Friday, December 12, 2014

Calling (out) the Cops

A while back, I wrote this post here about the philosophies that I thought should underpin policing, based on what we as a society actually want the cops to do for us.

I think  that with recent events in the States, we can see the end point of an adversarial relationship between the police and everyone else. The issue there (as I guessed at in my post) seems to be strongly tied to a very particular kind of police culture. That link goes to a post by an ex-cop called Redditt Hudson (a glorious name for the Internet Age) and makes, in my view, a very strong case that it's a lack of real consequences for police who misbehave that leads to this kind of culture flourishing.

Based on my personal contact with the police (I do sounds and play music at a number of community events, and so have a bit to do with Community Liaison-type officers) I had been reasonably comfortable that New Zealand (despite the obvious issues I mentioned in my original post) was still some distance from this kind of scenario.

I am less confident now.

We need police who are supported and trained in effective de-escalation, who see themselves as public servants rather than superheroes, and who can expect clear consequences when they act inappropriately.

We do not need to start having our own Michael Browns, Eric Garners and Tamir Rices.

EDITED TO ADD: People who follow that "I am less confident" link will find that the Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent is listed as "pictured" but that the picture has been replaced by an ad. I am sure that neither the Bay Of Plenty Times nor the New Zealand Herald meant to imply that the man in question is actually Skrillex.

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