President's Weekly Round-up: 1 April 2016

NZPA - Greg O'Connor | Fri April 1st, 2016

You may have noticed that we have been drawn into the issue of cannabis liberalisation. That came about when the Drug Foundation said that the significant reduction in people charged with cannabis offences meant de-facto decriminalisation was occurring. I pointed out the reduction was in line with Government policy demanding a 19 per cent reduction in the criminal justice system, one which police have well overshot.

The drug debate has ignited recently with The Economist magazine, the British medical journal The Lancet and other publications calling for an end to the war on drugs, particularly cannabis.  We have not taken a position either way, but have pointed out that if you merely decriminalise cannabis, you will increase not only the amount used, but also the power of the illicit providers, namely organised criminals and gangs, by increasing their market.

Our position is that if you are going to liberalise the policy on cannabis, thus inevitably increasing use and demand, look at the supply situation as well. If you decouple the two, you just play into the hands of illicit suppliers.

It’s all a bit of a sideshow, though, as the real policing issues bubble over. The assaults on our members continue, and only the fact the officers were armed and able to defend themselves prevented more serious injuries to two North Canterbury officers recently. Three carloads of gang wannabes thought the isolated location where they were stopped presented an opportunity to attack our lads. Another officer was king hit in Dargaville and three illegal firearms were located in the car when the offender was finally subdued. We have arranged Welfare packs for both members.

To give an idea of how many incidents we are hearing about, I turned my phone off for a couple of hours at the recruit graduation at the Police College and when I turned it on I had reports of three serious firearms incidents and seizures that had occurred that day.

I see our success with the Holidays Act underpayments is now spreading across the general workforce. If you know anyone who is a beneficiary of the situation, remind them it was the Association who brought it all to light. You could at least insist on a drink!

Stay safe
Greg O’Connor

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