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IAM KEEN (November)

This column is written by a frontline police member. It does not represent the views or policies of the Police Association.

Star performance

Tā Tātou Umanga – Our Business. The new poster is up on station walls, packed with information on “why we’re here, what we do and how we do it”. Great stuff, but what attracted the most attention from colleagues recently was the little red star under the map of NZ in the “Our Vision” section.

After puzzling over what it might mean, the consensus was “communism!”. Perhaps that says more about my colleagues than the intent behind the poster, but we still don’t know for sure what the little red star is trying to tell us… unless it’s something about a collective workers’ paradise?

Pursuits and driver training

There’s also been a lot of talk in the break room about a far more serious matter – fleeing drivers and so-called police pursuits. It’s one of the hardest issues we deal with and, as we all know, there’s no easy answer.

One idea that does the rounds from time to time is that pursuits should be banned or limited to extreme circumstances only.
I can tell you that this idea doesn’t go down too well with a lot of cops.

A mate who’s done a lot more urgent duty driving than I have says he doesn’t enjoy being involved in pursuits, especially the “adrenaline dump” that happens, but he accepts that they are part of the reality of the job.

Instead of banning pursuits, what he would rather see is better driver training from the get-go, with staff at the college taught to handle the challenges of pursuit driving. Allowing simulated P1 racetrack driving at more than 120kmh would be a start, he says.

As it turns out, my mate isn’t the only one who thinks we need to beef up our pursuit/fleeing driver training. A delegate fresh from the Police Association conference last month says the issue came up there and apparently there was a resounding call to lobby PNHQ for more driving training. Let’s hope the trickle-up theory works.

First of many

A retired police officer with a longer, and better, memory than mine (too many blows to the head perhaps) has put me right on the topic of female deputy commissioners. Last month, I was smugly congratulating Tania Kura for being the first woman in the role. Indeed, she is the first constabulary female to be appointed DC, but back in 2001 Lyn Provost became the first woman civilian to hold that position. After looking after six Police districts till 2009, Lyn went on to become the Controller and Auditor-General of New Zealand. That’s some stepping stone…

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