TV3: Police may be disciplined for discounted food

17 May

Police Promo button on McDonald’s register (top right). The commissioner of police has now instructed staff not to accept discounts which “cheapens the standards of New Zealand police.”

Unite Union has written to McDonald’s seeking a reassurance that the company will no longer offer the discount to police officers.

TV3 Video:

By Rachel Tiffen, TV3 Reporter

The Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has threatened to discipline any staff who accept cheap hamburgers and fast food while they’re in uniform.

Police officers should pay full price or walk away if the food outlet insists they accept a discount, he says.

His instruction has come after 3 News revelations that police in uniform have been routinely accepting such perks.

A special button on McDonald’s tills gives police cheap burgers and it’s been getting a work-out.

Mr Marshall sent a letter to staff laying down the law about accepting discounts.

“It is totally inappropriate for a police officer in uniform to consider receiving discounted food from any outlet. In nearly 41 years of service I have never placed myself in that position, a position that cheapens the standing of New Zealand police,” the letter says.

Since the revelations were made 3 News has been contacted by a number of fast food workers about police accepting cheap or free food, not only burgers but pizzas, fried chicken, and sandwiches too.

“We should not receive a discount for simply doing our job. Retailers have clear motivation in offering such discounts – simply to attract law enforcement officers to their premises.”

The relationship between police and McDonald’s is long-standing. Many will remember an advertisement where non-sworn officer Ronald McDonald reminds viewers to “make it click”.

That deal ended six years ago, but the discount did not despite police back then vowing to stamp it out.

McDonald’s worker Siddhata Vyas says police officers normally come in to the restaurant during weekends and weekend mornings “because we’ve got quite a few drunk people so they come in and deal with that and then expect the free meal”.

And last night a former police officer wrote in saying she’d found it distasteful and unprofessional when former colleagues accepted what amounted to fast food backhanders. She said the restaurants, mainly McDonald’s, were equally to blame dishing out discounts to get free security.

The Police Commissioner says there’s no room for compromise by threatening to hold district commanders and supervisors to account.


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