Report highlights police shortcomings

Police don't have the budget or resources to implement recommendations from an inquiry into the Louise Nicholas rape case, the Police Association says.

The Office of the Auditor-General today released a report that highlights the lack of progress into recommendations made to police in a 2007 Commission of Inquiry, which found that urgent coordinated action was needed following the handling of complaints.

The Office of the Auditor-General was tasked with monitoring the progress for 10 years.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor told Radio New Zealand there was room for improvement but police didn't have the means to implement all the changes.

"[Police] have a lot of demands on them: Government are demanding a 14 per cent decrease in crime, they're demanding an 18 per cent decrease in prosecutions, they're demanding savings from the budget of $400 million over the next four years. The problem is those who are monitoring these reports don't have a budget to give police to implement things." Mr O'Connor said.

"Something's got to give."

Mr O'Connor said the report had become "something of a ritual humiliation for police".

"There is always things that every organisation can do better, but police are being pulled in every direction at the moment."

Today's halfway report said significant leadership challenges still existed within the force and most of the recommendations were still to be completed.

While levels of trust and confidence in the police were relatively high, the mixed progress in responding to the recommendations presented some risk to that trust and confidence.

"Effective implementation of the commission's recommendations is important for maintaining and improving the public's trust and confidence in the police," deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith said.

There continued to be an "unacceptable" level of inappropriate sexual behaviour within the force, with some staff reluctant to report wrongdoing because of the way colleagues were treated when they did.

She recommended that police implemented tools to support integrity and managed appropriate conduct within the organisation.

However, the report noted police had shown signs of improvement this year by giving greater priority to progressing the recommendations about adult sexual assault.

Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard said police acknowledged they still had work to do.

"We have made huge progress in some areas, particularly around the code of conduct, our disciplinary processes, and in reinforcing the standards of behaviour required by our staff."

Between now and the final 2017 report the Office of the Auditor-General planned to do some targeted review work, particularly into adult sexual assault investigations, with the police and could include a scenario-based survey of police conduct.

Earlier this year the 2011/12 State Services Commission of Inquiry report said while public confidence in police was up and crime was down, increasing the representation of women at senior levels remained a challenge.

Last year's report referred unflatteringly to the 'DNA' and culture of the police.

- Matthew Theunissen and Hana Garrett-Walker of APNZ

 

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