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Yeah, but who are the criminals?

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, October 18th, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

I think I might have joined the dots in what it is that is causing me such unease about the arrival of Crime Stoppers.

Sure, there’s the whole ‘Big Brother’ thing as citizens are rewarded for anonymously spying on their neighbours, colleagues and team mates, that whole Stasi dimension it brings to our communities, but yet, with most things, I suspect it might be more use in this case to ‘follow the money’.

First, a quick history lesson. During the Roger Douglas privatisation blitzkreig there were huge fortunes to be made for those pulling the strings. The average punter and the tax base, of course, got creamed but those involved in looting DFC, the National Provident Fund, and Railways etc., were made for life. The double-entry book keeping at Treasury made it look like New Zealand was doing wonders, so much so that other countries wanted a piece of the action, little realising the neo-liberal scorched-Earth economics they were releasing.

Just across the ditch in the great state of Victoria, the wholesale distribution of its infrastructure to bankers, shareholders, foreign multinationals and anyone else with enough cash to get in on the act began in earnest. The raid was all over by 1992; $30 billion of assets sold and $10 billion of state government functions handed over to the private sector. It was the biggest privatisation programme of any region in the world. Needless to say, Victoria’s infrastructure is in the same parlous state as New Zealand rail.

Meanwhile, a few years later the New Zealand Police were suffering the fall out from another momentous cock-up when the Communications Centre sent a taxi to Onehunga instead of a police car to Piha to rescue Iraena Asher. Urgent action was required so the Government ordered a review.

So, who do you suppose:

was mates with Douglas, Prebble and the Business Roundtable

was intimately involved with DFC, the National Provident Fund, Brierly’s, Chase Corp & Co

was the State Government of Victoria’s Deputy Secretary of the Privatisation and Industry Reform Division of the Department of Treasury and Finance

was Chairman of the Advisory Board to Oversee Police Communications Centres

and is now Chair of the Board of Trustees of Crime Stoppers?

John Key’s mate Ashcroft owns Crime Stoppers UK where all New Zealand calls will be directed to ‘for the moment’, and one of its primary functions is to establish:

an Integrity Line service, which organisations and businesses can sign up to. It provides a safe way for employees to anonymously report crime or other types of undesirable behaviour, which will help provide transparency to shareholders, investors and taxpayers.

. . . and the service it is being brought to us courtesy of, among others, Chapman Tripp, Ernst and Young, Gen-i, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Quantum, TelstraClear and Western Union.

I’m surprised not to see Intergraph amongst the generous foreign corporates.


13 comments on “Yeah, but who are the criminals? ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    This may sound like I’m disputing your underlying argument, BLiP, but I’m not.

    However I would point out that while you’re entirely correct that Victoria is a basket case after privatisation, NSW is a basket case without it, and indeed any attempt to privatise public assets there has met with such strong opposition that major political heads have rolled when it’s been tried (both Premier Iemma and Minister della Bosca have exited the scene since being the most recent pollies to try it).

    So while I think you’re essentially correct in your analysis — especially of the NZ situation — the parlous state of NSW’s and Victoria’s economies is due as much to a succession of utterly incompetent State governments (all Labor, I note for the record) as to any privatisation, or lack thereof.

    • BLiP 1.1

      My underlying argument is that Crime Stoppers is the beach-head in the privatisation, or introduction of competition to the New Zealand police force.

  2. Greg 2

    Mate. Personal attacks don’t hold a huge amount of weight when you fail to even address the policy. What is wrong with a concept that has by all accounts been extremely successful at solving crime?

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.1

      According to an evaluation by the Australian Institute of Criminology (an arm of the Australian Federal government) “incoming calls are not categorised” (into new information, nusiance calls etc) and nuisance calls are only enterred into the database “because of the persistence of a particular serial nuisance caller against whom evidence was being gathered” so one-off false and malicious dob-ins aren’t noted either.

      Nonetheless the full report (4.62Mb pdf) makes interesting reading, as they’ve followed over 19,000 reports which were entered, uncategoried, into the “Cypher” system Crimestoppers uses.

      And the outcomes are fascinating. In notoriously rednecked WA there are 100 calls per head of population, in Victoria — supposedly a centre of “Underbelly” type organised crime where one would think the potential for anonymous tipsters would be greater — the figure is half that.

      The study estimates that nationally, one positive outcome (which can range from “intelligence filed for future reference” to an arrest) for every 11 people reported, meaning 10 innocent people are subject to some form of investigation and perhaps intrusion into their lives when they are doing no wrong (or perhaps that police are ignoring tip-offs about people whom they’re protecting… who knows? In fact police provided no feedback at all for 31% of the calls that were passed to them)

      In all, the proportion of calls that the study classifies as in some way leading to an outcome such as an arrest is 1.9%. The government study calls this “worthwhile” and “successful”. Perhaps you do too.

      But that’s entirely a matter of opinion. Mine, and I suspect BLiP’s, differs.

    • BLiP 2.2

      It hasn’t been that successful at solving crime at all. It is, in essense, the privatisation of information that previously was the sole domain of the police. For all my criticism of the police, I believe it is better in a democratic society that the citizenry are encouraged to nark to the government and not to foreign-owned corporations.

      Have you heard of ADT?

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.2.1

        Don’t move to WA then. The government recently sold car registration and personal information to privately-owned Wilson Parking (so Wilsons could try and launch private prosecutions after failing to con enough people into believing they were a prosecuting authority), then lied and said it hadn’t, then set up an inquiry that blamed “error” by a single public servant and drove him into unemployability by leaking his name.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Writing an article that shows one persons involvement in a series of private sector money grabs off the state is not a personal attack, calling you a dick head now that would be a personal attack.

  4. This “dial and dob’ stuff turns my stomach. The *555 traffic cop number is occasionally of genuine public safety use but ‘Crime Stoppers’ just so fits the curtain twitching junior stasi approach beloved of certain people. Those people being the insecure and the selfish, types that also love beneficiary bashing.

    As BLiP points to, ‘Crime stoppers’ will not deal with the real crimes in New Zealand, banks who tax rort, exploitative employers, politicians that cut education spending that type of thing.

    Imagine phoning the pommie call centre”hello, I would like to report a case of strip mining on conservation land’ Total bollocks.

  5. sean14 5

    How are people who call crimestoppers to be rewarded?

    • BLiP 5.1

      Its standard practise in the UK to pay rewards. Same thing is likely to happen here. You can tell Ashcroft’s priorities: he offered $200,000 for the return of a bunch of medals but information regarding a human being was worth $50,000. What a guy.

      • gitmo 5.1.1

        Interesting I see in the UK they pay cash rewards of up to £1,000 if the information yleads to one or more people being arrested and charged.

        But don’t pay rewards simply for the recovery of stolen property, and according to the site only 2% of people eligible to claim a reward actually do.

  6. Fascinating,

    I didn’t realise the calls were directed to the call centre in England.
    Oh Yuk, this soo stinks.

    Lord Aschroft (Carlyle group, only first 47 seconds in Dutch the rest in English) buying a good reputation while he is setting NZ up for a big looting is revolting. NWO he we come.

    And Rex,

    Thanks for the PDF. Interesting reading indeed.

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