Letter to Unite from Police Commissioner

22 May

Unite has received a response from the Commissioner of Police regarding the discounts at McDonald’s and his desire to have the company end them. He explains they have been trying to do so for some years. I also wrote to the company and asked them to make it clear to all managers and franchisees that the discount will end. I got the following reply from Lauren Voyce, McDonald’s Director of HR and Talent denying they have a policy to do give discounts!

"We informed you on the 14th May that we don’t have a policy on providing discounted meals to emergency services. I can confirm that our McOpCo stores do not provide a discount, and to my knowledge, this has been the case for several years. While we don’t have a ‘policy’ for individual franchisees, as you are aware, McOpCo standards often serve as the benchmark for our franchisees."

This response from the company was a denial of reality given everyone is New Zealand is now aware that the discounts were routinely offered at both McCopco stores and franchisee owned stores. It is also clear from media reports that McDonald’s ignored requests from the police to stop it in 2002 and 2007.

I hope she is clearer in her response to the Commissioner of Police. He deserves support from McDonald’s for what he is trying to achieve not denial and obfuscation

Mike Treen
Unite National Director

FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

Dear Mr Treen

I acknowledge receipt of your faxed letter to my office dated 16 May and I wish to draw to your attention my recent communication with all staff about the inappropriateness of Police Officers receiving discount food at takeaway establishments. The advice is self-explanatory and hopefully needs no further elaboration.

I am advised that Police have previously written to McDonalds Head Office, asking that the practice be stopped. It is also my advice that McDonalds replied to the effect that this was their international policy in relation to emergency services and they would not be altering their stance in that regard. We plan to again communicate with McDonalds, outlining what the New Zealand Police policy is. Whether they abide by our request to stop giving subsidised food to Police Officers is something that we have little control over, suffice to say I have put the onus back on our members.

I hope this is of some assistance to you. Please do not hesitate to contact Police National Headquarters if any matter requires clarification or elaboration.

Yours sincerely

Peter Marshall MNZM
Commissioner of Police

DISCOUNTED TAKE-AWAY FOOD

There has been recent publicity about police officers accepting discounted take-away food, notably from such retail outlets as McDonalds and Subway.

Policy in relation to receiving gratuities or benefits should be well known and understood. Our policy states: "Police employees must not accept gifts offered for simply doing a good job".

Police may accept discounts on goods and services negotiated through a separate group, such as the Police Association. However such arrangements are clearly based on the condition that no Police ID card is produced and no member is in uniform. A Police Association membership card is also to be produced.

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. When I was offered such discounts I insisted on paying full price. I expect nothing less from staff.

If you are standing at a counter in uniform and you are heard and seen to get a discount – what sort of message does that give to the public?

We should not receive a discount for simply doing our job. Retailers have a clear motivation in offering such discounts – simply to attract law enforcement officers to their premises. Some food outlets will state it is their international policy to give discounts to emergency services personnel, and insist on doing so. I don’t care. New Zealand Police officers should pay full price or walk away – it is as simple as that.

This is not an area for compromise. Our reputation is too important.

I trust all staff will understand and agree with the reasons for our policy. Having said that, I will be holding District Commanders and supervisors to account in this regard and there will be Code of Conduct inquiries should transgressions come to light.

Peter Marshall MNZM
Commissioner of Police

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