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Revelations Re-Iterate Need For Urgent Inquiry

Revelations Re-Iterate Need For Urgent Inquiry

Monday 2 Feb 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded to know why Police Minister George Hawkins has not yet ordered an urgent independent inquiry into the alleged police rape of Louise Nicholas - especially after revelations that at least two other sex cases have been mishandled.

"This situation could have been resolved years ago, had Mr Hawkins simply taken action when he first learned of these allegations - before officer Clint Rickards was appointed Assistant Police Commissioner," Dr Newman said.

"Now, thanks to Mr Hawkins' incompetence and apathy, public confidence in police is wavering. With these allegations not being addressed in a timely manner, we now have reports of a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of police.

"The New Zealand Police is a Government agency, and Labour has a duty to ensure that it runs with effectiveness and transparency. When serious concerns are raised about other agencies, like CYF, independent inquiries are carried out to maintain public confidence.

"Both Mr Hawkins and Prime Minister Helen Clark had a duty to investigate these accusations. Miss Clark now confesses to having judged Mr Rickards unsuitable for promotion over these accusations in 1999 - yet she failed in her obligation, to the complainant and police, to properly examine the situation in order to ascertain the truth.

"Now, the reputation of police is at serious risk. Like any Government agency, police rely on a public perception that everything is above board, and law-abiding New Zealanders must know they need not fear those who are supposed to protect them.

"The Minister and his Labour colleagues cannot sit on their hands any longer. I demand that Mr Hawkins order an independent inquiry. The public deserves to be reassured that the outcome of this inquiry is beyond doubt - and that any vindication of these officers is not simply a whitewash, or a case of police looking after their own," Dr Newman said.


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