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Call for Dame Margaret Bazley to Assume Police Leadership

Media Release: Call for Dame Margaret Bazley to Assume Police Leadership

In its latest newsletter, Rethinking Crime and Punishment has called for a civilian to be appointed as the next Police Commissioner, and suggests that if someone like Dame Margaret Bazley, were appointed, it could prove the moral leadership necessary to restore public confidence in the Police.

“A recent Ministry of Justice survey showed that on the questions related to public confidence in the Police,  40 – 50% failed to express full confidence in the Police. ” said spokesperson Kim Workman.    On a number of occasions recently, Police leadership has failed to exercise moral leadership.  They have failed to accept responsibility for their actions, and apologies, signs of contrition, or acknowledgement of the wider community and social harm they have caused by their actions, have been withheld.”

“The time has come to make an external appointment.  There is a precedent.  In 1955, Commissioner Compton resigned  amidst allegations of ‘payback’ from bookmakers, lax enforcement of licensing laws, illegal wiretapping, the use of Police labour for private advantage, and breaches of security legislation.  The government ,  realizing that a culture change was necessary, appointed a civilian, Controller General Sam Barnett, to run the Police Force. 

“I joined the Police in 1958, three years later.  The  culture change effected by Barnett was in full swing.  Under new and inspiring leadership, Police officers and educationalists  restructured Police training, and introduced a curricula which was directed not only to teach the law and practice of policing, but challenge young minds to discuss and understand the ethical and moral boundaries of policing, the importance of behaving with integrity, and of discharging their duties
without   ‘fear or favour, malice or ill will’. 

The Police leadership exercised zero tolerance toward dishonesty or bad behaviour. We knew that in contrast to Police behaviour during Compton’s reign, we were part of a significant culture change; it was a time of moral renewal. This approach effectively disrupted a culture which had over time, become corrupt. An essential part of that corruption was a lack of accountability to the public – and the false idea within the Police that they were somehow ‘untouchable’. 

What is now needed is a Police leader who will not tolerate moral weakness, and who is prepared for Police leadership to ‘be accountable’ in the full sense of the word. Someone of the calibre of Dame Margaret Bazley comes to mind. Someone who is prepared to insist on a change of culture, and a new standard for the Police.

Reference:  http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Print_Newsletters/Issue_114.pdf


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