President's Column: Wins of 2018

NZPA - Chris Cahill | Sat December 1st, 2018

As we come to the end of the year, it is good to reflect on some of the “wins” of 2018.

These include a solid pay round, a confirmed Government commitment to extra staff, nearly 1000 new recruits through the college so far, an annual conference recognised for tackling the issue of legalising cannabis, the establishment of the Diversity Governance Group and a noticeable increase in women delegates to the conference.

Every one of these is the result of committed team effort by our members, field officers, board and national office.

Key for 2019 will be maintaining a close watch on how recruitment versus attrition plays out. We must ensure that our experienced members are valued and stay in the job, and that recruitment standards are not downgraded. We also want the Government to stick to its promise to deliver 1800 extra police and 485 Police employees over three years.

We need to listen to members who are doing it hard in Auckland and other high-cost areas, and come up with ways the association may be able to ease these pressures.

We will continue to highlight the threat to police and the public from illegal firearms in the community.

We also need to do some serious work to ensure we are a strong voice in the debate preceding the 2020 referendum on legalisation of cannabis for personal use. Conference 2018 kicked off that journey for the association. Our next step is to dig down into the specific implications for policing should New Zealanders – including our members – vote “Yes”.

We should soon know how the Government plans to run the referendum and it is our duty to educate ourselves on the pros and the cons as best we can.

Early in the new year, we will have the interim report on the IPCA/Police review of the fleeing driver policy. This year has been a shocking one on our roads, including an escalating number of fleeing driver incidents and deaths. This policy needs to be sorted out and we look forward to being consulted.

Bizarrely, we finish 2018 with, literally, a bolt from the blue, with no more blue uniforms wanted at the Auckland Pride Parade.

I am sure this caught many of you by surprise given our journey from being forbidden by the Police hierarchy from marching in uniform, to marching in Police Association T-shirts, to 2015 when we finally marched in uniform and, this year, Police launching its rainbow police car.

Police should be acknowledged for the pace at which it has moved in this arena. That progress has been recognised by, among others, parade sponsors, the defence forces and longtime LGBTQI advocate Georgina Beyer.

She likened the proposed ban to asking our officers who want to march proudly in their police uniforms, to just pop back in the closet.

To me, the exclusion of police in uniform is short sighted and detrimental to those in the pride community who understand the power of inclusiveness.

I would like to thank you all for your commitment to the association, for your input into debate and feedback on the myriad issues we deal with at any one time.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones over the Christmas period, and thank you to those of you who will be working through to ensure New Zealanders stay safe.

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