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It was worth a try, I suppose. I understand the concept of policing by consent, but surely that only works when you're trying to police people who understand the rules of living together in a community who want a peaceful life who choose not to commit crime, who understand consequences?
For those who make their living out of crime, whose lifestyles and very raison d'etre revolves around crime and committing it, I imagine policing by consent would be a yeah, nah from them.
Poto Williams, the Minister of Police and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster were appointed to their roles by this government because they are, or appear to me, to be passionate about wanting to help create a better, fairer, more humane New Zealand.
And that's worthy. Worthy aspirations. And thank heavens, there are people like them in the world.
But not on the roles they inhabit currently. Poto Williams comes from a background of community health and welfare, and she's very heavily involved in tackling the issue of family violence, which is incredibly good work. Very creditable. When she became part of the Labour Government, she had to be persuaded to take on the role of police minister, possibly the clincher for her was that this Government was looking for a cultural change in the police.
Poto Williams made it very clear from the start that the decisions she would make around policing are informed by the people she represents. So, is this new style of policing working for those very communities that Poto Williams is concerned about and says she represents? I would love to know.
We need a Police Minister really who understands that while they can try to change the culture of the police, the culture of the criminal underclass is what really needs to be changed.
Changing the police to be a social service is all very well and good, but unless you can change the mentality of the crims, the stats are going to go in the wrong direction.
We are not going to see the problem of increasingly violent gangs, increasingly wealthy gangs who are attracting huge numbers of recruits - that's not going to be changed while we've got Andrew Coster and Poto Williams in charge.
Poto Williams did not aspire to be Police Minister. It was not her every desire to be a Police Minister.
Relieve her of her duties and put her into an area where her passion and her experience can be a help and not a hindrance.
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