New Zealand Commissioner of Police – Weekly Wrap-up: IPCA Roastbusters report, Operation Concord and more

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Source: New Zealand Commissioner of Police – Weekly Wrap-up: IPCA Roastbusters report, Operation Concord and more

Ngā mihi. Yesterday, I accepted the findings of the Independent Police Conduct Authority report on Police handling of the alleged offending by the Roastbusters group. I agree that the standard of investigation in these cases fell far short of what I and the New Zealand public rightly expect.

I’m very disappointed that we let down the young women at the centre of these allegations. New Zealand Police is focused on putting victims at the heart of what we do and taking a preventive approach to offending and in this case, we did not perform to the level required and expected in both these areas.

Waitematā District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle is apologising publicly to the young women and their families for the deficiencies that occurred in his district.

Police have worked hard over the past few years to improve the standard of investigation and prosecution of child abuse and adult sexual assault cases and I note the Authority found no evidence of ongoing and widespread poor practice nationally.

I can assure the public that the failings of a few staff at a point in time do not represent national practice. I can reassure victims that they can bring complaints to us and we will investigate them properly and fairly.

Operation Concord update

We continue to receive information from the public in relation to Operation Concord, the investigation into the threat to contaminate infant and other formula with 1080. There have been a number of calls to the 0800 number and messages to the dedicated email address.

We have also received a small number of reports of possible tampering of infant formula.  We have tested product samples as appropriate and can confirm that there were no issues identified.

Again, I would like to acknowledge the commitment of our staff to this high-priority investigation.

We also appreciate the public’s continued vigilance in reporting any concerns of this nature, and they will be thoroughly followed up.  It’s important to note that at this stage, there is no information which suggests the public is at risk.

Members of the public who believe they have information that can assist this investigation can call the Operation Concord team on 0800 723 665 or email opconcord@police.govt.nz. Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Cyclone Pam

Our thoughts are with the people of Vanuatu after the devastation of Cyclone Pam. More than 20 people perished and thousands have been left homeless following the severe storm during the weekend.

Wellington-based Inspector Ged Byers was deployed to Vanuatu on the first RNZAF Hercules flight there on Sunday to assess how New Zealand Police can assist in the response to this disaster. This is part of the wider New Zealand effort to help Vanuatu recover.

The tail of Cyclone Pam also caused severe weather across many parts of New Zealand, especially the east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands. Police staff in affected places played an important role in helping to evacuate the worst-hit areas, keeping people safe and reassuring the public through their presence and high visibility.  Well done to all involved.

Acknowledging great contributions

On Tuesday, I was in Auckland, where I presented a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) to Detective Sergeant Mike Beal for his outstanding contribution to organised crime investigations. Mike has led some of the most complex of these inquiries and is an excellent, dedicated and highly professional investigator.

The prestigious MSM is established by a Royal Warrant and is the highest award I as Commissioner can grant to Police employees.

I make frequent visits to districts and I am always impressed by the amazing work being done by our staff. It’s always a pleasure to acknowledge those who are going the extra mile, and I’m sure all staff join me in congratulating Mike on his achievements.

Detective Sergeant Trevor Brown of Bay of Plenty, retired Sergeant Alan Richards of the Royal New Zealand Police College and retired Sergeant and dog handler Paul Selby, also of Bay of Plenty, will also recieve MSMs for their outstanding contributions at a medal ceremony in Wellington on 1 April.

Meanwhile, until next time, stay safe.

 

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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