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Damning report shows need for police culture change

22 May 2013

Damning report shows need for police culture change

Today’s damning report into the Ruatoki raid shows a dramatic overhaul of police culture is urgently required, the Green Party said today.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority’s report into the 2007 Operation Eight was released today.

“Police broke the law and rode roughshod over the rights of Ruatoki people. I expect police to apologise, that’s the bare minimum, but it’s not enough and a real cultural change is needed,” Green Party police spokesperson Dave Clendon said.

“Innocent people were illegally detained and searched by police during the raid. The rights of New Zealanders going about their daily business were abused. We are talking about a sleepy New Zealand town here not Belfast at the height of the IRA bombings.

“I have serious concerns that racial discrimination played a part in this raid. Would the police have raided Remuera in Auckland, or Khandallah in Wellington in the same way? Little children left home alone while carers were dragged away by masked men?

“The people of Tuhoe deserve to know why the police thought it was okay to descend like masked ninjas on a quiet little Maori community and detain innocent people at gunpoint.

“While some of the problems have subsequently been addressed, the fundamental thinking that made police think this raid was okay needs to be changed. This raid set back Maori-police relations by decades and they have a lot of work to do to turn that around.

“Police need to start rebuilding their relationship with the local community and with Maori starting by putting far more effort into community policing using Iwi liaison officers working with locals to build bridges,” Mr Clendon said.

On the advice of Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford, Mr Clendon will be seeking a meeting with Police Deputy Chief Commissioner Mike Bush to be briefed on police strategies to address over-representation of Māori in the Justice System.

“I will also discuss with him this valuable report and whether racial prejudice will be addressed within these new police strategies,” said Mr Clendon.

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