Privatised police are a bad bad idea
When Helen Clark appointed Annette King as Minister of Police, I was reasonably relieved - as I thought she would be unable to do much damage in this portfolio.
It appears I was wrong.
King now says she is willing to discuss the introduction of private police, using private contractors to do police work.
While advocacy of part-privatisation may be surprising from a "Labour" minister, it has got to be remembered that King is on the right of Labour's caucus, and was close to Roger Douglas during the forth Labour Government.
The proposal has been slammed by Police Association President Greg O'Connor, who quite rightly points out that merely using private contractors is "not going to make things any cheaper". Any extra police are "still going to have to be paid for". Using private people is "not going to solve anything."
There could be significant issues regarding conflicts of interest, especially where 'police' could be conceivably in the pay of somebody else at the same time they are undertaking investigative work. They also might be concerned where their next pay check is coming from after they finish their current 'police' contract.
New Zealand's lax accounting requirements allow a company to appoint the same accounting firm to be both its auditor and its tax/accounting policy adviser. The auditors end up auditing their own work. While it may be claimed there are 'chinese walls' within the auditing firm to prevent information being passed within these two functions, they leave open the perception of compromise.
Now imagine the same accounting firm is employed as a police private contractor in a fraud case. Even the presence of 'the great wall of China' could not prevent perceptions they could have a vested interest in favour of finding 'not enough evidence to prosecute'
Categories: New Zealand, Politics, Privatisation, Labour, Police