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Police Complaints investigators appointed

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

18 November 2003

Police Complaints investigators appointed

The appointment of an investigation team will enhance the independence of Police Complaints Authority's work, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

The Complaints Authority has previously relied on police conducting the investigations with the Authority exercising oversight.

Mr Goff announced that former Detective Inspector Norman Cook, former Canadian Inspector Bob Grinstead and former London Detective Inspector Phillip Shepard would join the Authority at the end of November under former Police Assistant Commissioner Allan Galbraith.

“The Police Complaints Authority is fortunate to have attracted four individuals with considerable depth in investigative work, both internationally and in New Zealand,” Mr Goff said.

"Mr Galbraith's team will, for the first time, give the Authority its own investigative capacity for dealing with complaints or investigations of serious matters, including where an offender is shot or injured as the result of police action.

“The Authority has had an excellent track record over the last 15 years and the move to create an independent investigative capacity does not reflect dissatisfaction with its past performance.

"However it is vital for public confidence in the Authority, and in police accountability, that investigations and findings are seen to be independent of serving police personnel.

"The past experience of the team answers both the need that it is highly skilled in investigation and that it has the insight into, and knowledge of, how the police operate. This is not a group that could easily be misled or deceived about operational practice."

Mr Goff said the investigation team would initially look into the most serious complaints, with the scope of its work broadening as they built up expertise and its numbers increase.

The team's formation is part of the government's response to a review initiated by Mr Goff and carried out by retired High Court judge Sir Rodney Gallen to examine public perceptions of the Authority's lack of independence.

The government's broader response, including changes to the structure of the Authority, is contained in the Independent Police Complaints Authority Amendment Bill that was reported back from Select Committee yesterday.

Background on investigation team

Allan Galbraith was a member of the New Zealand Police for 37 years. He has a strong investigative background, having spent most of his service in the CIB.

He worked in Wellington, Palmerston North, Auckland and National Headquarters, and was the New Zealand Police liaison officer in Southeast Asia for three years. Allan retired from the position of Assistant Commissioner, Crime and Operations in 1995.

Norman Cook retired from the New Zealand Police in 2002 at the rank of Detective Inspector after almost 40 years' service, almost all of it in the CIB in Wellington, Gisborne and National Headquarters.

He has a wide range of investigative experience, including managing organised crime units and heading at least 18 homicide inquiries. His last significant case was last year's Burrett attempted kidnapping in Wellington.

Bob Grinstead moved to New Zealand in 2002 after 27 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where he reached the rank of Inspector. He has a broad policing background, much of it as a senior investigator.

In the latter part of his career, Mr Grinstead was an investigations supervisor with the Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal and served with the UN in East Timor as Chief of National Investigations. Immediately prior to his retirement, Mr Grinstead was the Canadian Police liaison officer in Pakistan.

Phillip Shepard is a lawyer and former Detective Inspector with 34 years service in the London Metropolitan Police. He has a broad criminal investigation background with significant experience in the investigation of corruption and public sector fraud. Mr Shepard moved to New Zealand in 2002.

ENDS

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