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Investigation into the use of external security consultants


Outcome of Police investigation into the use of external security consultants

Police has today released its investigation report into the engagement of external security consultants between 2003 and 2018.

The investigation commenced on 28 September 2018 in light of the State Services Commission inquiry into the use of security consultants in the State sector.

This did not include New Zealand Police for legislative reasons.

In September Commissioner Mike Bush directed that police undertook its own investigation to give assurance that police met the expectations of the public, as well as its own ethical standards.

The police investigation has been extensive and meticulous, involving eight full-time investigators and support staff led by a senior detective.

Over 50,000 documents including emails were reviewed, electronic searches conducted on several million other documents, and 28 individuals interviewed.

The investigation considered interactions with all external security consultants, but with a particular focus on Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited.

In summary the key findings are:

• The vast majority of police interactions with external security consultants in the period considered are consistent with police policy, procedures and values.
• No evidence was found that police engaged, tasked or directed any external security consultants to undertake surveillance (whether lawfully or unlawfully) on behalf of police.
• No evidence was found of criminal or corrupt behaviour by police staff.

Public concerns have also been raised about Police interactions with Thompson and Clark regarding their contract with Southern Response Earthquake Services. The investigation found no evidence of any impropriety by any Police employee in relation to interaction with Thompson and Clark, SRES or any individual during that enquiry, and no evidence that Police were conducting surveillance on clients of SRES, or tasking Thompson and Clark to do so.

In the fifteen year period considered the investigation identified sixteen individuals who had demonstrated behaviour which requires further consideration under the Police Code of Conduct.

All these instances related to the disclosure of information to Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited, and they have been referred to the Professional Conduct group.

The investigation also found four isolated instances of police officers undertaking unauthorised secondary employment with private security companies.

Three of these cases were dealt with through an employment process at the time they were identified, while the fourth has been referred to the Professional Conduct group for consideration and investigation as required.

The investigation also undertook a thorough review of police policies, practices and procedures.

It makes a number of recommendations for strengthening existing systems to further ensure that future interactions with external security consultants are appropriate.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement says the investigation should give the public confidence that police are managing its interactions with external security consultants in a professional and appropriate way.

“As the report makes clear, police interacts with external security consultants on an almost daily basis. This can be for a wide range of usually routine reasons, plus on occasion receiving information that may assist police in preventing or detecting offending.

“While the incidents identified in the report are of concern, I am satisfied that they are isolated cases and must be viewed in the context of the fifteen years of interactions with external security companies which are considered by the report.

“The investigation has been an important opportunity for us to take a good look at ourselves, and seek confidence that we meet the standards which the public rightly expects of us. This has been a very thorough and detailed process, and our intent has been that it was conducted with the same rigour at the State Services Commission inquiry.

“However we are not complacent, and we will carefully consider the investigation’s recommendations.

We will also consider the findings of the State Services Commission inquiry for any relevant outcomes which may assist us in strengthening our own policy and practices.

“Police fully recognises the public concern about this issue, and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that we continue to manage our dealings with external security consultants lawfully, ethically and professionally.”

Link to Police investigation report:

http://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/police-engagement-external-security-consultants-investigation-report

ends

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