Sunday, October 16, 2005

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson to Step Down

Not before time, Rob Robinson has reported he will step down from his post at the head of the NZ Police. In a reign that history is unlikely to treat favourably Robinson has failed to reform the Police to either meet the expectations of the population or provide standards of service expected of a modern police force. It would appear he has never stood up to either his Minister or to the Finance Minister and told them he cannot meet the expectations of the population or his staff with the resources he is being provided with.

Racked with many scandals, from failing to recommend fraud charges on the PM for Paintergate, prosecuting Shane Ardern for a minor infringement at Parliament, the Iraena Asher disaster, the police porn probe, an apparent focus on traffic revenue over criminal prosecution, his tenure has often been found wanting.

Robinson came to the job after having the opportunity to knife his boss following Clark's direct intervention through the media with the then Commissioner (Peter Doone) in what became known as Doonegate - well covered at Sir Humphrey's.

Robinson's retirement is a fantastic opportunity to begin the fundamental restructuring of the Police and how they operate. What is needed is a civilian CEO to head the organisation - the conflict between operational needs, funding and the agreeing and delivering the organisation's mission cannot be solved by having a uniformed long serving officer at the head. It is time for renewal.

By way of example and as an aside Robinson was posted to Rotorua/Murupara during the time of the alleged rapes with the Nicholson woman. Whether he knew what was going on is immaterial - and of course the presumption is he had no knowledge - New Zealand is too small a place for there to be any doubt that everything is above board as regards the Police.

Anyone achieving the Commissioner rank in New Zealand from within the force knows 'where all the bodies are'- that is not healthy. Too much opportunity for compromise.

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