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Good Cop, Bad Cop
Entry 739, on 2008-04-10 at 12:02:21 (Rating 3, News)
The problem with election promises is that if the party involved gains power they are sort of obliged to carry the promise out even if that isn't necessarily the best course of action. Situations change and sometimes fulfilling promises, even when they seemed like a good idea at first, involves compromises which probably weren't envisioned when they were first unveiled.
The specific situation I'm referring to here is the plan for the New Zealand police to recruit new staff from Singapore. Labour made a deal with New Zealand First to recruit 1000 new officers but they can't find enough here. It could be that we get some very fine police from Singapore, but I doubt whether that will be true in general.
Singapore has a history of extremely draconian regulations and I'm sure that a lot of people will say that's what we need here too - until they end up being the victim of it themselves of course. Historically we have had a moderate and reasonable police force, although its reputation is already heading down hill fast as a result of various well publicised recent incidents.
Many people are suggesting that recruiting standards have already dropped, because its not possible to get enough staff, and that might have a lot to do with some of the negative incidents. But if we recruit from overseas we will have the additional problems of police staff who don't have a good background in New Zealand culture, might have language difficulties, and other potential issues.
Presumably people thought we would be getting a better police force when they voted for the idea of more officers, but if we get more but inferior staff is that really an improvement? Personally I would prefer less but better police. There's nothing worse than a bad cop (even if he's bad just because of ignorance or lack of understanding rather than being deliberately malicious) and getting 1000 new bad cops seems like a worse idea than getting no new cops at all!
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