Police officers are being stationed inside ten South Auckland schools.
From March, five officers will each spend 30 hours a week in the secondary schools, and another five staff will join them later.
Manukau City Councilor Daniel Newman says the aim is to cut crime outside of school, to draw children away from gangs, and to gather information on suspects.
Minister of Police Annette King claims the project will help young people regain confidence in the police. The Minister has yet to win the confidence of the professionals currently responsible for those young people.
Auckland Post Primary Principals’ Association regional chair Gerald van Waardenberg teaches at Otahuhu college, one of the schools which will have a police officer. He said there has been no consultation, and was surprised at the news.
“It’s in no way clear what kind of a role the police will have within the school, whether they’ll be approaching students directly, what the police will actually be doing.”
Mr van Waardenberg says the community may also be unhappy about a police officer being stationed at the school.
Youth law senior solicitor John Hancock says youth rights could be breached if law enforcement was one of the scheme’s intentions.
Long serving schoolteacher and Quality Public Education Coalition national chairman John Minto called for the proposal to be abandoned. “Schools are educational institutions and are not there to provide captive audiences to encourage children to inform on their friends and families,” he said.
The proposal is not likely to be abandoned without a determined, concerted protest, and at the moment that doesn’t look likely. Libertarians fond of railing against “nanny state” tend to fall silent when the state’s police take centre stage. And the left has yet to realise the connections between the “terror” raids and the school-based bobby keeping an eye on little Johnny.
Like Labour’s heavy-handed anti-graffiti laws, the cops-in-schools imposition will do nothing to better the lot of poor-area working class youth. Nor is it really intended to. The basic function of police in a capitalist society is the enforceable protection of private property As this country’s gap between rich and poor grows wider, a sizable section of the poorer population is written off by the authorities.
Putting more teachers in schools would be a positive move.
Replacing extra teachers with cops is a punitive measure that can only increase the anger and bitterness of miscreants that capitalist deprivation has shaped.