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Greens want rape-claim inquiry widened


Greens want rape-claim inquiry widened

The Green Party is calling for the inquiry into rape allegations against former Rotorua police officers to also consider the failure of police hierarchy and the Police Minister to fully investigate the complaints when they were originally made aware of them.

"The public needs to know how much faith can be placed in police internal investigations and those by the Police Complaints Authority," said Keith Locke, the Green Party Police spokesperson. "For example, is it still police procedure to let serious accusations of police wrongdoing be investigated by colleagues of the accused from the same district?

"There is also the question of whether the Police Minister is sufficiently monitoring allegations of police misbehaviour. It is unacceptable that accusations that involve a top police officer can be ignored for so long.

"George Hawkins should not simply have accepted police advise on the Rotorua case. He has a role as a public watchdog and must conduct his own investigation when there are serious accusations of police wrongdoing.

"The Minister has to be more than just a front-man for the police.

"Questions also arise about the operations of the Police Complaints Authority," said Mr Locke. "How can it keep an adequate check on police power if most of its investigations are done by serving police officers, and if the results of those inquiries are kept confidential, as in this case?"

Mr Locke said that Detective Inspector John Dewar, who was criticised by the PCA for his mishandling of the original inquiry, appears to have received no disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, Green Party Women's spokesperson, Sue Kedgley said it was perfectly understandable that the complainant had taken so long in coming forward.

"There can be no 'statute of limitations' on rape allegations," said Ms Kedgley. "Society has to accept that some women are so devastated by their experience that it takes years for them to have the confidence and courage to lodge an official complaint.

"Louise Nicholas has made a very brave decision in coming forward and I sincerely hope that 'the system' treats her with more courtesy, respect and dignity than she has received in the past."

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