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Year One Consultation Phase Draws To A Close

Year One Consultation Phase Draws To A Close

14 December 2006

The team leading the Review of the 1958 Police Act has completed the first phase of its two-year programme of work with the release of eight Issues Papers.

Topics as broad as how police engage with communities, police powers, ways to reinforce ethical behaviour, drug testing and matters relating to appointing, deploying and managing staff are addressed in the papers.

"To date, there have been more than 150 responses to the Issues Papers, but more are welcome," says Superintendent Hamish McCardle, the officer leading the review.

"We'd like to receive feedback from as many parts of the community in as many places in New Zealand as possible.

"Policing is a frontline service which touches the lives of ordinary kiwis in many different ways every day. To get the best Police for the future we need people from all walks of life to provide their views on what sort of Police they want for New Zealand."

Public submissions on some of the later Issues Papers remain open until 31 January 2007.

All the Issues Papers, and further information about the Police Act Review, is available at www.policeact.govt.nz or by contacting the Review Team at (04) 474 9499.

Hot topics

More than 100 questions have been posed in the eight Issues Papers to prompt discussion. Key topics which have encouraged responses during 2006 include:

- Inclusion of human rights principles in a new Police Act.

- Clarifying the relationship between the Commissioner and government.

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- Providing limited police powers to staff other than fully trained Constables.

- Giving Police the right to take industrial action.

- Making Police more accountable to territorial local authorities.

- Giving Police more ways to positively identify people in lawful custody.

- Extending Police powers to target serious and organised criminals.

- Whether Police's relationships with other agencies should sit in legislation.

- Giving Police the ability to charge for certain services.

- Conducting covert integrity testing within the Police.

Next steps

"In 2007, the Police Act review team will continue to raise public and Police staff awareness of the options available in the review," says Superintendent McCardle.

In mid 2007 a consultation paper will be produced, incorporating the views of people who responded to the eight Issues Papers.

This will signal the start of a further round of public consultations followed by an exposure draft of the Bill.

It is intended to have a draft Police Bill by late 2007 for introduction to Parliament in 2008.

In-depth research on public expectations of police - commissioned as part of the review of the Act - is also scheduled for release in March 2007. It's findings will be factored into the drafting of the Bill.

Background information

In March 2006, Cabinet announced a wide ranging review of the 1958 Police Act and the Police Regulations 1992.

New Zealand Police has been asked by Government to lead this work, drawing in the views of other agencies and the wider community.

In what is expected to be a two-year process, a small multidisciplinary team at Police National Headquarters is working toward redesigning the legislation to reflect the challenges of modern day policing, and better position New Zealand Police for the future.

Why review the Act?

The current Police Act has been amended more than 25 times to try and keep pace with change. However, the main body of the Act is grounded in 1958. Today a myriad of public, private and volunteer agencies contribute to policing in New Zealand.

It's time to explore and better define those policing relationships, roles and boundaries and reflect these in legislation that will be the basis for a modern, future focussed New Zealand Police.

ENDS


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