President's Weekly Round-up: 29 January 2016

NZPA - Greg O'Connor | Fri January 29th, 2016

I’m back in the office after a great break, which, because of lousy weather, was easy on the fish but hard on the books.  I managed six good tomes and can bore anyone senseless on topics as diverse as the war on drugs, the history of the financial system, and why Putin is the biggest crook in modern politics. 

However, I came crashing back to earth in the last week as the media were not interested in our views on any of the aforesaid topics and wanted comment instead on the member survey results on staffing, the numbers of frontline troops and the fatal fleeing drivers in Counties Manukau.  Added to that, the West Coast Police review is out and although the numbers remain static, there will be considerable restructure to fit the Prevention model, difficult in a geographically immense area that covers three-quarters of the length of the South Island.

Our position is that while members see value in the “new” model, the real risk lies in leaving the response staff too thinly spread to handle business as usual without the injection of staff that Counties Manukau got. That was certainly reflected in the member survey.

We had our usual high profile murder over the New Year, this time in Remuera.  Tragic, obviously, but at least when these things happen in the high-rent end of town, the media and public take notice.  Sad to say, however, that such a thing happening in the parts of town we mostly police in would not have anywhere near the same political impact.  I'm sure the fear of crime surveys we monitor will take a jump over the next couple of months as a result.  

To carry on with what was  a full-on if short week back, we had Mr Wishart retracting the allegations made in his first book that Scott Watson was innocent.  I wonder if he is going to refund all those who bought the first book? 

Over the New Year, we had a large number of firearms reports. Police has realised that the Association’s concerns are valid. A proposal is being considered by Government for an amendment essentially banning gang members from being associated with firearms. That will get them shaking in their boots.  We will continue to call for an inquiry into the reason for the proliferation of firearms among people who should never have them.  Keep up those reports.

The other significant event this week is that yours truly clocked up 40 years in Police.  Only seven of the Sir Dennis Blundell cadet wing left in the job, hanging out for the four stars.  I have to say, it’s gone bloody quickly.  How many of our members were even alive in 1976? 


Stay safe.

Greg O’Connor

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