GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Simon Bridges is wrong about policing and Commissioner Coster is right.


As some of you may know I’m currently working on a criminal justice documentary series.
And, as some of you (who have followed my work over the years ) may also know, I have at times been very critical of police actions and activities.

So .. with that background in mind let me just say two things.

1. The cry for the police to ‘get tougher on crime ‘and take an abrasive policing approach to gangs etc may sound appealing, but on any reading of the data history tells us that confrontational policing policies deliver more problems than they solve, particularly in the backlash creation of angry ,disengaged and violent offenders who end up living in expensive tax -payer run prisons.

The answer to solving a lot of crime in our country is simply to create a fairer society.


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Because if you deny people the legitimate means of making ends meet they will turn to the illegitimate means and on this point the data is again clear….. In fairer societies there is less violence, less drug and alcohol dependence , fewer people in prison and so on.

2. By calling Commissioner Coster a ‘wokester’ Simon Bridges may have been trying to attract attention to himself perhaps in an effort to regain the leadership of the National Party.

Who knows?

Who cares?

What Bridges has proved in the last couple of days with his childish name -calling of Commissioner Coster is that he is yesterday’s man for his party with yesterday ideas about policing .

Whereas, credit where credit is due, Coster is attempting something that is truly tough to achieve.

He is trying to develop policing by consent because he wants the relationship the community has with the police today, to be better tomorrow.

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Simon Bridges is a pompus prick which is why he got ousted from the national party leadership only problem is his siamese twin is now in charge so we now have double the trouble. In the meantime Simons twin is busy doing what she does best, being divisive and using her divide and conquer tactics.

  2. Simon Bridges is a pompus prick which is why he got ousted from the national party leadership only problem is his siamese twin is now in charge so we now have double the trouble. In the meantime Simons twin is busy doing what she does best, being divisive and using her divide and conquer tactics.

  3. Great article, thank you. Soymin Bridges has always come across as a transparent womble, his latest effort to be seen and heard is woeful and damaging to our people. He and his lot should be locked up for Treason.

  4. Mr Coster was professional on RNZ today, brushing aside the “wokester” taunt, and answering Bridges crap with facts. I would have said, well he is a “Wanksta”! Gang numbers are not statistics as such, that is not the methodology used according to Coster, head count is a moveable feast of best guesstimates, from people in the field.

    Far from being weak on gangs, the cops have been conducting a major campaign hunting out illegal gang held weapons, and days before Simon’s outburst, a gang Prezzie got sentenced to 10 years in the slammer–a bit more than a wet bus ticket.

    I have little time for the NZ Police, thier violent macho culture being a prime reason, and the reactionary political role they play as part of the State forces another. But if they are making genuine efforts to change that culture good for them, everyone will benefit over time.

    • Perhaps if National were effective as a government gang numbers wouldn’t be where there at. Dismissing Aussie policy and not allowing returnees across our borders a few years back would have been better and clearly whatever their plan was to curb gangs which included the vulgar prosecuting lawyer Bridges didnt work Once again Bridges places blame of his failures on others. Now back to the donation scandal mr Bridges.

  5. The Ntaz and MSM are supporting Bridges rants to try and elevate the former’s poll ratings. The Police are doing a great job – how many crims have they shot and how many guns have they recovered and gangsters have they arrested. They have confiscated vehicles, drugs and money.

    Bridges is sounding like the anti woke the wanksters.

  6. If a less fairer society promotes crime then more police are needed to deal with the crime byproduct of that society.

    The style of policing is relevant to respond to that crime and it is quite debatable that Costers social working model is right or will work. It may even have undesirable consequences.

    But what makes society unfair is entirely out of the police’s control, they simply respond as much as their limited resources allow to that demand, that symptom

    To our eternal shame we are a society that dumps people and families failed by our strictly adhered to neo liberal economic model into motels. If they’re lucky. We have a housing nightmare that is going to make those at the bottom rungs of societies life even worse and it worsens by the week as our government dither. Their ignorance and privilege is infuriating

    You’re right, we need to change tack and have done for some time but we have out of touch (current leadership) or uncaring politicians and citizens who can’t see it or don’t care. But that change, if it does happen, will take decades and its the here and now we must deal with. The question is, is Coster’s uncharted foray into social working rather than policing the answer? Is the police even capable of it? Do they have vast resources, training and even more, time? And are they even the right organisation to do that?

    Bridges did himself no favours referring to the highest paid public servant by stupid names. Incredibly unprofessional and a poor reflection on an MP. But after that, the questions he asked regarding Coster’s experiment, he’s absolutely entitled to.

    • You are right x-ray. But Coster deserves to be supported. In my experience our drug laws have done the police as much harm as they have done to society itself. No one with an ounce of nous trusts the police. Surveillance laws are out of control and the peeping tom mentality they encourage among police have to be seen to be believed. Our police are out of control. Snooping prying sneaking into private lives becasue our politicians have made it possible for them to do so unchecked.Your average plod believes and practices the art of stomping into and onto private property at will. Doesn’t matter what the property owner thinks. They will quote any of the recent surveillance acts and pompously tell you they can do this so STFU you have no rights . I have experienced this. They lie in court as a matter of course and cover their arses at all times. And they get away with it far too often.We are all guiltyand all criminals as far as they are concerned. Coster has an uphill battle to change this culture.

    • What Bridges did was fulfill his wifes description of him, “a dirty little street fighter”. Id’ label him a dirty little gutter rat. Bridges had one intention and that was to put himself in lights. He didn’t come to ask questions, if he did he should have waited to hear the answers. But being the true prosecuting lawyer that he is, he behaved like a 12 year old seeking attention.

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