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Thursday, May 25, 2006

How to Save Our Police Force

Today, when you say "Police" to many people, they envision a specially
marked car with flashing lights in their rear-view mirror. That car is
perceived to be a predator seeking to attack the driver's wallet usually
with little or no justification. Many people believe they are more likely to be ripped-off by a traffic cops than by gang members.

Real criminals hardly consider the Police as a threat anymore.

This image has produced the "us and them" separation between the public and the Police.

Many people are now reluctant to assist the Police in solving cases or helping officers in trouble.

Police morale is at an all-time low, and they are rapidly losing public
respect. Key senior staff members are leaving in droves.

New Zeal wants the Police to make crime reduction their #1 focus and make "Cop" the highly respected word it once was.

This is my plan for achieving it. I wrote it in conjunction with a very senior former policeman and a former MP.

Nothing about Tasers, guns, more money or tougher laws. Its all about changing the systems.

Good systems bring out the best in people. Bad systems, or no systems, turn even good people into average people at best.

1 Remove traffic enforcement from the police. Create a separate, dedicated, professional traffic enforcement body. Get the police back fighting crime. Let the new agency focus on traffic safety. Abolish all enforcement quota systems.

2 Replace the Police Complaints Authority with a separately funded, non police body answerable to the Ombudsman’s Office, to ensure police ethics and standards are upheld. At least some of the new body’s senior staff should be recruited from overseas. This will go a long way to restoring public confidence in police ethics.

3 Take senior police managers off performance contracts based on low crime figures. This will remove the incentive to under report crime, falsify or fudge crime statistics and divert resources away from difficult areas onto “soft targets”. Police are public servants. Let them serve. Do not treat them like commission salesmen, it will inevitably lead to dishonesty and lowered morale.

4 Reintroduce some seniority promotion to give police officers more reward for service and experience and help staff retention.

5 Establish Police Watch Committees around the country headed by independent people charged with monitoring police performance in their area. This will get the community more involved and make police more responsive to local problems.

6 Vigorously review the performance of all Police senior managers, from Commissioner down, replace where necessary. Reform labour laws to enable the Police to get rid of some of the the “dead wood” senior staff that have accumulated in the last 10-15 years.

7 Realign the Criminal Investigation Bureau into a high status unit within the police to help train and retain high quality detectives.

8 Review selection and training processes to ensure selection of the right people, and to ensure that they understood that police was a people job, that people-skills, negotiation skills, and lateral thinking problem-solving skills are vital policing work.

9 Strengthen the disciplinary and professional ethics arm of the police to ensure that there is an active and consistent approach to these matters.

10 Direct that all police officers to take a proactive approach to community relations, to get officers out of the station and around the community whenever possible. This will help restore public confidence in our police.

Any comments?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all of them.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

Probably to far fetched for New Zealand, but I would like to be able to elect my own sheriff.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

I agree berend, but first things first

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all of them. I would like to add the following to the list:

Increase the amount of training beyond the current 6 week programme. Higher academic entry requirements (passing school C is very easy). Open a training center in Auckland.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Thanks Anon. Any other suggestions from people obviously in the know are welcome as I would like to submit these ideas to the ACT policy council.

8:08 PM  
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3:34 AM  

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