Friday, August 27, 2010

Safer Communities Together

Years ago, I heard a story.

A young, and new, constable was posted to Rotorua in the 1980s (yeah it's not a happy story). I don't know why he became a police officer, or what he wanted to do, or anything about him or his life. What I do know is his fellow police officerswould collect the names of single mothers - vulnerable women who would be home during the day alone - knock on the door in uniform and demand sex.

The young constable didn't like this, but he couldn't stop it, or maybe he just didn't know how to stop it, or wasn't prepared to do what it would have taken to stop it. But he couldn't be around these men, knowing what they did, and having to be an accomplice. So he left the police force.

Rape and abuse of power wasn't just something Rotorua police officers did in their off time? It was something that required structural support, and structural cover up. It required a widespread mentality that women didn't matter, and other police officers had a right to abuse them.

Dave Archibald was still operating under the 'bros before hoes' mentality when he used his position as police officer to get access to information in the hope it'd help his rapists mates.

Now he is in charge of training new police officers.

I'm reasonably clear that I don't think the police can be reformed, that I think the problems that come from the sort of power that they have are unavoidable, that their job, and the job of the criminal (in)justice system is to maintain the status quo not create safer communities together (see here).

But for those of you who have some faith in the police, who think the culture of rape and abuse is extinguisable, how is that going to happen? Maybe you think our young constable would have made a good constable, that he could have made a difference, but that difference he could have made was the reaosn he couldn't stay in the police force. Those who stayed, are those who could stomach, or turn a blind eye, to what was going on, they're the people who are training new police officers and choosing who gets promoted. How can you believe in reform?

No comments:

Post a Comment