iPlods on the beat


Issuing police with  smartphones and tablets is smart policy.
Recently I accompanied local Police on a night shift and I can see that they are more effective on the front line than doing paperwork. New technology will give them more time to do what they do best. The initial roll out of smartphones and tablets for Police is now complete. In Counties Manukau this will save more than 73,000 Police hours per year – nationwide the figure is more than half a million.

An iPlod on the beat is worth far more than one in the office.

Turners turns to TradeMe for Police and Customs auctions


Turners has turned to TradeMe for the sale of property retrieved from crime scenes by police or seized by Customs..

The monthly auctions where things like jewellery, beer fridges and television, go under the hammer, will now be moved online.

Turners has been running the auctions for 15 years but says it can make more money on Trade Me.

“I guess the reason for that (is) people don’t have the time to come to a public auction on a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday because they’re working or they’ve got other pressures, ” branch manager for Turners’ commercial division Jason Tredgett says.

On-line auctions are open to a far bigger audience of potential buyers than live ones and also cheaper to run.

Alcohol and tobacco which aren’t permitted to be sold on TradeMe will still go under the hammer the old-fashioned way.

Treating symptoms won’t cure problem


The machete attack on an policeman has led to the inevitable calls for police to carry guns.

That might or might not treat the symptoms of increasing mindless violence but it won’t cure the malaise which is infecting society.

Drug and alcohol abuse are among the causes. So too is a lack of respect for authority, other people, their property and lives.

Arming police will fuel a vicious circle of escalating violence. Addressing the causes is the only way to make New Zealand safer.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged . . .


. . .  that a farmer in possession of gelignite is in want of somewhere better to put it than the steps of the Balclutha police station.

I’ll Be Watching You


Happy birthday Stewart Copeland, 58 today.

Stolen computer case closed


The bloke who stole my laptop in February has done diversion.

I was careless while paying for parking at Christchurch airport, put my case and computer down beside me when I was getting my wallet out of my bag and picked up only the case when I walked off.

When I realised this moments later and ran back, the computer had gone.

I reported it to the police and the officer went through the video footage, spotted the bloke picking up the computer and paying for his parking. The officer worked out from that what time the bloke had entered the car park, went through the video footage at the entry and from that got a registration number.

That gave him a name and address but the address was that of an ex-girlfriend who said she hadn’t seen him for a couple of years but did have an employer’s name. That turned out to be an ex-employer who gave the name of another employer but the bloke had moved on from there too.

The policeman persevered though, caught up with the bloke and invited him in for a chat.

He then asked me if I wanted him charged, saying that if so, he’d almost certainly be offered diversion. When I blogged on this, comments confirmed my view that he ought to be charged.  Keeping Stock and commenters at  Kiwiblog who picked up the story agreed.

By this time I’d got the computer back and discovered the thief had got past the password and been using it so I was even less charitable about his actions.  

The police prosecution team made the decision to charge him and offer diversion. He accepted, had to write a letter of apology (which I haven’t seen yet) and donate $500 to Women’s Refuge.

It was an expensive lesson about the need to take care of my belongings. The computer was insured and I’d replaced it but the claim hadn’t been processed when the laptop was returned so I’ve ended up with a spare – and unused – notebook.

My confidence in people’s honesty has been knocked but by appreciation of the police has grown.

Had it not been for the officer’s perseverance the thief would have got away with his actions. Thanks to good detective work the bloke who stole the computer has paid for his dishonesty and a deserving charity is $500 better off .

Case closed.

Computer thief to be charged


The man who stole my computer (should I make that allegedly?) is to be charged.

When the police officer contacted me to say he’d found the man and got my computer back he asked if I wanted him to be charged, saying that if he was he’d probably be offered diversion.

I blogged on that and asked if I should make him do diversion. The majority response from people who commented here, and over at Kiwiblog  and Keeping Stock who covered the p0st)  was yes.

I passed that on to the policeman and he tells me the man is to be charged and he has recommended diversion.

His email explained that it’s up to the prosecutor/ diversion officer to determine if the alleged thief meets the criteria for diversion and to determine the conditions of the diversions agreement.

He must agree to a whole range of conditions in order to finalise his diversion. It could take up to 2 months before all the conditions are met. When he fronts in court again the prosecutor will inform the court if all the conditions of diversion were met or not. If for any reason he doesn’t abide by those agreed on conditions, he will proceed through the normal prosecution/court process.

If he fulfils all the tasks as per his diversions agreement, the prosecutor will seek to withdraw the theft charges, and he will then be released without a conviction.

His ‘Police record’ will be note that he has completed diversion in this case. Diversion is offered only once. If he comes to the police attention again, he will not receive diversion again.

I’ve got the computer back (but not before buying a replacement). The bloke who took it got round the password and had been using it – he’d used windows messenger which I never use and left an email address there and had also visited Trade Me. 

That, and the fact he’d had the laptop for a month without making any attempt to return it, has made me feel more strongly he should face some consequences for the inconvenience and expense he caused me. But I think diversion will be sufficient so hope the prosecuting officer offers him that option.

Do I make him do diversion?


Top marks to the police officer at Christchurch airport who was dealing with the case of my stolen laptop – he’s got it back.

The saga began early last month when I was careless. I put my laptop and case down while paying for parking, picked up the case when I’d finished and walked off without picking up the laptop too. When I realised what I’d done a few minutes later I returned to the pay machine to find the lap top had gone.

I reported it to a police officer who went through video footage in which he saw a bloke pick up the laptop and walk off with it. The information on how much he’d paid for parking enabled the officer to work out when he’d entered the car park so he trawled through the video from the entrance and got the car’s registration number.

He traced the driver from that to an ex-girlfriend’s address and then to two former employers but the trail went cold from there. However, he persevered, found the bloke, got him to return to the airport where he admitted he’d taken the laptop and still had it.

His story was he hadn’t had time to go to the police.

Do we believe him? No.

The officer said it’s up to me and his supervisor if he takes it any further.

The culprit doesn’t have a previous record so if he’s charged he’d be offered diversion. That means he’d have to make a donation to a charity and probably write me an apology.

I wouldn’t want to waste police and court time on this and since it’s a first offence I wouldn’t want him to have a record.

I haven’t seen the laptop yet but it needs a password so it’s doubtful that if he turned it on he got any further than the start-up page. Even if he had, it was only a couple of months old and I didn’t have any state secrets on it.  The policeman said it’s working and the adaptor and camera lead are still with it. 


* He stole it. I was careless but an honest person would have called me back as soon as he saw me walk off without the computer and he’s had a month to hand it to the police since then.

* I was on my way to Australia when it happened and it was inconvenient not having a laptop with me while I was away and for the couple of weeks after I got until I got a replacement.

* I had to phone Telecom to put a hold on the broadband connection because the Tstick was with the computer and we had to change a whole lot of passwords on the office & home computers.

* I had to make an insurance claim and buy another computer; and now I have to sort out with the insurance company what happens with the old computer now it’s been returned.

The theft wasn’t a hanging offence but it was an offence and a nuisance so: do I say thanks to the police officer for his good work and let it go or do I make the culprit do diversion?

Split ’em up


When the idea of merging police and traffic officers was first mooted I supported it.

Hardly anyone liked the traffic cops  – those big blokes with big moustaches riding big bikes in black leather – and most people supported the police.

But instead of improving the image of traffic enforcers, the merger has tainted the image of police.

It’s not just because they are most visible as traffic enforcers. But the suspicion that some enforcement has had a lot more to do with revenue gathering than making roads safer has grown and people resent the over-zealous approach to traffic policing when crimes like burglaries don’t always get the attention they deserve.

Now Police Commissioner Howard Broad is proposing to use dedicated traffic enforcement officers to help patrol roads, rather than fully sworn police.

The idea has the blessing of Police Minister Judith Collins.

I think it’s a good idea too, with one proviso – the traffic cops don’t go back to the black leather and moustache look which so many of them sported in the past.

That was quick


Less than 24 hours after a fire in John Key’s electorate office a man has been arrested and charged with arson.

That was very quick work by the police.

Time for a public conversation


Jim Hopkins is right:

It’s impossible to know how many people suspect the competence of the police to investigate major crimes. But it’s reasonable to suggest the percentage is statistically significant.

One conversation at one party on one Saturday night can’t be proof – but it can be a pointer.

And what it points to is something corrosive and damaging, something that needs to be addressed. Something we should be talking about – not in private but in public.

And the police probably need to start the conversation. First by acknowledging there is an undercurrent of distrust in the community they serve. And second by conceding they’re aware of its cause.

Read the full column and start the conversation, not to bash the police but to rebuild trust in them.

No favours for MP


A friend was pulled up at a checkpoint this morning and noticed Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s vehicle stopped in front of him. The officer gave her no favours – which is how it should be – he not only got her to speak into the breathalyser he also checked the vehicle’s warrant of fitness and registration. Needless to say, she and the vehicle passed inspection.

Jacqui’s vehicle is hard to miss. It’s a four wheel drive which she needs to cope with the long distances and varied terrain she covers and the adverse weather she encounters when servicing her large electorate – all 34, 888 square kilometres of it.

The vehicle’s also blue and is emblazoned with her photo, but as her newsletter explains, not everyone gets the message:

Jacqui was completing a purchase in a shop when a friend drove her vehicle to the entrance. The photo on it is a good likeness of Jacqui but this obviously escaped the salesperson who was serving her because she turned to a colleague and asked why any woman would choose to have her photo on her car door.

He replied that perhaps it was because she needed help to find her vehicle in a crowded car park.

Brash requests Commission of Inquiry into email investigation


Don Brash has requested a Commission of Inquiry into the way the police handled the theft of his emails when he was Leader of the Opposition.

Dr Brash has proposed to the Prime Minister and Minister that the Commission inquire into and report upon the integrity of the police investigation into the theft, and their behaviour since publicly announcing the investigation was closed; and satisfy itself that the police acted at all times professionally and without political bias or interference. It could not and should not seek to reopen or reactivate the investigation into the theft itself as that could be seen to cut across the role of the police or the role of the courts in determining criminal or civil liability.

“This is not about Don Brash. There are important issues relating to every New Zealander’s privacy and the integrity of our political system that deserve resolution,” Dr Brash said.

“Everybody has a right to expect their correspondence will not be illegally intercepted or read by people it is not intended for. That includes private individuals but it also includes political parties, business groups, trade unions and NGOs, all of whom need a degree of privacy in planning and discussing their ideas and strategies.

“In a democracy, everyone therefore has an interest in being assured that the police take such issues seriously.”

The time taken to undertake the investigation,  the way it was conducted, delay in releasing information when it was requested and the extensive censoring of what was eventually released all raise questions which ought to be answered by an independent inquiry.

This isn’t about the content of the emails. It’s about the right for correspondence between people to remain private , be they private individuals or public figures and whether or not the police handled the investigation properly.

Keeping Stock  noted the contrast between the release of the email report and the release of a “large and graphic” file on the Tony Veitch investigation.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Kill the speed not the child – updated


A friend noticed a police car trailing a school bus on State Highway 1 recently, ticketing drivers who didn’t slow to 20 kms/hr which is the maximum for passing a school bus when it has stopped to pick up or let off children.

There’d have been rich pickings because although that’s the law, a lot of people don’t know it and it’s too easy for those who do to forget about it or simply not notice the buses.

Rural Women has been campaigning to raise awareness of the need to slow to 20 km/hr when passing stationary school buses.

“Now it’s time to act,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Margaret Chapman.  “We want to see 20km/h signs displayed on all school buses.  Too many people are either ignorant or this section of the Road Code, or simply ignore it.”

 RWNZ is also calling for flashing ‘wig wag’ lights to be installed on school buses, which would operate when the bus had stopped or is pulling away, alerting drivers that they are approaching a school bus.


The idea of flashing lights is a good idea because, although buses ought to be big enough to stand out, it’s too easy to approach them without realising they’ve stopped.

If you don’t realise the bus has stopped until you’re close to them it’s hard enough to slow to 20 kilometres when you’re in a 50 km/hr zone, it’s harder still on the open road when you’ve been doing 100 km/hr.

I was following a car last week when the driver jammed on the brakes, it was only after I’d slowed too that I noticed a school bus stopped on other side of the road.

A 12 year old boy was killed after getting off a school bus in Matamata on Friday. Nothing has been reported about the speed the car which hit him was travelling but the accident has prompted a warning from police about the need to slow down near school buses.

Rural Women’s slogan, kill the speed, not the child  is to the point, but until their suggestion of better signage and flashing lights on school buses is adopted, the message isn’t going to get through.

UPDATE: The Sunday Star Times (not on line) reprots that the bus had started driving off after the boy got off and had gone some distance.

Country rentals attracting crims


When jobs on farms and in farm servicing went in the 80’s ag-sag so did the people who’d done them, leaving empty houses.

The houses were offered for rental and the hard working people who’d been part of their communities  were sometimes replaced by people who moved to the country knowing they wouldn’t get work and who supplemented their benefits with criminal activity.

Otago police warn that this is happening again.

Const Tremain said criminals, or others, who wished to evade the attention of police for whatever reason typically targeted rural and semi-rural locations.

“The isolation and a smaller police presence are the main reasons, and they will take advantage of rural folks’ general good nature in order to get what they want.”

The shorter turnover of lifestyle properties has been exacerbated by dairying which has a high staff turnover so we don’t know our neighbours or our employees as we used to.  

We’ve had thefts of fuel and k-line irrigation pipes and a vehicle taken – but recovered – in the last couple of years and some calves went missing last spring.

Life out-satirises satire


The Dim Post  tops his blog with this quote from Juvenal 1:  It’s difficult not to write satire.

Not PC gave an irony alert  last week when he observed, You just can’t make this stuff up.. . when noting the headline Rubgy: Race rule may stop Maori playing Boks.

Now we have another example of life out-satirising satire with the story that police have had to change a test after one of the recruits got hold of it and circulated it to others.

And a special mention for stating the obvious to the spokesman who said:

. . .  it is disappointing applicants would think it is appropriate to join the police through dishonest practices.

If you tried to put that in a work of fiction you’d be told it was too far-fetched.

Good policing


Full marks to the police for the swift arrest  of a man who has been charged in relation to rape and theft from Dutch tourists who were sleeping in their car in Tuatapere.

Feds’ wish list pt 4


Federated Farmers’  election wish-list moves on to property rights from page 31:

* The maintenance of private property rights to be recognised in legislation.


* An amendment to the Resource Management Act requiring full market compensation for landowners if land use is restricted under the RMA.


* Enactment of a Regulatory Responsibility Act, requiring market compensation be payable where private property rights are taken or extinguished.


Private property rights are one of the foundation stones of democracy. If the greater good impinges on those rights then compensation must be paid.

Feds then moves on to security: 

* Recognition of the specific security issues and needs faced by rural communities by way of a Rural Police Strategy.


Then the need for improved rural-urban relations:

 * The establishment of an interdepartmental rural task force with Federated Farmers and other related groups, to develop practical solutions to build closer relations between town and country.

 * Financial support for Federated Farmers initiatives to improve urban and rural relations.


The rural-urban divide is widening but given the deficits we’re facing I don’t think supporting Feds in these initiatives is a priority for public funding.

Sustainability comes next and Feds wants: 

* A collaborative approach with the Federation to define economic and environmental considerations for New Zealand.


* Scientifically verified metrics for sustainability.


* The international effect of policies to support sustainability is assessed before adoption.


* The economic viability of farming given equal weighting to environmental factors in policy setting.


When people say sustainable it often just means environmental and forgets the economic and social legs of the sustainability. 


Feds then moves onto telecommunciations and wants:


* Funding the roll-out improved telecommunications services and broadband for all by way of fixed wire, satellite or wireless means.


Yes please.


Then trade:


* Conclusion of a comprehensive WTO Doha round that includes liberalisation of agricultural trade. 


* Negotiation of comprehensive and WTO consistent bilateral and plurilateral free trade pacts, which include liberalisation of agricultural trade.


* Elimination of New Zealand’s remaining tariffs on imported goods.


* New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade specifically tasked to combat misinformation on issues such as ‘food miles’ in overseas markets.


Growing food and fibre is just the start, we have to sell what we produce and the only fair trade is free trade.


Then transport:


 * Efficiency to be the primary determinant for transport funding decisions.


* Roading costs to be allocated so road charges are efficient and equitable by way of targeting actual commercial road users.


* The Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008 be amended to repeal provisions for regional fuel taxes.


* A significant reduction in the reliance of local authority rates to fund the maintenance of local roads by greater access to hypothecated funds.


* The Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008 be further amended to prevent cross subsidisation of other modes from hypothecated funds.


Main roads in the southern South Island are generally pretty good but the cost of maintaining local roads is already getting to great for rate payers.

More cops where it counts


John Key has announced that National will  increase front line police  numbers.

Only 210 (or 21%) of the 1,000 new sworn police recruited under the Labour-NZ First agreement have been posted to general frontline duties, and National wants to change that and deploy more to the front line.

“We will boost overall New Zealand police numbers so there is one officer for every 500 people, and we will keep this ratio as the population grows. This means training 600 extra police officers from January next year through to the end of 2011.

“National will ensure the tail-end of the current Government’s extra 1,000 police are frontline personnel, and we will top up the numbers with additional recruits each year. We estimate that will mean a total of 600 extra officers before the end of 2011, of which 220 will be in addition to previous commitments.

“People in South Auckland deserve a police force that is better able to respond to crime and whose visible presence deters crime.


The causes of crime are complex, but more police on the streets is important for crime prevention and for speedy action when a crime’s committed.

Did my ears deceive me?


I just heard someone on TVNZ say:

I’m always reluctant to criticise the police because I believe in upholding and supporting them?


Is this the same woman who left the police to go through a court case after they sped her from Waimate to Christchurch?

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