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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cop out: NZ Police irresponsibility

Two news items from the last few days have cast more doubt on how prepared the NZ Police are to admit that their own practices can be the cause of strife. Firstly, more evidence that the long-standing complaint of the cops' Bullit/French Connection car chase styles are harming innocent road users:
Residents in the South Auckland suburb of Otara say it was only a matter of time before a police car was involved in a fatal crash on a stretch of road notorious for serious accidents.[...]"The cops are renowned for speeding round here on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There's always emergencies up and down the street.
"It's very busy, a lot of them are using their sirens and flashing lights, so they are continuously chasing people around this area.
"There's always accidents here, probably at least once or twice a week."
"People drive too fast down there, especially the police ... they just go flat out down here. We had one on Friday over here, someone ran into our fence, and the police were chasing them as well."

There's nothing much to go on from the official statements issued yesterday. They avoid the churlish excuses reported elsewhere from NZ Police along the lines of 'at least we caught the person we were after'. Don't even go there.

It's too early to make a call on this - and I'm loathe to appear to let the cops off any hook - but partly it may be a planning issue with a new station. A designated emergency lane on the main roads a couple of blocks around the station may be the right way to ensure safety and allow for some speed without subjecting road users directly to the mayhem. Unfortunately planning isn't Auckland's strong point.  The same problem exists with the ability for emergency services to change traffic lights so they can get the right of way (change to flashing orange). Everyone's problem is invariably no-one's problem. If the Auckland authorities can't even get their ticketing system worked out after so many decades there's no hope in traffic light changers and emergency lanes ever being a priority.

Secondly, this extraordinary admission from the NZ Police on how they dealt with initial complaints about the offender shaping up to be the media's next 'Beast' - the Beast of Kaitaia:
James Parker, deputy principal at Pamapuria School, just south of Kaitaia, pleaded guilty in court yesterday to 49 charges of indecent assault, performing an indecent act and of unlawful sexual connection.
His name suppression was lifted when he appeared in Kaitaia District Court.
The attacks, on boys aged under 16, occurred over nearly eight years up until his arrest last month.
Most of Parker's sexual abuse against students occurred after police warned Pamapuria School that he should not have pupils staying at his house overnight, his lawyer Alex Witten-Hannah said.
The school did "nothing constructive" about it, he said, and "the bulk of the offending took place after that".
The police warning in 2009 came as a result of a tentative complaint from a child via a parent, he told Radio New Zealand.
The lack of action from the school in the wake of the strongly-worded police letter was quite extraordinary, he said.
"It almost beggars belief. I had to see the letter with my own eyes to believe it."

How can the NZ Police have let this guy loose? How can the School's board be sacked over this when the cops were doing zip? Wouldn't the board be right to surmise that if the police won't take action then why and how could they? Surely it is the NZ Police that are to be held ultimately responsible for the offending taking place after they knew what was going on. Sending strongly worded letters doesn't trump the positive consequences of even a single charge being laid.

I don't know the circumstances and whether or not the initial evidence was considered too weak to get a guilty verdict, but for the cops to leave it to the school to deal with as an internal matter was a negligent decision. Was this offender confronted by the cops at this early stage? - did they put the frighteners on him? Probably not since the news article says most of the known offending happened afterwards. There must be a review into the NZ Police handling of this case and into their general policy on how they deal with these issues.


At 23/8/12 4:57 pm, Blogger Kokonut Creme said...

Oh bro.....There is the IPCA. YEH RIGHT !! Sweet to have finally landed here. Peace ups KC

At 23/8/12 6:24 pm, Blogger Tim said...

Something very bad has happened to Police culture over the past couple of decades - not the least of which is that they've forgotten they are public servants and not a law unto themselves. Unfortunately Pollies keen to be seen to be tough on crime have let them get away with it. Something's changed at the Police College to, and worst of all, Police officers themselves continually fail to recognise that their own worst enemy is the Association rep: quick to act as an apologist NO MATTER what the circumstance, quicker to call for laws that are unecessary rather than getting existing ones enforced. No one denies they have a tough enough job. but as if there are not now enough instances where their credibility and attitude can be called into question.


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