Police policy bias contributing to false arrests?
For immediate release
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Turner: Police policy bias contributing to false arrests?
Recent ‘not guilty’ verdicts in high profile child homicide cases could be examples of an ideological bias in police policy, according to UnitedFuture deputy leader, Judy Turner.
Mrs Turner refers to the ‘New Zealand Family Violence Policy’, in which section 47 instructs that, “The specific offence ‘Male Assaults Female’ will be used in most circumstances”.
“While this policy may seem little more than ill-considered discrimination, it effectively orders police to pre-judge incidents of family violence before they even arrive at the scene and assume the male is at fault.
“It is my concern that this guideline fosters a mindset where police make assumptions before establishing a perpetrator, and leads to an attitude of, ‘if in doubt, arrest the bloke’.
“I think people are starting to question whether we are seeing this happening now. Is the police family violence policy leading to blinkered investigations and the wrong person being arrested by police?” asks Mrs Turner.
“This policy should be condemned and it be made clear that police should arrive at a given scene without preconceptions about the perpetrator, but rather look at the evidence and take action accordingly and on the merits of each case.
“Hopefully this will lead to fewer people being arrested and charged with crimes that no jury could possibly find them guilty of, while destroying the life of the falsely-accused, or resulting in the real perpetrator walking free,” says Mrs Turner.