Police release fifth phase review of Commission of Inquiry into police conduct

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The fifth phase review into New Zealand Police's progress in response to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Police Conduct has been released.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall conceded that while police have come a long way in the treatment and support of victims of sexual offending they still have work to do to improve. This was highlighted by the recent 'Roast Busters' case.

Previously, monitoring reports have been carried out by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG). The fifth phase review is the first done to be done by Police self-assessment and submitted to the State Services Commission (SSC) for comment. In 2012, the SSC set areas for police to review annually until 2017, when the final OAG assessment is planned.

Police highlighted recent work around sexual offending, including the approval and implementation of a new four-tier Adult Sexual Assault (ASA) training framework, and the launch of an ASA pamphlet for nationally standardising victims’ understanding of their rights and access to local support.

The SSC considered the report fairly reflected the priorities agreed in the previous year’s report. However the SSC noted that Police have not given an assessment of the extent to which the organisation is on track to achieve 2017 targets agreed in the 2011/12 review. The SSC said that in next year’s report, they would like to see Police specifically assess how they are tracking to achieve the targets by 2017.

The COI was ordered by then Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2004 to look at how police dealt with accusations of sexual assault by officers and their associates. Commissioner Dame Margaret Bazley released her report in 2007. The report identified a range of systemic issues as well as behaviour patterns among certain elements within Police that were factors in the alleged misconduct. The report made 60 recommendations. The Commissioner of Police accepted the Commission’s findings and committed to implementing the recommendations made by the Commission.

Previous reports by the Office of the Auditor-General and quarterly progress reports are available from the New Zealand Police website. Information is also available through the NZFVC news story on the OAG's third monitoring report, which found "mixed but relatively poor" progress on improving services for adult sexual assault complainants since its second monitoring report in 2010.

Media:

Police admit more support for sex abuse victims needed, Radio NZ, 10.12.13

Sexual violence victims need better police treatment, 3 News, 10.12.13

Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct - Fifth Phase Review, NZ Police, 10.12.13