The IPCA report released today provides clear evidence that corruption within the senior ranks of the New Zealand Police Force is alive and well.
The report on the investigation into complaints about Police closure of a party at 70 Homebush Road, Khandallah, on 5 September 2009 is a clear indication that the police believe they do not have to abide by the law. It contains a long list of shameful and unlawful police activity.
However, nothing will change within the police code of silence/brotherhood culture until complaints against the police are independently investigated by an Integrity Commission with the powers to prosecute.
Until then the police will continue thumbing their noses and doing what they have been doing. A commission of enquiry by Dame Margaret Bazley in 2007 made 47 recommendations of change to the Police. According to the Deputy Auditor-General’s third monitoring report of October 2012, “Despite the dedicated efforts of many individuals within the Police, significant leadership challenges still exist and most of the Commission’s recommendations are still to be completed.”
For the ordinary person in the street this behaviour means there is an ongoing lack of respect and trust in the police and this is very serious for society in general. What happens when these young people see a front line cop getting beaten up? Will they do nothing and just stand there and watch?
What happens when these young people get called as jurors? Will they do the right thing and convict a clearly guilty villain, or will they be so deeply suspicious of the police uniform that criminals will walk free?
This is the impact of corrupt police practices, creating a need for the police to become more extreme in their policing methods and more closed rank and secretive in the way they enforce the law.
It is ironic that we pass a law preventing parents from smacking their kids, but young police officers are able to dish out a good hiding to young people with their batons. If we can’t trust police with their batons, how could we possibly trust them when carrying firearms as a matter of course?
A few years ago police ran an advertising campaign saying “don’t take the law into your own hands”. These young people called for help and were betrayed by the police, who turned on them and beat them up.
On every count the IPCA found serious fault with the way the police behaved and the way they investigated themselves. But the consequence for the police is totally inadequate. A recommendation to investigate a change in policy on the way police should handle these situations and training so it is properly implemented.
In a Radio NZ interview in October last year IPCA chairman Sir David Carruthers floated the idea of the IPCA being given powers to prosecute.
But 10 months later he was reported in Your Weekend Magazine of the DominionPost saying he didn’t want the IPCA to have the powers to arrest and prosecute, as they do in England “because some police forces around the world are simply not co-operating because they don’t think they get a fair hearing and they don’t think the processes are fair”.
Adult New Zealanders strongly disagree. More than 2.5 million or 76.3% think the IPCA should have the power to initiate a prosecution against police officers who break the law. (Currently it can only make recommendations). And the public is strongly against the police conducting investigations into their own criminal behaviour.
For further information contact Iain Morrison tel 021 688 668.by