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Entry 147, on 2005-03-21 at 12:56:53 (Rating 3, News)
A controversy is under way here in New Zealand, regarding the behaviour of the police at a protest in Auckland this weekend. A rather disturbing photo was shown on the front page of our local paper this morning, showing a police officer taking his duty of restraining protesters a bit too seriously!
The police have suffered so many public relations disasters recently that we really have to ask if anyone is going to be responsible and do something about it. First there are the numerous failures of the emergency phone system, including telling someone to get a taxi during an assault incident, and recently a failure to help an ambulance crew who were being attacked by drunken youths. Then there is the accusation of the police spending too much of their time collecting traffic fines instead of doing serious crime work.
Now, after failing to do the job they should be doing, they seem to be getting rough with peaceful protesters. Well that's just great. New Zealand used to be one of the few countries where people had respect for, and trusted, the police force. That is rapidly disappearing as these sort of incidents keep happening. Maybe its inevitable now that we will think of our police force in the same way as other countries, such as Australia and the US, where they are mistrusted by most of the population.
Comment 1 (22) by Craig Conlin on 2005-03-21 at 20:34:42:
Being from the US, I've seen the issues relating to police performance and public perception of the cops. It's not really about the police. They're not fundamentally fascists. They get their direction from the politicians. When the governing apparatus takes the position that respect for public order is most important, and those who disagree with the authorities are immoral and expendable, the country is in trouble.
Still, I don't know about NZ, but in America police are mostly part of local government. Therefore, the attitude and quality of police departments varies considerably across the country. As does the quality and politics of the local governments.
Anyway, believe it or not, Owen, my wife I had a wonderful dinner at the Reef Restaurant in Dunedin this evening. Been in NZ two weeks now, and have just under one more left. Very enjoyable vacation. Regards, Craig
Comment 2 (23) by OJB on 2005-03-22 at 15:45:02:
In New Zealand the police are run nationally, so theoretically things should be the same everywhere. I'm sure some incidents are because of individuals with bad attitudes and others are due to policy, which comes ultimately from the government.
Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in new Zealand!
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