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Police response to IPCA report on Rewa investigation

Police response to IPCA report on Rewa investigation

Police accept the findings of today's IPCA's report regarding its investigations into offending by Malcolm Rewa in Auckland in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Authority finds there is insufficient evidence that any of the failings identified in its report impacted on the ability of police to identify Rewa earlier.

However, it remains a matter of significant regret that police were unable to catch him earlier and prevent his offending, which unquestionably had a devastating impact on his victims. We also apologise to Ms A, who Police clearly failed at the time by not properly investigating information she supplied identifying Rewa.

Whilst I consider there was no lack of will amongst those officers involved at the time to catch the person responsible, it is clear from this detailed report that more should have been done in aspects of some of the early investigations. We accept that and apologise to victims affected by those failings.

Notwithstanding the very good work done by the Operation Harvey team who caught and arrested Rewa, Police staff investigating some of the earlier complaints did not meet the expectations of policing at that time. The report highlights poor interviewing practices, lack of supervisory oversight and greater priority being given to other serious crime.

The report also highlights that approaches to intelligence sharing and the paper-based record system of that time meant traditional policing methods were unlikely to uncover the operation of a serial sex offender earlier. With the benefit of hindsight 20 years later, it is clear where linkages could have been made and lines of inquiry pursued. Those linkages were not apparent at the time.
I welcome the Authority's consideration of how policing has changed since that time, and note that it is satisfied no further change is required to current practice.

There has been a transformation in how we manage such investigations since the time of these offences, which now places greater emphasis on our responsibilities to victims. As part of this change, police has invested heavily in the training of specialist investigators to ensure we better meet the needs of sexual assault victims.

Today any offending of a sexual nature is referred to suitably trained and experienced Police officers, who are specifically responsible for investigating adult sexual assault complaints and providing victims with access to support services.

I have confidence that in today's policing environment the needs of victims are at the centre of everything we do. I am also confident there is no shortage of commitment from our staff in holding the likes of Malcolm Rewa to account for their offending.


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