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  • Police inquiry proposals shelved

    Work on implementing one of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct has been quietly shelved because of a lack of resources. The commission, headed by Dame Margaret Bazley, was set up in 2004 in response to allegations by Louise Nicholas of police rape and coverup.

    Its report was published in 2007, making 60 recommendations, including a revamped code of conduct and the recruitment of more women. twelve recommendations were also made regarding the Independent Police Conduct Authority, the body set up to investigate complaints.
    But almost six years on from the report, the recommendation aimed at ensuring those complaints are investigated properly has been canned. A briefing from the Ministry of Justice to Justice Minister Judith Collins, provided under the Official Information Act, reveals work on the recommendation requiring the ministry to review the secrecy provisions in the authority's legislation was stopped in July last year.

    The authority and its staff are required to maintain secrecy in all matters, and information cannot be used in criminal or disciplinary proceedings. Authority members cannot be called to give evidence. The recommendation demanded that the secrecy provision be reviewed to ensure it did not inappropriately prevent the authority from investigating complaints that may result in criminal or disciplinary proceedings against members of the police.

    In 2009 the work was put on hold because of "other Government priorities" and it was recommended it be stopped altogether. The main risk in discontinuing the work was an "adverse public perception" that the authority is ineffective and simply refers matters back to police, it said.

    "Although there is merit in undertaking further policy development on this issue, this is not a priority for the Government or agencies in the context of competing justice sector priorities." Ms Collins said the review of secrecy provisions had been discontinued to progress other justice sector priorities. "And the proof is in the pudding - New Zealanders continue to have high levels of trust and confidence in our police."

    She said it would be "most inappropriate" for her to ask the IPCA, an independent body, to speed up or slow down its inquiries. IPCA spokesman Andrew Baxter said each case was regularly reviewed to assess the impact it had, or may have, on criminal investigations as well as on judicial and coronial processes. Some investigation reports may be delayed because of ongoing criminal proceedings, such as its look into complaints stemming from the Urewera raids.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. teeny's Avatar
      teeny -
      Ho Hum ..... different day - same old bull*hit .....

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