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Police Complaints Review Long Overdue

Media Release 22 June 2000

Police Complaints Review Long Overdue

The review of the Police Complaints Authority announced by Justice Minister Phil Goff has been welcomed by David Small, who won a High Court case against the Police earlier this year after a PCA inquiry had found no substance to his complaint.

“Besides the obvious problem of having police officers investigate their own colleagues, there are a number of other weaknesses in the existing process,” said Dr Small. “These include the lack of sanction against people lying to a PCA investigator, the inability of complainants to know what has been said by police officers in response to their complaints and the lack of any channel of appeal.”

Dr Small said that the Attorney-General has been unresponsive to his request to arrange a meeting to discuss these and other concerns arising from his case. She has also rejected Justice Young’s finding that Dr Small’s house was searched because of his political activities.

In a letter from the Attorney-General received earlier this week, Dr Small was told that it was not the role of the PCA to go beyond what was “prima facie lawful”.

“This is tantamount to an admission that the PCA does not actually ‘investigate’ complaints at all,” said Dr Small. “In the High Court hearing over the search of my house, it was revealed that very few of the police officers who were called to give evidence had even been spoken to by PCA ‘investigator’, Rob Pope.”

For further comment, phone (025) 208-4160 or (03) 337-3353.

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