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Penalties needed to break down 'Code of Silence'

11 October 2005

Penalties needed to break down 'Blue Code of Silence'

Police commanders should make sure unacceptable behaviour within the force is reported to them, Green Police spokesperson Keith Locke says.

A report by Sir David Tompkins prompted by the Solomona case has found that while there is not a widespread culture of violence in the South Auckland Police there is a 'Blue Code of Silence' that keeps hidden those incidents that do happen.

"There needs to be a serious sanction against any officer buying into the 'Blue Code of Silence' mentioned in the Tompkins report," Mr Locke says.

"We are pleased to learn from Sir David Tompkins that the inappropriate behaviour did not amount to a culture of excessive violence or inappropriate conduct within the broader force in South Auckland. However it is disturbing that Sir David uncovered 20 cases, over a five-year period, of officers using excessive force.

"The public now needs to know what action has been taken, or is to be taken, against these offending officers.

"Also, what action is being taken against those officers who didn't report the incidents at the time? It is most disturbing that the cases of excessive violence weren't generally brought to the attention of the authorities because of the 'Blue Code of Silence'. This code needs to be broken down with severe penalties against all who abide by it.

"Yes, it can be hard to stand up to or report bullies amongst us, but police officers, who are charged with standing up for all of us, should have the courage to do so.

"Assurances from police commanders on these matters would enhance the reputation of our police force, which usually does a pretty good job in often difficult circumstances," Mr Locke says.

ENDS


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