Police progress COI recommendations but still more to do

Thursday 18 October 2012, 6:47PM
By New Zealand Police

Police acknowledge they still have work to do to achieve the goals set out by the 2007 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct (COI).

Responding to the Office of the Auditor General's third monitoring report on implementation of the recommendations of the COI, Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard says Police have made significant progress since 2007, but acknowledges there is still much to do.

"We have made huge progress in some areas, particularly around the Code of Conduct, our disciplinary processes, and in reinforcing the standards of behaviour required by our staff."

"We are about to implement an early intervention system and we have put significant effort into improving our investigation and support for victims of adult sexual assault. Improving our service to victims is a key part of our Prevention First operating strategy and this is reflected across many areas of Police work."

"The change envisaged by the COI is significant, and while we accept that some things should be progressed more quickly, the scale of change needs to be seen against the wider environment we are operating in. With this in mind I believe we are making reasonable progress in most of the key areas."

"In some areas, especially around our dealing with adult sexual assault (ASA), the pace of change has accelerated considerably in 2012," Mr Rickard says.

Adult Sexual Assault (ASA)

Between July 2010 and the end of August this year, 257 staff have completed the specialist Adult Sexual Assault Course.  Over the same period an additional 153 staff have completed the CIB Selection and Induction Course incorporating the ASA training component.

"The training of these 410 staff in the past two years is a considerable achievement," Mr Rickard says.

"More than 1200 of our approximately 1500 investigative staff have received ASA training and training of all other relevant staff will be completed by the end of this year."

There are now five Districts (Counties Manukau; Auckland; Waitemata: Central; and Bay of Plenty) with dedicated Adult Sexual Assault Teams providing enhanced levels of specialist service.

"We are also seeking feedback from victims about their experience of our service and how we can improve it."

"Quality assurance processes are being put in place to monitor and enhance the quality of our investigations in the ASA area."

Mr Rickard says oversight of the Police response to sexual violence cases has gone from having one coordinator to having a team of four lead by a Detective Inspector.

Early Intervention

Mr Rickard says Police acknowledge that full implementation of the early intervention system is behind schedule but that it will be in place by the December (2012).

"The system will be used to help identify staff who are potentially at risk so we can then work with them to address problem behaviours before they disciplinary issues."

"We are committed to dealing effectively with misconduct when it comes to light, and to creating a culture where misconduct is not tolerated and those who report it are fully supported."

We have strong policies to enable and support staff to report issues of misconduct and integrity and these are well understood across the organisation.

Organisational Change

Mr Rickard says he is pleased the monitoring report notes progress police is making in organisational change.

"We are a large and complex organisation and right now change is taking place on many fronts. This includes effort to change the working environment, improve management and leadership and to increase the number of women and people from different backgrounds in Police."

"As we work to achieve environmental change we are also managing complex business changes.  We have a new operating strategy, which focuses on prevention and better meeting the needs of victims."

"We have made significant efforts in recent years to increase the number of women, and people from ethnic minority groups in Police.  An ongoing recruitment campaign assists in achieving this."

"Programmes are in place to encourage and support women to plan and develop their careers in Police."

Mr Rickard says the majority of female Constabulary employees ranked Sergeant or above have now participated in a development programme (52.6% Sergeants, 83.7% Senior Sergeants, and 80% Inspectors).

"Those who have completed a development programme are five times more likely to be promoted.
We have acknowledged for some time now the importance of having diversity across all levels of Police and I believe we are making good progress."

Mr Rickard says Police note the Deputy Controller and Auditor General's recommendations in the monitoring report and are confident the targets set out in them will be achieved.

The Auditor General's Office report is available at http://www.oag.govt.nz/2012/police-conduct