A senior officer in the police area where hundreds of
burglaries disappeared from official crime statistics says
his former boss and colleagues have been "hung out to dry".
Stuart Stone, a senior sergeant at Counties Manukau South
during the three-year period in question, resigned shortly
before an internal investigation into how 500 burglaries were
incorrectly recoded as minor crimes, or incidents.
The review found the burglary recoding rates in the area at
the time were 15 per cent to 30 per cent where other areas
typically recoded about 5 per cent.
Mr Stone maintained that his departure was unconnected to the
inquiry, but confirmed he was interviewed as part of the
review which led to minor employment sanctions against five
staff, including the area commander Inspector Gary Hill.
Mr Hill declined to comment yesterday and resigned six months
after the internal review concluded to pursue business
Mr Stone was part of the management team based at Papakura
between 2009 and 2012 but insisted there was nothing
"underhanded" in the recoding of the burglary statistics. The
codes were reviewed daily as offences were often recorded
incorrectly by call-takers at the police communications in
the first instance, said Mr Stone.
"The guys I was working with were really good people, I can't
see them doing that ... It wasn't because they were fudging
stats, it was to make sure the jobs were coded correctly," Mr
"If that sort of stuff was going on, I would have been out of
there. That's not why I left, I left because I'd had enough
[of policing] and wanted to get back to the farm."
Mr Stone said Mr Hill and his former colleagues had been
"thrown under the bus".
"There was nothing hidden there. Gary, I can tell you, would
not have done anything intentional to defraud anyone. He was
going places in the police," Mr Stone said. "He got hung out
Mr Stone said there was "huge competition" between the four
area commanders in Counties Manukau to drive down crime and
implement the Prevention First strategy under the direction
of district commander Mike Bush, who is now Police
"But I don't think anyone in the team I was with would recode
stats to get one over another area," Mr Stone said. "There
was no intent to defraud, or be dishonest. If there were
mistakes made, there were mistakes made and they should learn
from that. But I can honestly say there was no intent."
A review of the burglaries recoded between June 2009 and May
2012 found about 700 burglaries were recoded and of those 70
per cent should have remained as burglaries.
- By Jared Savage of The New Zealand Herald