Author: Bibby, Claire1
Published in National Security Journal, 05 April 2021
Focus group findings
Focus groups were held with the International Security Group (ISG) in NZ Police, who have responsibility for implementing the NZ National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The first part of the focus group discussion establishes what the participants know of the plan and how it influences their work. The participants were asked how the plan is communicated and who the key players are. A further question was designed to identify impediments to delivering the plan, or pathways of greater or lesser resistance to delivering it, as these may identify areas for improved communication. The second part of the research establishes how imagery (visual representation) is used, or could be used, as a method of communicating the plan.
The women in ISG were well-informed of the NZ National Action Plan, listing 29 facts about it. They were aware that NZ Police is responsible for implementing 11 actions across the four pillars of prevention, protection, peace-building and relief and recovery and that MFAT report annually to Government on implementation. The women knew that aspects of the plan are to be incorporated throughout the ISG programme and this includes a broader approach of the ISG toward gender. The women described this as “putting the gender perspective” across the programme and being “gender supportive.” In their view, this includes encouraging women to deploy internationally and increasing the number of women deploying in senior roles and leadership roles. It also means including women in decision making in the countries NZ Police are operating in. The women discussed actions in the plan, such as pre-deployment training about the plan, sharing lessons learned, sharing good practice internationally and advocating at international fora. They were concerned that the plan wasn’t being properly implemented and integrated within Police. One woman explained it by saying “Make it a real part of business as usual, not just ticking the box.”
The men’s knowledge about the plan was mixed. One had good understanding, two said they knew “nil” about it and a third said he did not know a great deal, however, he is aware that it is important to NZ Police and that it increased acceptance of the work that women carried out in the organisation. Regardless, all the men were strongly aware that the ISG are reviewing their overseas deployment policies and identifying and over- coming barriers to women applying for roles, including leadership roles, overseas. The Pitcairn Island programme was provided as an example of a revised appointment policy to achieve a balance of gender on deployment.3
3 Previously the police officer had to be accompanied by their partner, husband or wife. The new appointment policy enables a constable and accompanying person to deploy. The accompanying person can be a friend or relation. This means that the applicant does not have to be in a relationship or, if the applicant is in a relationship, one of the partners can stay in New Zealand working, or to enable their children’s schooling to remain uninterrupted.