Poignant and dignified remembrance
October 4, 2012Previous Blogs
Hundreds of staff and family members gathered at the Police College on Monday to honour fallen officers and colleagues who died in the past 12 months. The national Remembrance Day service was particularly poignant because, for the first time, a Governor-General attended and spoke, together with the Police Minister. It was a dignified occasion, very professionally managed by college staff and others. Similar events were held around the country and that's as it should be.
One name that wasn't read out this year, but almost certainly will be next year, was that of former Inspector Alan Wright. Alan, who retired this year, drowned last month. I was honoured to attend his funeral, along with scores of police officers who formed a very appropriate guard of honour.
At such times we reflect on the best of policing. However, all organisations suffer slip-ups and when things go wrong we don't duck for cover. Without wishing to prejudge the inquiry under way, I was left shaking my head at recent commentary about the alleged treatment of two young women at a lower North Island police station in January. They were aged 14 and 16 and were kept in custody over a weekend. There's common ground that various legislative requirements were overlooked. If true, it's a situation we don't need in a highly professional service like ours - and I've told staff as much.
The findings of a recent Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) investigation around our response to fleeing drivers represents another own goal. There are strict rules around such incidents, which protect police officers as well as members of the public.
On the other hand, I'm delighted to praise the officers who arrested a man who went on a rampage with a knife in Christchurch in March. The man had stabbe