This week Auckland City councillor Efeso Collins called out TV show Police Ten 7 and an ex-cop made what amounted to a water-tight case against the long-running series.
Former police officer Tim McKinnel turned whistleblower in a column for the Spinoff.
McKinnel says he wrote to police last year and asked for the agreement with Police Ten 7 producers Screentime and received a partially redacted copy of the 2019 contract.
In part, it read: "The Police will preview programme content before screening and the producer shall amend, edit the programme to accord with any concerns expressed by Police regarding issues of security, sensitivity, privacy and any other matters set out in this agreement."
The "any other matters" are later defined as "matters which may affect the integrity or legal liability of the Police or bring the Police into disrepute".
As McKinnel paraphrased, if there is anything that might make police look bad, they will leave it on the cutting room floor.
And then finally; "In the event of a dispute as to the content of a programme, the decision of the Police shall be binding on the producer."
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In short, the deal is the police must look great. For viewing's sake, the worse the others look, the better the fun. Other reality shows likely have similar caveats but this is the police, our protectors and guardians.
Collins says the so-called reality show depicts Māori and Pacific men as "brutish". He said a recent promotional trailer for the show, which was launched in 2002, was edited to prominently show "young brown people" and he wants it canned.
Some argue the focus on certain ethnicities reflects the proportion of offenders but that's not the point. Using a section of our community that has struggled to pick itself up from deprivation and misfortune to bemuse ourselves is shabby.
Even a casual glance at the show reveals what it is, impressive looking and sounding officers dealing with slurring and stumbling - as often as not, brown - hapless delinquents.
Using the unfortunate among us for the aggrandisement of those who already hold a power imbalance cheapens us. Surely, we're better than this?