Police response to IPCA report on Operation Pencarrow
Please attribute to Assistant Commissioner Districts Bill Searle:
Police accepts the findings of the Independent Police Conduct Authority review of Operation Pencarrow in March 2016.
As Police have already publically acknowledged, internal reviews were carried out following this incident with findings and recommendations consistent with the IPCA report released today.
As a result Police have made a number of changes at both district and national level.
• More robust planning and oversight of the annual National Cannabis and Crime Operation (NCCO).
The planning, review and approvals processes for this annual operation now involves senior managers at district and national level to ensure risk is minimised and the operation is carried out in best practice.
• Enhanced coordination between the District Command Centres (DCC) and the National Command Coordination Centre (NCCC) to ensure the NCCC supports and coordinate resources beyond the capabilities of the local DCC.
Police are also finalising the Command Centre Operating Guidelines document in consultation with the IPCA.
• Following a successful six month trial in Central District, Police are currently rolling out a new Planned Action Risk Assessment tool.
This is a mobile pdf form that staff must complete before carrying out any planned action, specifically including search warrants.
This assessment ensures staff give proper consideration to risks and community impact and plan their actions accordingly.
• There has been a national refresh of AOS training including oversight from Special Tactics Group Commanders.
This has ensured that all squads, including Rotorua and Tauranga AOS, have improved tactical planning, decision making and deployment methods.
• In direct response to this incident Police implemented a national policy in August 2016 to ensure all Police dogs have personal issue protective boots and that these are carried and ready for use at all times.
This means dog teams are now able to be deployed more easily at critical incidents.
As well as this, Canterbury AOS are trialling the use of a camera which can be mounted on the Police dog’s harness while it is searching a building and watched by staff outside the premises.
Police are addressing all of the IPCA’s recommendations.
Ultimately, incidents such as Operation Pencarrow are often complex and dynamic.
Circumstances can and do change very quickly and decisions have to be made based on the information available to officers at the time.
The safety of our staff and members of the public is a strategic and operational priority for Police.
The fact four officers were injured in this incident is of great concern to us.
The lessons learnt from our own review and the IPCA report into Operation Pencarrow have been carefully considered to ensure we operate in the safest and most effective way to protect both our staff and the community.
Despite the issues raised by the IPCA, we note that the person responsible for shooting our staff was Rhys Warren who has been sentenced in court to preventive detention.