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What Kind of Country?

What kind of country do we want to live in? This is a question some people are asking after the latest, apparently politically motivated, police raid on an innocent person, in this case journalist Nicky Hager. As I have said in the past I think most New Zealand police are basically good people but do I trust them? Hell, no!

I don’t trust them for two reasons. First, there are clearly certain police who are not good people. There are some who are bullies, violent, self-serving, and corrupt. And the others have little choice but to do what their “superiors” tell them. And those superiors may not be getting direct instructions from their political masters (although if they were it wouldn’t surprise me) but they know what they want anyway.

Every week there seems to be another story of police corruption, stupid errors, apologies, and situations where they should apologise but refuse to. And yes, you can ask what would I do if I was a crime victim and I would answer by saying that I would call the police. Why? Well first, I have no choice, but more significantly I think that most of the time the good cops get on with their job and do the right thing. But I am still suspicious of everything they do.

So getting back to the original question: what kind of country do we want to live in? Do we want to live in a country where the police are used as a weapon against enemies of big American corporate interests? Where they spend huge amounts of money launching violent and totally disproportionate raids against people who have committed minor crimes at worst? Do we want to live in a country where armed police menace innocent women and children? Do we want a situation where journalists (or their even more innocent family) who expose the dirty tricks our leaders are involved with are menaced by police searches and who have their possessions stolen by police?

I hope no one would want this, but that’s what we’ve now got. And to make matters worse we now have a police force who only comment when they want to and have a propaganda section who feed the media false information to try to justify their actions.

The police leadership are unlikely to get much better. They are like senior management in almost every large organisation: lacking in basic decent morals. So what should a normal cop do? Obviously it is his duty to sabotage the efforts of his own organisation, just like that is like everyone’s duty when the management of their workplace become arrogant or corrupt.

He can’t realistically refuse to participate in these immoral and cowardly attacks but he could leak information about his superior’s actions to the press through people like Hager. Obviously this would be a rather dangerous action but we’re talking about our country’s freedom and fairness here so what alternative is there?

Finally, I would like to list just a few of the headlines describing the New Zealand police’s immoral or incompetent actions I have noticed over the last few years…

Dirty Politics: Police raid Nicky Hager’s home
Police illegally shut down parties
Crewe murders: Frustrated Thomases ‘feel cheated’ and bereft of answers
Apology over Urewera raids
Police apologise for delay in catching rapist
Communication failures blamed for Roast Busters errors
Police too ‘busy’ to attend 111 call about gunshots
Roast Busters: Victim made complaint to police two years ago
Dunedin police lose tear-gas canister
Police apologise for revealing secret deal over death
Police refuse to apologise for roughly treating pensioner
Police officer’s actions contributed to man’s paralysing injuries
Police killing: ‘It’s just wrong’ says grieving grandma
Fresh charges laid against accused cop
Bain evidence: Police respond
IPCA to investigate police actions in rape case
Police officer fails to stop following crash
Eulogy scripted to praise cop who planted Crewe evidence
Officers joked about framing Thomas recalls bar worker
Hidden speed cameras ‘a nice little earner’
Cops on the wrong side of the law
Lawyer rubbishes police claims over autistic ‘looter’
Police in abuse of power row
Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups
Officer’s email suggests ticket quota blitz
Police rewards offered: $800,000 Amount paid out: $0
Police shoot and miss dog 12 times during domestic
Peaceful protests and violent police

Sure, it’s easy to concentrate on the bad and ignore all the good work they do, but I’m sorry but I expect better… a lot better than this!

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