Tue, 09 Nov 2004

Stoned on Duty

As much as the title of this entry seems intriguing, I'm sorry, it's just a book title. I wouldn't normally do a book review type thing, but this is a rare case where I've read something that deserves to be mentioned.

Anyway, Stoned on Duty is a book about the escapades of a New Zealand undercover Police officer by the name of Peter Williamson, and how what he did in his job helped to bring down a large portion of the Coromandel marijuana scene. It also goes on to explain how he coped (or not) with drug addiction after returning to uniformed duty. Both he and his wife became heavy marijuana users (she was an undercover officer too), and continued to be so after returning to uniformed duty, where they grew apart, seperated, and generally ran completely off the rails.

There's a really good bit about how he was on duty in a smaller city south of here, where he'd collected a teenage vandal from a bottle store, and placed him in the holding cell, but not locked the door - It was a new lock, and he hadn't learnt the trick to locking it yet. Suffice to say, the teenager managed to leave the Police station, and go home. Peter's reaction was purely one of "Oh well, I really don't give a fuck". He sorted out the problem privately with the store owner and the teenager to avoid having to tell his boss about what had happened (Small town, he knew who the teenager was, and where he lived).

The book itself is not about a sob story of this Police officer, but more about attempting to draw attention to how the Brass in the force never acknowledged that its undercover agents were becoming drug addicts, and basically didn't want to have to deal with the problems this entails (officers committing purjury to convict a criminal. "No your honour, I was simulating smoking the drug when this took place" - How can the jury believe an officer that was stoned?). The official line was that the force did not condone actual use of drugs in an undercover operation, but those at the coal face knew that if they didn't, they'd be picked as cops PDQ.

Peter has his life back on track now. He left the force in 1990 on recommendation of his doctor and psychiatrist (or psychologist, I forget), since he was a danger to himself, other police officers, and the public with his drug use. After fighting for compensation, and making some publicity about the problem, he's moved on to other things... And, he actually lives in the same city as me, and is a good friend of one of my workmates.

Now there's a reason that I was loaned this book to read, but I'll let you speculate...

[23:05] [/Random] [permanent link]