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Police ‘Get Away’ With Actions That Were Contrary To Law

Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki

22nd May 2013

Police ‘Get Away’ With Actions That Were ‘Contrary To Law, Unjustified and Unreasonable’

“It’s a weird day in a democracy when a report into Operation Eight identifies police actions that were ‘contrary to law, unjustified and unreasonable’ and the grand remedy is to amend the police manual,” says Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki.

“The much awaited report of the Independent Police Conduct Authority states the obvious – there was no lawful basis or justification for establishing the Ruātoki Road Block at 6am on 15 October 2007.”

“The report then rehashes criticisms of the Police which Tūhoe, the peoples of Ruātoki and Taneatua, the Māori Party and others have consistently raised over the last five years and more,” said Mr Flavell. “It is deeply distressing to see all our words being validated by the proof, littered over the pages of this report, with so little action recommended to put things right.”

“The 15th of October 2007 will be forever etched in our national psyche as a day of shame. We cannot simply respond with amendments to policy and procedure.”

“While it is positive that the report urges the Police to re-engage with Tūhoe; to initiate ‘community impact assessments’ for all operations which are likely to adversely impact the people of that area and to take particular care around the treatment of children and vulnerable people, there is still a huge void in the area of the accountability of the police in acknowledging the extent of the harm incurred.”

“Police actions at the Ruātoki and Taneatua roadblocks – stopping and searching vehicles, obtaining personal details, photographing people – were described repeatedly as ‘lacking insufficient evidence’ or ‘legal basis’. No other citizen would be allowed to get away with such a lengthy list of improprieties when undertaking their core business.”

“The recommendations of the IPCA bear little resemblance to the litany of findings in which the actions of the Police in Operation Eight are described as unlawful, unreasonable, unjustified or undesirable.”

“The weakness of the IPCA’s recommendations completely justifies our vehement opposition to the Search and Surveillance Act which has retrospectively legalised such actions.”

“This report highlights how the Search and Surveillance Act has robbed the public of lawful protection against unlawful, unreasonable, unjustified and undesirable Police Actions and in light of this report findings, we call for it to be repealed,” said Te Ururoa.

“The bigger picture is that while the IPCA report recommends the police must build bridges with Ruātoki, the damage done towards already fragile relationships between Māori and the Police has been grossly under-stated.”

“The Māori Party has previously called for a full and comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Eliminating Racial Discrimination. This report reinforces that call and puts us all on notice that we have a long road ahead to achieve trust and confidence in the Police and policing in Aotearoa.”

“Finally, there are two outstanding matters, even after all this time has lapsed,” said Te Ururoa. “We want to know what the Minister is going to do about the rampant illegal, unreasonable, unjustified and undesirable activity by the Police – and we want to know when and how the Police are going to apologise. After all it costs nothing to say sorry.”

ENDS

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