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Tompkins report finds no violent police culture

Tompkins report finds no culture condoning or encouraging acts of violence in Counties Manukau Police District

Sir David Tompkins report on Policing in Counties Manukau concludes that there is no culture in the district that condones or encourages acts of violence or other inappropriate conduct, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Steve Long said today.

The Acting Commissioner said the very thorough report canvassed the views of a large number of people ranging from prisoners to lawyers and community stakeholders and staff both past and present.

The focus of the report was to investigate whether there was a 'sick culture' in Counties Manukau District. This report puts that notion firmly to bed.

"The practice of taking degrading and inappropriate photographs of arrested persons which gave rise to this inquiry has been found to have been limited to very few officers in one small work group. That group was disbanded in March of last year.

"The report confirms that police in Counties Manukau are operating in an environment that is a lot more challenging than other parts of the country. Police themselves are regularly the victims of aggressive behaviour by offenders and there is significant evidence of Counties Manukau police being themselves victims of serious assaults.

Mr Long said that the report would be referred to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct for their consideration.

"There is a lot in this report which warrants further discussion and debate. The term 'blue code of silence' is an engaging phrase and a phenomenon well known in the international policing world but what effect it has in New Zealand is something that all manner of commentators will have a view on. I deal regularly with disciplinary matters which have emanated from staff who blow the whistle on behaviour they find unacceptable.

"At the end of the day police officers are sworn to uphold the Police oath. The oath goes to the heart of each member's responsibilities as an individual and it is up to each and every individual to uphold the oath of constabular office.

"In his commentary the Judge did point to resourcing issues and experience levels in the Counties Manukau District.

"The Police Executive are as one in acknowledging the challenges that exist in Counties Manukau and to a lesser degree the whole of metropolitan Auckland.

"As part of the last budget round, a unanimous decision was made to place all the additional resources available for frontline policing to districts north of Taupo. Counties Manukau will receive more police both for patrol and investigative work.

"More business cases will be forthcoming particularly in terms of the population growth and pressures experienced in this part of the country," said the Acting Commissioner.

Full report: http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2005/tompkins-counties-manukau/

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