and parental leave payments, including filling out IRD forms. The team reckons that after navigating your way through those, child-rearing will be a breeze. And don’t forget that if you are a member of the Police Welfare Fund, you will be paid a birth benefit of $50 for one child and $200 for a multiple birth. There is also a $300 benefit available to help with the legal costs of adoption. In addition, from July 1, if you sign your baby up with the Health Plan, you will receive $200, on condition they stay in the plan for five years. Download the pack from the Parental Leave section of our website. Photo: LITTLE POPPET CLOTHING (available from The Cop Shop, copshop.nz) Featured Articles Tue, 10 Jul 2018 14:51:42 +1200 Police association front page news Holiday Homes - trouble booking or paying? https://policeassn.org.nz/newsroom/events/holiday-homes-trouble-booking-or-paying Please clear your browser cache. If you need any help with this, contact our Member Services team on 0800 500 122 or email: enquiries@policeassn.org.nz. Tue, 01 May 2018 16:03:57 +1200 Police association front page news