Sunday, 10 June 2012

F*ck Tha Police

Well, that seems to be the attitude that the government are taking on pay and conditions.  I wasn't expecting National and Tiki Taane to think along the same lines.
I have some respect for the police in New Zealand, they are mostly free of corruption and bad behaviour is the exception, rather than the rule.  I do tend to have rose-tinted glasses for looking at them and say that things could be worse when, perhaps, I should be saying they could be better.  And they could be better.  However, I digress.
Reducing pay and conditions for what is an unpleasant and unsociable job invites corruption and discourages people from taking up one of the more important jobs in society.
Increasing the link between pay and performance degrades and de-emphasizes the human aspect of policing, and the humanity of the police is both essential, and unmeasurable.
As anecdotal evidence of the humanity of the police, I once worked as a telephone counsellor and one evening spoke to a person in the process of killing themselves.  Needless to say it was quite a harrowing experience, first time and all.  I took a long drive home after my shift finished at about midnight or whenever in the wee small hours, and while not concentrating fully in an apparently deserted small country town I treated a Stop sign like a Give Way - I slowed down so I could stop safely if I had to, but with no traffic about I drove through without coming to a complete halt.  I was pulled over promptly by a policeman who was following me.  I explained why I was a little distracted and carried on, warned with a few mild words and an instruction to go straight home.  It was the second time I had ever been pulled over and with all the stories I'd heard about ticket quotas, I fully expected a fine.
Performance pay can only be implemented when performance is strictly measured.  Measurement is easiest when it includes simple things like arrests made, tickets issued and successful prosecutions.  When individual officers are driven to chose between pay and using their discretion and humanity, many will go for the money, especially if their pay and conditions are reduced.  I can see that National's plan is not a good one.

N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton, 1988

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