Making every Police issue about Māori is self defeating – armed NZ Police are a human rights issue

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‘More dead Māori on the streets’: Rawiri Waititi slams increased funding for police

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi says the Government’s increase to the police budget, which funds an increase to armed offender-level firearms training, will lead to more police shootings.

The Government announced more than half a billion dollars of new funding for the police over the next four years, in a pre-Budget announcement on Sunday. It included a promise to ensure there was one police officer for every 480 people, and $185 million to roll out the controversial “tactical response model” nationwide.

The tactical response model would increase police access to guns. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said police would remain largely unarmed, but the tactical response programme would give more officers access to firearms or access to specialist armed offenders officers.

Waititi said this announcement would be devastating for Māori.

There is a real danger in NZ Politics that when you attack policy as racist to Māori we play the ‘is it racist’ game where everyone screams it is or isn’t, everyone goes back to their polarised corners, nothing progresses.

When we say people dying from Police shootings is ‘racist’ we totally allow the Police off the hook for advancing police policy this is killing people!

Armed NZ Police is a human rights issue, not a bloody race issue! By framing it as. trace issue, it allows Pakeha NZ to shrug and say ‘that’s their problem’, when the reality is Polic e shooting anyone is an us problem!

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Any time the State’s actions lead to the death of a person, that action must be scrutinised and justified at the highest levels.

RNZ has done a withering expose on how trigger happy NZ Police are when it comes to shooting Kiwis. NZ Police are shooting NZers at 11 times the rates of Welsh or English Police.

One of the fundamental problems is that NZ Police are poorly trained when it comes to firearms and critics complain of a gung ho culture – why aren’t Police de-escalating events and preferring to open fire?

Almost 25% of those fatally shot had mental health issues, surely that alone demands some reflection from the Police?

10 out of of those 39 killed were shot in the back by Police, doesn’t that demand some reflection?

In 25 of the 35 cases the person killed had not injured another person before being shot. In eight cases they had damaged property. In 17 shootings the person killed had not done any damage at all. Where is the moral justification of opening fire in situations where there isn’t an actual threat or damage?

In 20% of cases investigated by the IPCA they found Police actions escalated events and put Officers into positions where shooting was the only option – surely a percentage as large as that – 20% demands a culture change within the Police?

I argued recently that one reason why the sudden jump in Police pepper spraying children is because the size requirements to be a Police Officer were relaxed to allow more minorities to becomes Police and the inadvertent conclusion of that decision was Police who were more reliant on weapons to assert dominance.

Combine this with lax firearm training and we have a Police force staffed by people who are too reliant on weapons to assert control.

It is not acceptable to have social policy as indifferent as this no matter who is dying.

Kaoss Price was a human being. Beyond the many reasons we may hold up to claim he deserves little sympathy, he was one of us and deserved a response to his actions that was proportionate to the threat he posed.

If we lose sight of that in the emotional backlash of him as a figure deserving of our sympathy, we have lost more than he has.

When human life is lost, social policy in a liberal progressive democracy that is ruled by law must ask why that is and how to avoid it in the future without putting other lives at risk.

It doesn’t;t matter what the skin colour is, this is a human rights issue that impacts all of us.

More physically small and ill trained, under resourced cops with more guns is a problem for everyone of us, not just Māori and we can’t allow a narrative that it is all about Māori eclipse it from our attention.

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41 COMMENTS

  1. How to become a cop in the UK
    Three routes are now available:

    -Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) – You can choose to undertake a three-year Level 6 degree apprenticeship, which involves both on and off-the-job training. As with other apprenticeships, you’ll earn while you learn and upon successful completion of the programme, you’ll have finished your probation as a police constable and will have achieved the BSc Professional Policing Practice.

    -Degree-holder entry – For those who’ve studied an undergraduate degree in any subject, you can follow this work-based programme, which is supported by off-the-job learning. It typically takes two years to complete the probation and leads to a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

    -Pre-join degree – If you haven’t already been to university, you can embark on a three-year BSc Professional Policing Practice programme before applying to a force and following a shorter period of on-the-job training. By pursuing this route, you’ll need to be prepared to fund the degree yourself.

    NZ:
    1. Apply Online
    2. Initial Background Checks
    3. Initial Phone Conversation
    4. Online Testing
    5. Initial Medical Check
    6. Recruit Additional Information Form & CV
    7. Physical Appraisal Test (PAT)
    8. SCOPE – A realistic job preview by experiencing many different aspects of police work.
    9. Formal Interview
    10. Background & Final Checks
    11. Enter Candidate Pool
    12. Selected for Wing
    13. Complete 16 weeks training -You’ll be at the Royal New Zealand Police College.
    14. Graduate

    so you have a 3 year apprentice ship or a 2 year course as a degree holder, vs 16 WEEKS in training in NZ.
    Maybe they are simply not trained here in NZ, but then it is NZ and one thing in NZ we don’t do is train people correctly.
    But i would not blame the dude from TPM for stating that men like him risk dying due to untrained and overhelmed Coplings not knowing what to do, after all that is his bread n butter and he would like to stay in bread n butter.

    Maybe put the blame to the Government – that of dear Jacinda atm – that sends people out in the street for a fight that they are not trained nor equipped for and that in not sufficient numbers.
    But rest assured that dear Jacinda and the likes like her will have all the protection they need, its the like of us that will get killed by dudes and non-dudes that went into policing because it beats fruit picking and they get to pretend to be a figure of authority.

    • and still the UK police are loudmouthed entitled shaved headed and ignorant of the law…boys and girls playing soldiers.

      but I agree wholeheartedly on the slack mess that is NZ police recruitment….

  2. Get back to basics for a moment…
    Police are part of the capitalist state superstructure to keep working class people under control. Compliant people are needed to keep the tills jingling for our bludging masters.

    A lot of their daily work like finding lost trampers, could be done by well resourced dedicated Traffic Police, Civil Defence, Search and Rescue, Paramedics, Tow truck drivers! and above all, Mental Health front liners.

    Drugs? legalise it, Ram raiders? reduce inequality and alienation–retire the neo liberal state in favour of old school socialism.

    Unfortunately the stats do show that Māori are disproportionately on the end of Pepper, Taser, incarceration, and most damningly–what amounts to summary execution when non lethal means could have been deployed. Cop behaviour such as photographing young Māori, and stopping drivers for driving while being Māori illustrate that Te Pāti Māori are not pushing it too far here imo.

    • Police are part of the capitalist state superstructure to keep working class people under control…so explain communist Russia as a Police State.

    • just floating this one cos I really have no idea…

      do maori get more ‘physical treatment’ because they’re more ‘toey’ with cops? culture ‘warrior gene’ mana not allowing backing down, whatever.

      seriously what are peoples thoughts

      NB any answers DO NOT JUSTIFY police violence, purely a sociological question, if we don’t know, no matter how unpalatable the answer, we can’t address the issue.
      and yup many many pakeha both ken and karen. can be lippy fucktards too.

      • nothing to do with genes or race – all to do with having a huge distrust of the system, which the cops are the obvious face of. I had a young workmate once who was the nicest kid in the world who drove an old valiant and was in a band – every now and again he’d tell me the old story about getting pulled over coz he had his band gear in the back of his car. of course he was polite and gentle – I would have got “toey” but I never get pulled over minding my own business.

      • the reason for the toey-ness may well be justified but does the fact of the toey-ness lead to more physical style confrontations was the actual question, I ask because it can’t be addressed until we have the answers.

  3. “It doesn’t matter what the skin colour is, this is a human rights issue that impacts all of us.”
    It’s obvious that Waititi @ Co are completely oblivious to the concerns of the broader population. Perhaps he envisions a Maori vigilante force to take the place of the normal police and tribal justice as an alternative. The ultimate development of the iwi roadblocks model? That’ll go down a treat.

    • You’re right in summary. The only time I’ve seen effective Maori support for this was around 50 years ago – at that time the Maori Wardens were well respected by everyone (young old Maori European Police & Community). Sadly they lost that respect sometime since.

  4. The biggest problem is that as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff uniformed officers are baring the brunt of massive social issues not of their making.

    • Quite right.

      Why are police the go to for mental health problems that seem to be steadily increasing and are a sizeable part of the aforementioned problems police face? Because our mental health system has neither the staff, the facilities or the resources to deal with it.

      What formal psychiatric training do police receive to deal with mentally ill people? None.

      What psychiatric qualifications do they need? None!

      Who thought it a good idea to close the mental health system we once had and replace it with…essentially sweet fuck all! Not the police. Labour did!

      Who is expected to intervene on behalf of the public when a mentally disaffected person either by natural means or drug use loses it? Trained mental health staff? No, they dont exist. So its the Police!

      Yes, they’re a convenient whipping boy but you need to look deeper than the symptoms.

      • care in the community is an interesting one, a unholy alliance of hip young medical experts in accidental alliance with small state asset strippers…if it had been funded properly ie-small well staffed community housing it might have worked but lack of funding and NIMBYs did for that route….so patients were left out in the cold(literally in many cases) and the cops get to pick up the pieces something they’re not remotely equipped for…but hey those developers made shit loads out of the grounds of the old hospitals so, jobs a gud un.

  5. Waititi and TPM are almost incapable articulating anything that doesn’t fit within a CRT framework of Maori=victims and Pakeha=oppressor. I suspect, as in the UK and US, a much biggest factor in predicting ‘attention’ from the police is socio-economic background and other factors like sex and postcode before race

    TPM (and Greens) could take a lesson from Sinn Fein who just won a plurality in Northern Ireland by focusing on bread and butter issues that matter to everyone, especially the lower 50% of income earners and largely avoided talking about republicanism.

      • @Stephen – I’m not sure what’s your point is?

        Yes racism exists, including institutional (although less than the Woke like to think). My point is that if you do analysis by class you often find similar outcomes for low income groups across all races (with the exception of some asian groups). Poor outcomes can be compounded by race (and sex, education, postcode etc), however a lot of what appears to be racism when viewed through a racial lens, is partly or wholly indistinguishable from class issues when viewed through a socio-economic lens (which is what intersectionality should be good at but where it manifestly fails). Isn’t the point to make meaningful change rather than push an ideological agenda?

        While there is much of interest in the document you link, it has understandably limited scope and has a specific agenda. For example “profoundly failing state sector systems” applies for many groups. Also some assertions are questionable such as “uniquely Indigenous Māori solutions and models lack state commitment, and legislative and infrastructure support”.
        Relative to neoliberal “solutions and models” this is probably true, but “uniquely”? So Indian, Chinese and other minority communities or the white working class have “solutions and models” that DO enjoy “state commitment and legislative and infrastructure support”?

        I could go on, the caution is that elite special interests typically leverage off poor conditions of those who are effectively sub-groups of the working class, to advance their own financial, political or cultural advantage. While achieving exactly zero for those whose conditions they purport to care about. For example, I am curious how many low income Māori feel they are seeing tangible benefits from their own Iwi as Māori elites gain power and influence. Certainly no one that I know does.

  6. Good on him. He talks straight, a rare thing. Who stopped the prison riot at Waikeria? hint: not the minister for justice & corrections.

  7. Maybe Rawiri is worried more so about himself and his colleagues? Those useless mowrees in the Labour party maybe?

    The cops would be doing us all a favour!

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