The policewoman Inspector on RNZ this morning has that police officer's unshakeable confidence in their calling and their organisation. This is despite her just having gone through the many inadequacies of the organisation. She had the optimism of a fanatic - and the words to describe her love - police culture. 'Policing is a privilege', she said. 'You take an oath and you do the right thing', she intoned - as she must have a hundred times at police college no doubt. The police do believe they are privileged, they believe they are always right no matter what motive they act on or what harm they cause, and that is precisely the root of all misconduct and failures in the NZ Police.
This pervasive police thinking - or assumption in the context of their arrrogance - that they are effectively beyond or above the law because they are the police and carry some assumed unquestionable trust allowing them to bend it on occasion, has only been reinforced by the law-makers response to each illegality and failure of the NZ Police. The government just passes another bill through parliament to make their unlawful breaches lawful and everything carries on as if they were right all along. To a policeman this is the same sort of sweeping under the mat performed for them by school authorities whenever they fucked up and jeopardised the First XV. The establishment exonerated and emboldened their uniformed thuggery at school and they do so when they migrate to the police force as the over-seer class in the colony. The recent eulogising by the top brass of rogue detectives who did more planting in their career than Eion Scarrow is yet more evidence that dodgy practices are condoned and excused at the highest levels. That is the vaunted police culture for you. Hypocritical and out out of control. There is just a Commissioner and the Ministers with the NZ Police set up remember, there is no board, there is no effective independent oversight of this organistation. The PM appoints the Commissioner and deputies, so it is a closed loop. If that is not the makings - if not the definition - of a police state then what is?
The list of validating legislation to stop prosecutions and judicial actions against police in NZ is a long one. The looting, arson, rapes and massacres ol past police assaults and invasions, when the war they waged against Maori was more overt, is on a continuum with yesterday's whitewash report from the mis-named Independent Police Conduct Authority on the Urewera 'Operation 8' show trial.
Once agiain the NZ government's tactics when dealing with Maori at least are predictable: deny illegality and claim everything is done in good faith, delay the reports to take the heat out and in the meantime pass laws to make the illegality go away. And they will still claim no fault and offer half an apology because the geriatric ciphers like Neazor at the GCSB and Carruthers at the IPCA see there roles as supporting the agencies on behalf of the government, not scrutinising the agencies on behalf of the public. Yes, there was criticism in the IPCA report, but where is the disbelief that the photographing of the villagers in and out of Ruatoki and Taneatua was supposedly spontaneous. Where is the recommendations that heads roll? There are none, and none forthcoming from the police themselves either, naturally. So, things just went wrong and... No-one is to blame. The reason they didn't tell the local Maori cops or any Maori in any position was because the white establishment does not trust any Maori. That won't change through any revision of written protocols.
And the cops, fresh from a dose of Brute and an earful of ZB to wash off the media liberals, can dish themselves out some medals for their bravery... And the NZ Herald can write editorials like masked police terrorising villages and pointing guns at children and illegal detentions along with the illegal spying that all amounted to a hysterical, anti-climactical Crown show trial in Auckland like every other Crown invasion in the East Coast has done, and Granny Herald thinks... its now just some historical footnote. That it is somehow a lesson already learned. Nothing more than apologists.
How Kruger and the Tuhoe negotiators could do a deal with the Crown whilst the people with any balls in their community were locked up for the spurious crime of misusing guns is a mystery. They were locked up because they represent self-determination (and a capacity to defend themselves) of Maori and in particular Tuhoe. How could those Tuhoe negotiators put in the details of Rua Kenena's arrest and the killings and invasion by police and subsequent show trial in Auckland and yet they leave out the 2007 police invasion, arrests and subsequent show trial in Auckland? Everyone seems to be lauding Kruger for the deal, but on the ground elements of Tuhoe, and their neighbours, are deeply unhappy about the settlement terms.
The NZ Police may have lost their right - or privilege - to police the Urewera by there misdeeds in 2007, but they never had that right - or privilege - to begin with. The NZ Police came as invaders and occupiers, sent by the government in Wellington in 1865. Parliament passed the Outlying Police Districts Act to do it in the Eastern BoP. The armed constabulary remained, paid by the government until 1882 as subsidised colonisation on the confiscated land. They were established as an occupation force in those areas. The NZ Police exhibit a colonial mentality and are not capable of serving those communities. There never was any trust. How could there be between oppressor and oppressed?
The communities would be better off with their own ability to set priorities and their relationship with the NZ Police. Policing needs local accountability too, not just setting up a committee in Wellington and pretending we should all move along because there is nothing to see here.