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Police Engagement Survey - What’s the real story?

Police Engagement Survey - What’s the real story?

Dr Pita Sharples, Police Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Thursday 24 April 2008

The Maori Party has today expressed frustration at the refusal of the New Zealand Police to release the full story about the employee engagement survey.

Dr Pita Sharples earlier welcomed today’s announcement that the results would be released of a survey of some 4880 police employees, both sworn and non-sworn.

“The slide-shows of ‘selected highlights’ on the police website whetted our appetite to learn more about the health of the police environment” said Dr Sharples. “But it appears the actual detailed results are not being released”.

“We know, from previous research, that Maori officers working in the Police have reported their peers as holding negative attitudes towards Maori” said Dr Sharples.

“At a NZ Police conference which I attended in 2005, Gabrielle Maxwell told the hui that one in four police officers believed their colleagues had negative attitudes towards Maori”.

“She also reported that Maori Police officers felt there had been little change in race relations, and indeed that the situation might be deteriorating”.

“Given all of this background, it is extremely concerning to learn that the majority of employees participating in this survey did not trust the organisation to be fair to all employees – and we in the Maori Party are keen to find out what that actually meant” said Dr Sharples.

“The edited slideshow suggested that:

• the needs of all employees are not being met in a way which provides for a strong and healthy workplace;

• information was reported across ethnicity, gender, rank, age and other categories; and

• those who participated in the survey “hold little trust in the organisation to provide an environment of fairness for employees”.

“However, after fruitless approaches today to the NZ Police, Gallup Inc (who undertook the survey) and the Minister of Police’s office, we were told our best hope of getting hold of the actual survey detail was to request it under the Official Information Act” said Dr Sharples.

“It makes me wonder - what are they afraid of that they want to delay the inevitable for at least another twenty working days?” asked Dr Sharples.

“The organisation must be in a pretty bad state of health if nearly twice as many police staff are unhappy with their work situation as the rest of the working population” said Dr Sharples.

“An effective police force is very important to our country and the Maori Party is very keen in knowing what needs to be done, to improve the employee satisfaction of such an essential service”.

“We value the role of the police and the Maori Party is keen to support them in making the necessary improvements so that we can stabilise the police workforce and get on with the business of the day”.

“Let’s all find out what the survey says, and do something about it”.

Dr Sharples has had extensive experience working with NZ Police, including:

• Appointed to the Auckland Police District Maori Advisory Board (2000)

• Appointed to the National Maori Police Focus Forum (1998)

• Appointed to the Tutahitanga Maori/Police joint planning committee for Waitakere City, North Shore City and Rodney County (1999)

Appointed patron of the 184 Recruit Wing at the Royal New Zealand Police College (1999)


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