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Police must change their attitude towards Maori

Police must change their attitude towards Maori

Kelly Te Heuheu, Maori Crime Issues Specialist, says racism and a negative attitude resulting in shocking treatment of Maori is an alarming reality in front-line policing. More concerning is victims of crime, including children, being treated in this manner.

Ms Te Heuheu can cite experiences both personal and that of many victims of crime, specifically in domestic violence, who have come forward with details of the way they were treated, including:

*Police humiliating the women in domestic violence incidents, saying they asked for it because they choose to be there; turning the blame on the women and telling them to pack up and go to Women's Refuge, meanwhile supporting the offender to stay in the home.

*Police have taken their time attending to breaches of protection orders, delaying it sometimes for days.

*Police delayed acting on a warrant from a grandparent's lawyer, instructing removal of a child needing urgent medical attention from a home where a party was being held in which drugs and alcohol were being consumed, because it was “too late in the evening”. After a heated argument with the grandparent, the child was only able to be uplifted when the grandparent threatened to report this to the Minister of Police and the media. After medical treatment the child took a week to recover, and could have died if left untreated.

*The Police excuse for not acting sooner on the circumstances in which the child in the above case was being kept, was “it's the things all Maori do”.

These incidents are not isolated!

If this country intends to build positive relations with Maori, the Police had better clean up its own back yard first.


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