President's Weekly Round-up: 3 August 2015

NZPA | Fri August 7th, 2015

This last week was a unique and successful one for the Association. Unique because, for the first time in recent history, the Police and the Association delivered a joint press conference to publicly launch a new policy.  And successful because that policy was to allow frontline police to carry Tasers, which the Association has been lobbying for since they were introduced. 

In both cases, it was the good information provided to our researchers by the membership that brought about the change.  Sadly, the number of serious assaults on members this year, including the attempted strangulation of a colleague in Counties Manukau last month, presented us with the opportunity to highlight the need for carrying Tasers.

And full credit to the Commissioner, who invited me to join him for the policy launch, as the change will mean finding money for 1000 more Tasers, which is not a cheap exercise.

Last week also saw the wrapping up of a very good operation against the Head Hunters motorcycle gang. Am I the only one who detects a tone of the “noble criminal” running through the media commentary? The Sunday papers featured poor old Millie Holmes and her innocent wee cherub of a boyfriend Connor Morris, who was brutally slain when all he was doing was dishing out a good old-fashioned kicking.  Even the gang president, Wayne Doyle, is being lionised as a sort of benevolent godfather figure, downplaying the fact he is a convicted murderer.   

Auckland City District Commander Richard Chambers did a very good job of fronting the media on the Myers Park shooting at the weekend. He was candid about what happened and supportive of the members.  I flew to Auckland to visit the members and their families and reassure them of Association support.

As an aside, I heard the comment that it was lucky the man hadn't “died after Tasering”, which was an interesting observation. It’s ironic that the relatively benign media response would be somewhat different had that been the case.  It’s a mad old world when we don't hear from the anti-Taser brigade after we use a firearm.

Greg O'Connor

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