Police update on mosque killings – death toll now 50

Police Commissioner Mike Bush is giving an update this morning.

The death toll has risen to 50 with another body found at one of the mosques.

The number of injured is also 50 – 38 remain in hospital, 2 remain critical.

The 28 year old has appeared in court and has been remanded until 5 April.

Two other people were apprehended. the woman has been released without charges being laid. The man has been charged with firearm offences but this is not related to the mosque attacks. They were stopped at a cordon and arrested because they were in possession of a firearm.

The fourth person apprehended outside Papanui High School had armed himself ‘to protect children’ but the police said this was not a good idea.

An 18 year old was charged on a ‘tangential’ issue and was not directly linked to the murders.

Police security for mosques around the country will remain at this stage.

The offender obviously modified weapons but police re still investigating details of this.

Police are working through the issue of firearm laws. Bush said that the Prime Minister will say more about this later today.

The police are have liaison people and teams working with various ethnic and religious groups giving their support. “We have to support those people and meet their needs”.

Haumaha contacted witness of alleged bullying

The Herald continues their pressure on the the appointment of Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, this time revealing that Haumaha contacted a police officer who witnessed alleged bullying while the Herald were investigating over the last few weeks.

NZH: Police to investigate why Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha phoned a staff member about alleged bullying ahead of Herald story

Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha contacted a key witness to an alleged bullying incident after the Herald asked questions about accusations by three women working on a joint justice project.

The witness is a senior police officer who intervened in a heated exchange between Haumaha and one of the three women from Justice and Corrections who refused to work inside Police National Headquarters because of Haumaha’s alleged behaviour towards them.

One of the three women who walked out of police headquarters — and says one alleged incident was witnessed by the police officer whom Haumaha contacted last week — now plans to make a formal complaint about Haumaha’s alleged behavior.

The Herald can now reveal Haumaha allegedly called the lower ranking officer, who previously worked directly for him in the Māori Pacific and Ethnic Services division, one night last week to ask for his support.

This was several days before the Herald published the allegations.

The officer reported the conversation with Haumaha to his district commander who in turn alerted senior leadership in Police National Headquarters.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said his executive team was made aware on Friday of contact between Haumaha and a staff member in relation to bullying allegations.

“This will be investigated and we are currently seeking further information about what has occurred to determine what steps are required,” said Bush.

“The Police Executive, including Deputy Commissioner Haumaha, recognise the need to ensure that there is an appropriate level of independence to any investigation of all the matters raised in the media recently, including this most recent allegation.”

The new investigation comes as a government inquiry by Mary Scholtens QC will review the recruitment process which led to Haumaha being appointed as the deputy police commissioner in June.

The Herald has been all over this for weeks now. There must be concerns within the police given the information the Herald are getting to report on.

Due process needs to be followed, but looking like a growing problem for both the Police and the Government.

Police “not tolerating bad behaviour any more” (sexual assaults)

RNZ reports in ‘They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more’:

A decade of independent scrutiny of how police treat sexual assault victims and how they investigate their own officers is about to end.

Ten years ago today a Commission of Inquiry led by Dame Margaret Bazley released a scathing report describing disgraceful conduct by officers over 25 years and a wall of silence protecting the men that women complained about.

The inquiry investigated historic sexual assault claims and misconduct from 1979 to 2004.

In 2007, Dame Margaret released her findings which pointed to systemic issues, evidence of disgraceful misconduct and a culture of scepticism around reported sexual assaults.

The case of Louise Nicholas prompted the Commission of Inquiry to be established in 2004.

Louise Nicholas vividly remembers how fearful she was, the day her story was made public on 1 January 2004.

“In talking with [journalist] Phil Kitchin, in putting the story out there publicly, ‘what am I going to get out of it?’

“And he said, ‘What do you want?’ And I said, ‘I need for the police to acknowledge, to stand up and say, ‘yeah, we’ve got a really, really bad culture and we need to do something about this.’ And Phil said, ‘Well, let’s call for a Commission of Inquiry’ … and that’s how it all got started.

“And then, as fate has it, police decided to investigate my allegations that came through the media.”

She said the investigation was important in enabling victims to come forward.

“The results were of course, acquittals. But, did I get my justice? As I sit here today, abso-bloody-lutely I did.

Mrs Nicholas said how police dealt with sexual assault survivors was the biggest change she wanted to see happen.

She said if her case had happened today, it would have been handled so much better by police.

“I’ve actually seen the change in how police are investigating their own. They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more. We’ve got coppers out there on the front line actually stepping up and saying, ‘I’m not going to tolerate your behaviour’, and actually are speaking out. That’s huge.”

She said in recent years, she had dealt with a number of women who had been alleged victims of rape by police staff.

Many of those women got the justice they wanted, with their offenders being convicted and jailed, Mrs Nicholas said.

The inquiry investigated quite a few allegations.

The inquiry reviewed 313 complaints of sexual assaults against 222 police officers between 1979 and 2005.

Charges were laid in relation to 141 of those complaints.

As a result, 10 police officers or former officers were convicted of sexual assault, 20 accused were cleared and two officers took their own lives before their cases could be heard.

This shook things up in the Police force, as it should have.

Mike Bush, the third Police Commissioner since 2007, said the inquiry acted as a catalyst for reform.

“We’re now a very, very victim-focused organisation. We’re focused on being very high performing and we have excellent values that sit as the foundation of the New Zealand Police.”

He said the public could have confidence that complaints would be dealt with appropriately.

“If there are any complaints made, in regards to sexual complaints, whether it’s involving our staff or others, we act with absolute urgency, absolute transparency and absolute professionalism with the victim at the heart of everything we do.”

Making complaints of sexual assault is still not easy, but at least now the Police will take them seriously and deal with them much more appropriately.

Independent Police Conduct Authority chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said in a statement that it appeared the police had taken the recommendations very seriously.

“There is no doubt the genuine efforts that have been made to achieve the progress which has been reported.”

Dame Margaret says that since here inquiry there has been a huge cultural change in the Police Force.

“The Commissioner wasn’t always aware of what was happening out in the regions and there had been a culture of tending not to deal with things. But that has all changed.”

“There’s the observing public that take note of this.. and if they were aware of this sort of thing now.. they would be blowing the whistle very smartly I believe.

“I don’t think communities would tolerate that sort of behaviour today.”

There is much less open community tolerance of sexual crime now, and there needs to be zero tolerance of sexual offending by police officers, and zero tolerance of inappropriate handling of sexual assault complaints.

Reaction to Family and Whanau Violence Bill

The Family and Whanau Violence Bill that was introduced into Parliament yesterday.

Family violence is a big issue. Violence not only affects the well being of adults and children in families, it has adverse flow on effects in health, education, crime, imprisonment rates and employment.

I can’t find any reaction from Labour.

Green MP Jan Logie in Stuff – Overhaul of family violence laws goes before Parliament:

Green Party women’s spokeswoman Jan Logie said the Government’s reforms were “an important first step”, but she still had concerns about inconsistencies in ensuring the safety of children.

Logie wanted the reinstatement of the Bristol clause, which would refuse abusive former partners access to their children until their safety was assured, and was also concerned about a lack of funding for support services like Women’s Refuge.

“If we’re going to be asking these organisations to do this extra service and they’re struggling to stay open and meet the demand, then it’s not going to work.”

Justice Minister Amy Adams…

…said the safety of children was an “absolutely paramount consideration” both in existing law and the family violence reforms.

“We’ve done a lot more in these reforms, but broadly speaking, the underlying rationale still remains, which…has always and continues to put the safety of children right at the forefront of decision-making.”

Then-Prime Minister John Key announced the overhaul last September…

…saying the Government would not “shy away” from tackling family violence.

“The challenge of reducing family violence lies with all of us, with the Government, the police, social agencies and with everyone who knows that violence is occurring.”

Police Commissioner:

At the time, the announcement was welcomed by Police Commissioner Mike Bush, who said being able to identify family violence offenders more easily would make it easier for police to provide support.

Women’s Refuge media release:


Women’s Refuge welcomes The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill

The introduction of the much anticipated Family and Whānau violence legislation has been warmly welcomed by family violence organisation Women’s Refuge. The legislation introduced to parliament today places a far greater emphasis upon victim safety – a long overdue and applauded move. This change will see the justice sector required to place victim safety at the heart of much of their decision making, especially in to care of children and bail issues.

Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury says “we are very pleased to see the government has taken seriously the concerns and suggestions from those working at the coal face in crafting this comprehensive piece of family violence legislation; the strong emphasis on the safety of victims and their children is a great move”

Under the proposed legislation, processes around the granting and policing of Protection Orders by the Courts have been significantly strengthened. Information including risk factor information will now be made available to Police Districts when an Order is granted and breaches of Protection Orders will now be treated as aggravating factors at sentencing. In addition all bail applications before the Court must include careful consideration of victim safety.

“Incidents of family violence and abuse including breaches of Protection Orders are rarely isolated or ‘one off’ incidents, they are deliberate and frequently repeated. To see this reflected in the way the courts sentence is a significant step towards ensuring a victim’s safety is paramount”

Legislation changes will also include better recording and acknowledgement of family violence, better information sharing provisions between government and family violence agencies, the introduction of a code of practice across the sector, and the inclusion of new classes of offences. While Women’s Refuge has yet to see the details of all of these, they are positive about the proposed changes.

“We are pleased to see focused attention to strangulation and marriage by coercion with the introduction of these new offences. The inclusion of animal abuse in the new definition is also extremely pleasing as we know that threats of harm to pets are a frequent control tactic utilised by perpetrators; to see this explicitly recognised is a great step forward.”

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill was introduced to Parliament today to overhaul the Domestic Violence Act, amend five Acts and make consequential changes to over thirty pieces of law.

34 year old offence

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted a 34 year old conviction for drink driving while he was a constable. It was dealt with at the time in the ways of the time. I don’t see why it is a big deal it is now.

I think that by then – about 1983 – I was fairly responsible with drink driving, but in the decade before that I was a part of a widespread problem that killed and maimed many people. I was very lucky to survive, as were many many others.

Speaking out on family violence

Continuing on their series today NZ Herald quotes a number of people including Police Commissioner Mike Bush, Police Minister Judith Collins, Andrew Little plus a few actors.

family_violence_article_banner

Family violence: New Zealanders speak out

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. Eighty per cent of incidents go unreported — so what we know of family violence in our community is barely the tip of the iceberg.

Today is the final day of We’re Better Than This, a week-long series on family violence.

Our aim is to raise awareness, to educate, to give an insight into the victims and perpetrators. We want to encourage victims to have the strength to speak out, and abusers the courage to change their behaviour.

Take a stand – NZ is #BetterThanThis

So here’s a prompt for Your NZers to speak out.

Speak out on family violence

The NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Police Commissioners from across Australia have launched a joint Leadership Statement and Policing Principles for Protecting Women and Children from Family Violence.

The Police Commissioners have called on the community to challenge behaviour that turns a blind eye to family violence and attitudes which reflect an endemic disrespect of women.

“Police are committed to doing everything in their power to prevent family violence, protect victims and hold perpetrators to account,” says Commissioner Mike Bush.

“But Police cannot prevent family violence on their own. Police Commissioners are calling on the community to act.

“In New Zealand, on average Police respond to a family violence incident every 5 minutes. The statistics are appalling and a stark reminder of how much work we need to do. But we can’t do it alone.

“We need to work together as a community to challenge behaviours and attitudes that condone violence or sexism. We are asking the community to stand up and speak out.

“People often make excuses for violence and police hear these every day. It is never a victim’s fault. It is never ok to use violence and we won’t accept it.

“Living free from violence is everyone’s right and reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility.”

This also applies to commenting here and elsewhere online.

Robust argument is encouraged here, but personal attacks and abusing people (a form of violence), and showing disrespect for gender, racial or religious groups, are not wanted here.

I’m not always on hand to challenge violent and abusive behaviour but the community usually does a good job of stepping in and responding appropriately. Thanks for your help with that. Respectful debate is a joint effort.

Rephrasing the last paragraph from the police statement:

“Commenting free from violence is everyone’s right
and reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility.”

Getting help on violence

 

Police now accused of ‘Dirty Politics’ and lying

Resorting to claiming everything disagreed with is due to ‘Dirty Politics’ continues unabated. The reported review of Campbell Live has been claimed to be dirty politics.

And now the police response to criticism by political scientist Bryce Edwards has been labeled ‘Dirty Politics’ and the Police Commissioner has been accused making things up ‘dodgy facts’ and lying.

It seems like that left wing activists have no positive politics to promote so they resort to claiming everything they see as against them is dirty politics.

Edwards wrote in NZ Herald that NZ police are failing the public:

The failure of the police

A lengthy catalogue of failure, embarrassment and injustice has been building on the police scorecard in recent years.

Other serious failings have plagued the police, including official criticisms for numerous deaths in police custody, involving inadequate duty of care or overly vigorous restraint. Likewise, police use of firearms, Tasers and high-speed pursuits — with deadly consequences — have indicated an often-cavalier approach.

Of course there are failings in the Police Force but that has to be balanced against the successes. There’s always room for improvement – substantial improvement is some areas like sexual abuse crime but they are slowly changing their culture there – but they are one of the best police forces in the world.

The Herald give a right of reply –  Police Commissioner Mike Bush: In defence of New Zealand’s defenders

Last week, Bryce Edwards argued police were failing the public. Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the force is earning trust every day

I challenge Dr Bryce Edwards to get out from behind his desk and see first-hand the outstanding work 12,000 New Zealand Police staff do every day.

I have no doubt this would give him a better-informed picture of modern policing, rather than re-visiting a selective handful of high-profile issues dating back over the past 50 years.

Space does not allow me to respond point-by-point to his assertions, nor am I in a position to re-litigate the historic cases.

I can, however, say he grossly misrepresents New Zealand Police, particularly our victim-focused frontline staff who work tirelessly every day to prevent crime and deal with the worst behaviour in our communities.

He concludes with:

I will leave the final word to a young constable who contacted me directly after reading the article.

He represents the New Zealand Police of today, not 50 years ago.

“As a cop who is 2-years in, I’m learning to tolerate negative and inaccurate media reporting. But this article is the worst I’ve read since joining.

“It just bugs me that my colleagues and I bust our guts to catch criminals and help victims, yet all we get is negative publicity. Having said that I’m still loving the job.”

Policing is a very difficult job deal with the worst that happens in our society.They mostly do a very hard job well.

There is some cause for real concern and Edwards highlighted some of this, but it was perhaps too harsh. Reality probably lies somewhere between what Edwards and Bush have said, with the problems being a minority blemish on a huge job usually done reasonably well.

But ‘Blip’ at The Standard (who is a Labour party member and activist) has posted A police investigation – Part One in which he accuses Mike Bush of fabricating claims and doing Dirty Politics.

The “comms team” over at the New Zealand police has penned a typical “Dirty Politics” response to a recent New Zealand Herald article by Bryce Edwards. Complete with gratuitous ad homs, dodgy facts, and an emotional quote from a non-existent police officer to back-up Commissioner Mike Bush’s plaintive whine,

That’s just the opening attack paragraph. Blip is doing the dirty here.

He has claimed:

  • That it was done by “comms team” over at the New Zealand police” and doesn’t attribute it to the Police Commissioner.
  • It was typical ‘Dirty Politics’.
  • Complete with “gratuitous ad hom”
  • Dodgy facts.
  • An emotional quote from a non-existent police officer.

Ironic that Blip claims ‘dodgy facts’ and then makes a totally unsubstantiated claim about ” a non-existent police officer”. If I challenged that claim at The Standard it’s likely I would be banned pending provision of proof that Blip was wrong, that’s what has happened a number of times there in the past.

The culture of FAIL which has now infested the police from the top down has been, National Ltd™ would have us believe, is just a series of “operational issues” about which it can do nothing.

Blip tries to portray a plague of problems with the police being National’s fault – “culture of FAIL which has now infested the police”. That’s political nonsense.

It’s Blip who is playing dirty politics. And any substantial criticism of him is likely to be scared off by the author lie protection ‘moderation’ farce run by Lynn Prentice or smacked down if anyone who hasn’t already been banned speaks up.

He goes on the detail…

…”a partial list of the various “operational issues” which have plagued the police since John Key finagled power back in 2008

So he has cherry picked what he claims are part of a police ‘plague’. Like:

30/03/09 – Nelson police officer Anthony Dale Bridgman is convicted of two counts of dangerous driving after he pulled out in front of two motorcyclists, seriously injuring both.

24/03/09 – Another police chase, another crash.

19/05/09 – Head of the Police Prosecution Service Superintendent Graham Thomas steps down after it is revealed that he refused to undergo a breath test.

29/05/09 IPCA states that Auckland Police officer Constable Aaron Holmes was breaking the law and ignoring official policy when he seriously injured innocent teenage Farhat Buksh.

20/06/09 – An unnamed police officer is reprimanded for writing out the employment details of a driver on a speeding ticket as “kitchen bitch”.

25/07/09 – Northland police run down two pedestrians, killing one and injuring another.

15/08/09 – An Auckland constable is suspended after it was alledged that he leaked sensitive information to help a known criminal to avoid arrest. The unnamed officer was in a squad which targets “volume crime”, in particular burglaries, and had access to the police intelligence database.

05/08/09 – Hamilton police tell a disabled man they are too busy to investigate the alleged theft of $1600.

And it goes on. And on. Some of what he lists are black marks for the police. Some of them are ridiculous criticisms.

He details FIFTY instances of ‘Another police chase, another accident”. Usually police chases occur after someone has already broken the law and they then go on to break the law, often dangerously. While police pursuit procedures are sometimes inappropriate they are dealing with people who are actively breaking the law.

There’s certainly some cause for concern in some of the listed problems but suggesting this sort of thing just began when National took office is pathetic.

This is protected commentary from an activist.

And this has mostly been applauded so far:

Jenny Kirk (also active in Labour):

Whoever put this together – BLiP ? ? maybe ? – good job, well done !

‘Just saying’:

Outstanding work, Blip

‘TC’:

Love your work and we will only get progress on police behaviour by having an independent watchdog with teeth biting them when they err.

Boys club review processes and committees have no place anymore as our force has descended into scary territory of late taking advantage of that good old mate the national party.

Tracey has questioned it mildly:

Surely the previous governments were also culpable? There is a trend, probably cos so many politicians rely on the Law and Order scare-mongering in campaigning to score points, to talk up the danger we are all in, and how hard it is for the police to do their work making it very hard to criticise the police?

But that is countered by felix:

They haven’t addressed the culture problem at all, they’ve just gotten slightly better at making the right noises in public and quite efficient at defining every transgression as an isolated incident.

This is ‘clean politics’ on the Labour left.

There will always be ongoing issues with our policing, and the Police should be held to account.

And it looks like making up claims while accusing the police and others of lying will be an ongoing issue at The Standard, with holding to account banned.

Edit: whoops, I got the name of the author wrong. This was written by BLIP, who i think often publishes a long list of ‘John key lies’ that also don’t all stack up as actual lies, just Blip’s perception of lies. See John Key’s Lies Since The 2014 Election

Also see along similar lines: National Ltd™ Battling Truth On Two Fronts

The lies and media pap being distributed for public consumption by the boys down at “The Club” are old and worn out now. Politicians, public commentators, and media heads who really think they can get away with this flimsy “rinse and repeat” justification of the indefensible are treated us with contempt.

“Flimsy “rinse and repeat”” is rather ironic.