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Options For Fishery Officers To Become Political

Sunday 7 August 2005

Defensive Options For Fishery Officers To Become Political

“The Union representing Fishery Officers is tired of waiting for the Labour Cabinet to give an answer on whether they will be allowed to carry retractable batons and pepper spray to extricate themselves from danger,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

He was commenting on the lack of a response from a Cabinet Committee which promised to reply by last Christmas. “Every day the decision is delayed, Fishery Officers put their lives on the line without the ability to withdraw from dangerous situations.”

“The Ministry of Fisheries is asking Officers to handle the risk in the meantime by better communications systems, more use of the Police and Fishery Officers always getting round in pairs,” said Martin Cooney.

“Fishery Officers ask how being able to ring someone in a Wellington call centre to say they are being attacked on an isolated beach will help them remove themselves from the situation safely. And the Police are far too busy with their other work to continually travel with Fishery Officers.”

“While getting round in pairs is sensible for some planned operations, increasing attacks are occurring in what were previously routine operations. Locals say that areas up the east Coast of the North Island are so dangerous even the Rottweilers are getting round in pairs!” said Martin Cooney.

“Other political parties are now to be asked for their policy on whether they will be allowed to carry batons and pepper spray,” said Martin Cooney.


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