The core construct of policing is by consent of and with the support of the community. It’s reflected throughout our various value statements, stated key deliverables, and our daily ethos. To be part of the community an organization must reflect that community throughout its own structure. Too often we hear the best person for the job should not be based on colour or gender but skills. But when thinking holistically and practically, the definition of the best person for the job should not default to an outdated interpretation of what a skills match actually is. In a multicultural society, the best person for the job is one with a level of work knowledge, alongside an understanding of how it relates or should relate to the society we operate in. I was recently outraged(temporarily) by a statement from a politician who said that the problem with the world is it has too many old middle-classed white men in charge ( or words similar). But on reflection the statement while brutal has merit and is a contributor to the lack of progress we face in key social areas in society. It makes sense that if I want my business to succeed I want to know what my customer base wants, their experiences and their reactions, from someone that has been there. The same decision making applies in the current environment, last on first off is an outdated expression, in today’s world its who brings that diversity I need for my business to succeed

Recently we have seen evidence of leadership both in New Zealand and overseas that have failed to grasp this key concept required for success in the modern world. Recent incidents overseas have shown how easy it is to lose the support of the community with a lack of understanding of diversity and empathy for others. Closer to home concern expressed by community groups around armed response team trials also shows the need to ensure those that will be most affected by change know they are part of the decision making process.  There is no argument that a discussion is well overdue. Over recent years the New Zealand Police has worked hard to successfully increase diversity and the conversation around it across all segments of the business. Those Leaders that will be tasked with progressing the discussions and associated changes going forward need to have the diverse nature of our society at the forefront. Time for an honest conversation about what true diversity is. Food for thought?


Disclaimer: This article was prepared by Rob Lindsay ( an older middle-class white male) as a personal opinion piece and does not reflect the views of the New Zealand Police Leaders’ Guild or the New Zealand Police.