Posts Tagged ‘Police’

Nurses and Police Officers

datePosted on 19:05, March 2nd, 2009 by Anita

Which have trained for longer?

Which are at more day-to-day risk?

Which get paid more?

In the pay equity debates we tend to focus on the argument about the effect and value of child raising, perhaps because it’s a handy dead end. In fact, however, the gender pay gap exists between whole professions: why are police officers paid so much more than nurses? There are plenty of other examples of pairs of equally trained equally skilled professions where female dominated one is paid significantly less than the male dominated one.

There’s a straight forward gender pay equity issue, but also questions of how we value women (why is the kinds of things women do worth less than the things men do?). By extension there is a question about why we value professions which care for people lower than professions that care for things, as that tends to be the gender split in professions as well.

But to come back to original question, is it right that we pay nurses significantly less than police officers and, if so, why?

[For a broader discussion of pay equity, try Julie’s Pay Equity Hub at The Hand Mirror or Queen of Thorns who’s hosting the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival]

Hate crimes law so that the Police can collect stats?!

datePosted on 18:18, February 21st, 2009 by Anita

TV3 had a piece in the first segment tonight about the Police wanting hate crimes legislation. Oddly they twice said that the reason the Police want the change in legislation is so that they can collect statistics on racially motivated crimes.

This makes me puzzle about four things:

  1. What are the racially motivated incidents that the Police currently can’t prosecute but would like to?
  2. Can’t the motivation of a crime already be used as part of the sentencing decision?
  3. If the Police want to capture statistics about racially motivated crimes why can’t they do that now?
  4. The Police are abysmal at responding to information requests, often saying they don’t have the data (even when it’s clear they once did), what would they do with these extra statistics?

Either way around, I’d be pretty uncomfortable with the idea that something is criminal because it is motivated by racism, rather than because of its actual outcomes – if you hit someone because they’re Asian it’s just as wrong as hitting them because they’re queer, or remind you of your ex, or because you’d had too much to drink.

[I recommend Rich and Lew‘s posts about hate speech legislation which canvas some of this area]

The Police brought this on themselves

datePosted on 16:05, January 27th, 2009 by Anita

Why are so many of us making so much noise about the investigations into Halatau Naitoko’s death?

There are three things that are influencing me:

  1. The Police have a history of failing to properly investigate their own, and even of covering up for colleagues. 
  2. There is a recent history of the Police undertaking disproportionate investigation and action on firearms charges against activists, and I’m still pretty riled by it.
  3. Their employees have behaved dishonourably in so many ways in recent memory and the Police have not apologised or truly addressed the actions.

Does this mean there was necessarily anything wrong with the Police’s action on Auckland’s Northwestern motorway? No

Does this mean there was necessarily anything wrong with actions of the individual AOS members? No.

Does it mean I am even remotely comfortable with the Police determining what investigation will be undertaken, how it will be undertaken and who will do it? Hell no!

The reality is that the Police brought this storm on themselves, by having behaved so badly in the past they have damaged our trust in them and they have made little attempt to rebuild it.

Several years ago I knew a man who had worked in the AOS for many years; a good and honourable man. When I heard what had happened on Friday I had two first instincts, the first was to imagine the officer who had pulled the trigger and think of the man I knew and feel for the officer’s pain and guilt. The second was to think “Oh here we go, let’s see how fast the spin kicks in and how fast and deep they bury the investigation”.

The individual officers who were there on Friday deserve and have my thoughts and sympathy. I can’t imagine the pain and guilt they are feeling right now, and I am so very grateful to them for everything they do to keep us safe.

The Police organisation, however, deserves every piece of cynicism and distrust I direct its way.

The Police Officer or the Police?

datePosted on 06:00, January 26th, 2009 by Anita

Idiot/Savant puts forward the case that the Police Officer who shot and killed Halatau Naitoko should be charged:

Look at the precedents: hunters kill their mates in tragic accidents fairly frequently. They are usually made to stand trial for careless use of a firearm, or in cases where there is clear negligence, manslaughter. Some are discharged, some are convicted, some end up on home detention, some (in very serious cases) end up in jail. We do this, despite the tragic circumstances, because we as a society have decided that people who play with guns need to exercise the utmost care and responsibility when doing so.

To take a different set of analogies, however, sometimes when someone kills with a vehicle they are charged, sometimes it is the employer that is charged when it is clear that it was the practices of the employer that was at fault. Perhaps this is a case where the Police should be charged with having work practices that led to a death.

When there is a bad outcome of a Police action it is sometimes the fault of the Police, sometimes of the individual officer, sometimes both, but by focussing on the individual Officer we allow the Police off the hook. It seems to me that there are times when the Police plays on that focus on the individual to move the spotlight away from their poor culture or organisational practices.

Having just skimmed the Health and Safety and Employment Act and the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Act it appears that the Police could be prosecuted (although I may have become very confused by the nature of “person”s). If so, then if the death was caused by a Police practice there is an opportunity to hold the Police to account without needing to prosecute the individual Officer for their employer’s mistake.

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