Tuesday, 22 June 2010

follow up

following up on this post i did last week about police advice to south asians to avoid having flags outside their homes etc, my local ethnic liaison officer has continued to be in contact with me. he has provided me with the press release which i've copied in full below. make of it what you will. i'm not sure if i'll follow up any further with this - feeling a little low on energy just now.

Counties-Manukau District Police: South-East Asian Advisory Board

Media Release: Positive advice misinterpreted

A discussion took place in the South East Asian Advisory Board meeting on disproportionate number of South Asian/Indian houses being burgled.

Amongst the causes identified as contributing to this spate of burglaries was the common perception that South Asians/Indians keep cash and jewelry at home; that South Asians/Indians are lax in securing their homes against burglary, hence easy prey.

During the discussion on what steps need to be taken to discourage targeting South Asian/Indian homes it was suggested that the religio-cultural flags that a section of Indo-Fijians flies in their lawns, may be announcing to the burglars that this house has money and jewelry, and the community may be asked to look at the option of not flying these flags so that the burglars do not have an easy identification of potential targets.

The statement around Indian festivals also sought to make the point that during celebrations, burglars may target Indian homes under the impression that people will be at advertised celebrations.

It was never the intention of the advisory issued by South East Asian Liaison Officer, Gurpreet Arora, to tell people what they can and cannot do. Intention was simply to identify some steps that people and communities can take to make their homes less vulnerable to burglaries.
It, of course, follows that if the South Asians/Indians start moving their cash and jewelry to bank vaults or in safes at home or put security alarms at home, burglars will gradually move away from these easy targets.

South East Asian Advisory Board feels that the language used in the advisory may have contributed to mis-interpretation of the suggestions, but the intention behind the advisory must be lauded by all as it only seeks to insulate South Asian/Indian communities against burglars.

The Board also believes that even though much of the discussion is negatively tinged, the advisory has been able to make people look at this issue and seek solutions to mitigate this problem, as putting an end to all burglaries may never be possible.

The Board hopes that the public discussion will now move to discussing concrete steps that people can take to make their homes less vulnerable to burglaries.

On behalf of Counties-Manukau District Police's South-East Asian Advisory Board

Board members: Verpal Singh, Ranjna Patel, Liaqat Waraich, Shabbir Wasiuallah, Venkat Raman, Manjula Walgampola and Moses Singh.


Anonymous said...

PRICELESS!!! Is that the same Verpal Singh on the police South East Asian Advisory Board who complained (as a rep of the local Sikh Society) about Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club not showing tolerance for religious & cultural symbols (ie letting Kernal Singh wear a turban in the club)?

Hilarious. So, the same guy who demands respect for religious symbols like the turban, suggests other people's religious symbols be put away... for their own good of course!

Can anyone spell the H word? Sounds like the cops need better liason stories...

McFlock said...

Did their list of handy anti-burglary tips include deadbolts, motion-detector lights, remote-monitored alarms and a neighbourhood watch scheme? Or even looking for business sponsorship to install free security lights (and you might as well throw smoke alarms in as well) around the latest burglary hot-spot?

Or was it all along the lines of "don't fly a flag"?

stargazer said...

actually i know verpal, and he's a great guy. also know venkat. i see this as more of a "groupthink" type thing, that reflects the current culture of the police force.

mcflock, this is what i got from my local ethnic liason officer, which might address your question, or maybe not:

As I understand it, Gurpreet used the (almost) standard police safety advice and explanations given to any group during festive occasions eg: at Christmas time burglars look for clues that there may be good pickings - from discarded electronic equipment boxes in rubbish piles, to Christmas trees with presents under them visible from the street when no one is home, etc.

His intention was to highlight the element of risk in the overt signs and symbols used to recognise such occasions, which to the more astute burglar could advertise possible goods to steal, rather than to suggest a concealment of who you were or where you were from.

Knowing how proud he is of his own heritage, Gurpreet would be the last person to suggest anyone else should hide theirs.
I do know it has caused him some considerable grief that his message was misrepresented in the way it was.

McFlock said...

answered it quite nicely, thanks :)

Everybody makes the occasional PR faux pas (as in meaning one thing and not realising the context for other people, or the perceived emphasis).
It's nice to know that this one isn't in the same league as one or two other clangers in fairly recent memory - myself included...