Concern over police freebies longstanding

15 May

In 2007 the national police HQ said they were trying to get McDonald’s to end their policy of giving free or discounted food to police staff.

The February 11 NZ Herald reports:

"Fast food restaurants give hefty discounts to police officers to encourage their presence in outlets as a form of cheap security.

"The practice has been condemned by police national headquarters which has attempted to stop it, but says it has failed because officers want the discounted food.

"Greg O’Connor, president of the Police Association, conceded it was cut-price security for the American fast food chains. ‘The reason they do it, particularly in the case of McDonald’s, is to encourage police officers to be around for security.’

"Police had been ‘in negotiations’ with the chains to ‘try and stop them from doing it’.

"Internal police regulations clearly state that sworn police staff are not allowed to accept ‘a discount on any goods or services where that discount is offered because that person is a member of police.

"The national manager of professional standards, Superintendent Stu Wildon, said he would be alerting all district commanders to the policy and demanding greater enforcement. He said he was unaware of the prevalence of fast food discounts for police, and feared the publicity would cause damage to the force’s reputation.

"’The soliciting and receipt of gratuities and rewards certainly is perceived by some as corruption and that is one of the reasons we need to be pro-active in managing and investigating it,’ Wildon said.

"He said it was important to note that officers are not negotiating the discounts but that they are offered to police by businesses. Police rules say officers are allowed to receive calendars, diaries and notebooks, pens, ties, cufflinks, hats, badges, paperweights and ‘other items of little intrinsic value’.

"Former police officer and current police spokesperson for National, Chester Burrows, has called for the end to special police discounts on any product or service.

"’The idea of getting cheap anything because you are in a police uniform is just not on these days… these deals aren’t offered for anything other than expectation that when they press the button that police will turn up,’ Burrows said."

Clearly the police "negotiations" with the fast food giants failed. It makes you wonder who is in charge of the NZ Police.


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