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Independent Police Complaints Authority needed

16 June 2006

Independent Police Complaints Authority needed - Greens

The exposure of another case of police allegedly using intimidation to force a young person to provide a DNA sample shows the urgent need for the government to set up an independent Police Complaints Authority, The Green Party says.

Auckland man Kane Dowling, aged 22, told National Radio today that he and some friends were stopped by police while walking at night and threatened with arrest for disorderly behaviour unless they gave a DNA sample.

His claim adds strength to other allegations that police officers are illegally coercing young people into giving 'voluntary' DNA samples, Greens' Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"The latest allegations leave an impression of a police force that sees itself as above the law when it comes to young people. Whether that's perception or reality, a truly independent Police Complaints Authority is the only way to deal with the problem.

"The allegations are a serious blow to police credibility, coming in the wake of the Solomona inquiry, historical rape allegations and the police porn scandal. The public must have the assurance of a Police Complaints Authority that can independently investigate any allegations.

The Green Party has called for a review of all voluntary DNA samples held by the police from people aged under 20.

"The police have denied the allegations, saying that they want 'quality not quantity' when it comes to DNA samples. That's a load of rubbish - its obvious that ultimately having everyone on the DNA database is exactly what police want. They even said publicly in 2003 that they hoped to increase the database by 20,000 samples each year," Nandor says.

A Bill to establish an independent police complaints authority has been sitting on the House order paper for a number of years. It was stalled when the inquiry relating to allegations by Louise Nicolas was established.

"The government cannot keep stalling on an independent Police Complaints Authority," Nandor says.

ENDS

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