Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Those who enforce the law should also be subject to it

As we all know, the government is cracking down on drinking. Except, apparently, drinking by police. They will get to keep their total exemption from liquor licensing laws, despite their being no justification for it at all.

When asked about it, Police Minister Judith Collins said that she was "very comfortable with trusting police to run the police bars" and that they "run their bars very responsibly". Yeah, right:

n 1997, The Evening Post reported internal allegations that some officers had dealt out kickings to fellow officers during "jug sessions" in the Wellington Central police station bar.

Two senior investigators were among those that complained after drunk, aggressive officers punched and kicked colleagues as "punishment" during drinking games in the bar.

Police managers denied allegations of kicking, but three officers were given a warning for "pushing and shoving"


Boisterous jug sessions are still a part of police culture after shifts and are used by general duties staff to unwind from the rigours of the job and to help bond the team.

The sessions usually involve "punishing" officers for minor indiscretions by forcing them to down beer.

Plus of course there's the endless stories of police driving home drunk from their private bars - behaviour enabled by the fact that the bar doesn't lose its license for serving them.

The overall message this sends is one of rank hypocrisy: that those charged with enforcing the law consider themselves to be above it. I can think of nothing more likely to encourage general and widespread contempt for the law than that.