Police and prisoner numbers

The new Government aims to increase police numbers and decrease prisoner numbers.

From the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

Strive towards adding 1800 new Police officers over three years and commit to a serious focus on combating organised crime and drugs.

Earlier this year the previous government had already committed to increasing police numbers:  Ten per cent more police to reduce crime

A $503 million package which includes increasing police staff and resources across the country will reduce crime and make our communities safer.

Police Minister Paula Bennett says the Safer Communities package announced today by the Prime Minister will provide an additional 1125 police staff over the next four years, including 880 sworn police officers.

I presume the new Government’s plans are on top of this. They also want to decrease prisoner numbers, which could be difficult if more police catch more criminals.

NZ Herald:  Govt wants to axe new prison and lower prison muster

Labour’s target is 30 per cent drop in prisoner numbers in 15 years.

The Labour-led Government wants to put the brakes on the burgeoning prison muster so it can axe plans for a new 1500-bed prison – expected to cost close to $1 billion.

The increase in remand prisoners has put pressure on the prison population in recent years and Corrections is now looming as a political battleground, with Opposition leader Bill English warning that it will test the Government.

The number of prisoners has risen since new laws in 2013 that made it tougher to grant bail, roughly doubling the number of remand prisoners to about 3000 today.

The prison muster yesterday was 10,457, well above justice sector forecasts and expected to keep rising.

Even if more police will eventually reduce crime the prisoner numbers are a problem now.

Last year the previous Government unveiled plans to add 1800 prison beds at a cost of $1 billion, with more double bunking in Ngawha Prison, a new 245-bed block in Mt Eden Prison, and the new 1500-bed prison.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said it was his “strong preference” not to build a new prison, which he called a symbol of the “abject failure of our criminal justice system”.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis echoed this sentiment, adding that construction work had yet to begin.

“I’m looking at all options to reduce the prison muster, so that it doesn’t end up being built. Officials are being sent away to work out what will have an immediate impact.

“We’ll rule out the stuff that won’t make New Zealand safer.”

Labour wants to lower the prison population by 30 per cent in 15 years, a target Little described as “ambitious”.

Little said he had no plans to revisit the bail laws, switching the focus to crime prevention, prisoner rehabilitation, and rolling out more therapeutic courts, which can divert offenders away from jail and into treatment if they plead guilty.

While all laudable goals none of that is likely to be easy or quick. They have to somehow deal with growing prisoner numbers now while trying to eventually reduce crime.

 

Dotcom settlement over police misconduct

A sudden splurge of Kim Dotcom news – he has announced he has settled with the police over misconduct over the raid – I think this is fair enough as the police seemed to take measures that were unjustified in the extent they went to.


Dotcoms Announce Settlement of Lawsuit Against New Zealand Police for Unreasonable Conduct During January 2012 Raid

Auckland, New Zealand, 3 November, 2017

Kim Dotcom and Mona Dotcom announce that they have resolved their lawsuit against the New Zealand Police in which the Dotcoms sought a remedy for their claim about the unreasonable use of force in the military-style raid of their family home in January of 2012. The Dotcoms also raised the concern that their home and family had been under intrusive visual surveillance by the Police which had not been authorised by the Court.

The complaint arose from events occurring in the early morning of January 20, 2012, when 72 police officers including the heavily armed Special Tactics Group (STG) and the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) descended on the Dotcoms’ family home in Coatesville to make a number of arrests at the request of the United States in an Internet copyright matter. Landing two helicopters just outside the family home, the entry team sprang to action, wielding M4 Bushmaster rifles.

The forces entered the Dotcom home and held the Dotcom family, staff and guests at gunpoint. The officers caused considerable damage to the Dotcom property as they stormed through the house, around the grounds and over the roof. Mona Dotcom, who was 7 months pregnant with twins, and the Dotcom children were traumatised. Neither the Dotcoms nor their guests were allowed to talk to each other or their lawyers for an unreasonable period.

The United States’ basis for the raid, online copyright infringement, is not even a crime in New Zealand.

The lawsuit against the New Zealand Police sought an acknowledgment of the harm caused to the Dotcom family, including the children, Mona and Kim.

“Today, Mona and I are glad to reach a confidential settlement of our case against the New Zealand Police. We have respect for the Police in this country. They work hard and have, with this one exception, treated me and my family with courtesy and respect. We were shocked at the uncharacteristic handling of my arrest for a non-violent Internet copyright infringement charge brought by the United States, which is not even a crime in New Zealand. They could have easily knocked at our door at a reasonable hour and advised me of my arrest. Instead, due to what I believe was a misguided desire to cater to the United States authorities and special interests in Hollywood, a simple arrest became a Hollywood-style publicity stunt tailored to appease US authorities. The New Zealand Police we know do not carry guns. They try to resolve matters in a non-violent manner, unlike what we see from the United States. We are sad that our officers, good people simply doing their job, were tainted by US priorities and arrogance.” says Kim Dotcom. “We sued the Police because we believed their military-style raid on a family with children in a non-violent case went far beyond what a civilised community should expect from its police force. New Zealanders deserve and should expect better.”

Kim Dotcom further stated, “until recently, Mona and I wanted vindication in the High Court so that those involved would take responsibility for the raid. We have taken time to consider whether a trial would be in the best interests of our family. The New Zealand Government has recently changed for the better. Our children are now settled and integrated safely here into their community and they love it. We do not want to relive past events. We do not want to disrupt our children’s new lives. We do not want to revictimise them. We want them to grow up happy. That is why we chose New Zealand to be our family home in the first place. We are fortunate to live here. Under the totality of the circumstances, we thought settlement was best for our children.”

Ron Mansfield, New Zealand counsel for the Dotcoms, stated, “the Dotcoms hope that this action has brought the Police misconduct to everyone’s attention and that it has led to change in the way Police will handle future similar operations. The misconduct of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which accepts that it also unlawfully spied on the Dotcom family by the interception of private communications over an extended period, remains before the Court. The GCSB refuses to disclose what it did or the actual private communications it stole. The Dotcoms understandably believe that they are entitled to know this. That action is pending appeal in the Court of Appeal.”


NZ Herald repeat most of this but add:

The settlement came after a damages claim was filed with the High Court over what was considered an “unreasonable” use of force when the anti-terrorism Special Tactics Group raided his $30 million mansion in January 2012.

The raid was part of a worldwide FBI operation to take down Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing website which was claimed to be at the centre of a massive criminal copyright operation.

Dotcom and three others were arrested and await extradition to the United States on charges which could land them in prison for decades.

The NZ Herald has learned earlier settlements were reached between police and others arrested, including Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann.

It was believed their settlements were six-figure sums and it is likely Dotcom would seek more as the main target in the raid.

 

No charges after Todd Barclay re-investigation

The police say they have no new evidence of that justifies re-opening the case against ex-MP Todd Barclay so no charges will be laid.

A number of news reports implied that this decision was because Barclay again refused to talk to the police, but as for anyone else that’s his right and a right that is commonly claimed on legal advice.

It wasn’t the reason for no charges being laid, as with any case police have to find sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution and they say they have not been able to do that. New information given to them and new interviews did not make a viable case.

Stuff:  No charges from Todd Barclay re-investigation – police

Police reopened an investigation into allegations Barclay, the former MP for Clutha-Southland, illegally recorded a staff-member after it emerged in June that former prime minister Bill English had been a key witness in the case.

Police have now closed the case as they have insufficient evidence.

“After a thorough review of all information available to us, including legal advice both internal and from Crown Law, plus consideration of the Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines, Police has (sic) determined that there is no change to the outcome of the original investigation,” Assistant Commissioner (Investigations) Richard Chambers said.

Police rejected criticisms of the initial investigation and any claim that witnesses had been coerced.

“We are aware that the original investigation has been subject to some criticism,” Chambers said.

“While we recognise the strong interest in this matter, the foundation of any decision to seek warrants or to prosecute is always the evidence available to us.”

“Speculation, hearsay and third party information does not in itself constitute such evidence.”

Neither do concerted attempts to score political hits with no evidence.

Stuff details the whole shemozzle:  How the Todd Barclay story got here

 

The Bradbury story: ‘unlawful’ access of bank records

This would appear to be big Bomber story, from NZH: Hunt for Rawshark sees police rapped again for ‘unlawful’ search of banking records

Police have again been caught unlawfully harvesting private banking information in the search for the hacker behind the Dirty Politics book.

This time it is activist and journalist Martyn Bradbury who has been drawn into the police investigation.

And this time police inquiries are said to have had an awful impact, leading to two suicidal episodes.

Bradbury’s is the latest case of police unlawfully exploiting the Privacy Act to get personal banking information without getting a court order.

The practice has been ruled unlawful after Bradbury – who runs The Daily Blog website – complained to the Privacy Commissioner.

Bradbury told the NZ Herald he uncovered the police probe after being rejected for credit by his bank.

He said he became suspicious because the “extensions of credit weren’t extravagant and the manner in which the declines occurred just seemed odd”.

When Bradbury sought information through the Privacy Act, he discovered that detectives working on the Rawshark case had made a request for his records saying they were investigating “computer fraud”.

Bradbury had publicly indicated some knowledge of the Rawshark hack of Slater so I guess the Police could have seen him as possibly involved, but illegal access of his bank accounts seems excessive.

Detectives did so quoting a section of the Privacy Act allowing those holding data to ignore people’s privacy if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe it would help “maintenance of the law”.

The ruling from Privacy Commissioner John Edwards found police gave Bradbury’s bank no information to make an assessment of whether the request was “reasonable”.

Edwards rejected police submissions that the request only lacked supporting information for the bank to make a proper decision.

Even if police had provided the information, Edwards said detectives “were not justified” in asking for the banking records without a legal order from a judge.

“It is our view the request for your banking records, given their sensitivity, ought to have been placed before a judicial officer for decision on whether it met the grounds for a production order.”

He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

The request for information was “unlawful” because it was constituted a “search” and the Bill of Rights stated “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search”.

He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

The request for information was “unlawful” because it was constituted a “search” and the Bill of Rights stated “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search”.

Bradbury, who insisted he has no connection to or knowledge of the hacking of Slater’s computers, said: “They should have taken it to a judge and got a warrant.”

Instead, they sought “everything they could get their hands on”.

Yes, the police should have got a warrant.

But Bradbury’s claim he had no knowledge of the hacking is interesting. I posted this in October 2014: On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics

Two days before the launch of Hager’s book left wing activist, blogger and big noter Martyn Bradbury posted:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

When his “guesses” were queried he responded on Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

It is hard to know whether his ‘guesses’ were simply that and he had only vague knowledge, or if they were attempts to disguise any connection to the hack. Bradbury is fairly well known to claim or imply more inside knowledge than anyone trusts him with.

The police may or may not have known of Bradbury’s blowhardness.

Bradbury said the credit requests were to help keep The Daily Blog going and getting knocked back triggered a huge depressive episode.

He said he had lived with depression since suffering a brain injury aged 18 from a car accident.

“Over the last five years that depression has become very difficult to manage and the financial stress of not extending credit all combined in late 2016 in two suicidal episodes.

“When your little black dog morphs and mutates into a huge black bear, you’re looking for anything that will ease the anguish and pain.”

Oh jeez. It’s hard to know what to think or feel about this.

Felix Geiringer, the barrister who acted for Hager overturning the police search warrant, said it was hard to understand any “credible basis” for including Bradbury in the Rawshark inquiry.

He said police appeared to have sought Bradbury’s records to try and establish the hacker was paid to carry out the hack. “There’s no evidence that took place in this case. There’s none.”

Geiringer said Bradbury – like Hager – was a journalist which conveyed specific protections around searches.

Bradbury is a sort of a journalist, similar to Cameron Slater – they investigate and they publish, but they are also political activists and as far as I understand they have both received payment for political work, so journalism and activism get muddy.

It was the same issue which the High Court rapped police in the Hager case, he said.

The NZ Herald has previously shown how police have used the Privacy Act exploit to gain banking details of potentially thousands of people without any court or judicial order – and that at least one bank has used it to red-flag customers.

The practice was widespread when the NZ Herald exposed it in 2013 and saw police headquarters offer assurances that it would not be used to access detailed banking records.

Yet police continued to use the exploit, not only in the Rawshark investigation against Nicky Hager, but in cases identified across the country.

I presume the investigation of Bradbury was some time ago, the Police say “no officers are currently assigned to the investigation” of the Rawshark hack.

I hope Police practices regarding seeking bank records has improved somewhat.


Bradbury took his story to the herald but is still claiming ‘exclusive’ on posts at The Daily Blog.

EXCLUSIVE: The Rawshark Investigation & secret Police mass surveillance program against 100 000 NZers

The NZ Police have lied about the scope of their investigation into who hacked Cameron Slater’s computer. It was originally just Nicky Hager, but it also included myself and possibly several other left wing activists and senior figures within the political left including the Labour Party.

EXCLUSIVE: My case against a secret NZ Police investigation that breached my privacy and my civil rights

It’s not important to like or dislike my work, but I think we can all agree that allowing the Police to conduct secret investigations into activists and political bloggers that then damage their reputation negatively based on spurious grounds isn’t acceptable in a liberal democracy.

Let me start by categorically stating, I never hacked Cameron Slater’s computer and have no idea who hacked Cameron Slater’s computer for the information that appeared in Nicky Hager’s book, ‘Dirty Politics’.

 

Police recently visited Whangarei killer

In a new development in the Whangarei shooting, in which two female property inspectors were shot dead and a maintenance man injured, the police have revealed that they visited the property last month.

RNZ:  Whangarei shooting: Police recently visited killer

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said police investigated a structure being built there last month, and were told it was to be used for target practice.

Police decided it was a tenancy matter, rather than one for them.

Police said the visit to the property formed part of the ongoing investigation into Patterson’s background.

There have been reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

People using firearms in rural areas is common. There can be many legitimate and innocent reasons for using them.

I wouldn’t mind if police asked to see my firearms license just as a check.

Perhaps if there are any checks on rural properties it should include a check of whether firearms are present and whether there are firearms licenses.

IPCA clear Police on Barclay investigation

At least one complaint was made to the Independent Police Complaints Authority about the police investigation into Todd Barclay in Clutha-Southland. The IPCA has cleared the police.

RNZ: IPCA won’t pursue Barclay investigation complaint

The police watchdog has decided not to pursue a complaint about the handling of last year’s investigation into embattled Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay.

No charges were laid after several months of inquiries into a recording Mr Barclay was alleged to have made of a staffer in the Gore electorate office.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) received a complaint in June, but said it was satisfied there was no misconduct or neglect by police investigating the case.

It has notified the complainant and the Police Commissioner, and has closed its file.

At the time Mr Barclay declined to co-operate with the police investigation, and it has since been reopened.

The investigation was reopened after Barclay and Bill English made public statements about what happened.

Some people will never have been happy with an outcome like this. Winston Peters has already had a grizzle about it.

Stuff: IPCA clear police of any wrong doing in the handling of the Todd Barclay secret recording investigation

“In my view, the police haven’t satisfactorily answered why they didn’t pursue the case. They had complaints of a recording, they had a complainant and to the best of my knowledge we have not been told who they talked to or didn’t talk to,” Peters said.

“But to say they’re satisfied there was no misconduct is an extraordinary statement to make.”

It’s not extraordinary if they investigated thoroughly and that was the conclusion they came to.

IPCA complaint laid over Barclay investigation

Someone has laid a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority over the handling of the inquiry into Todd Barclay last year.

The Police had reopened their inquiry last week.

Stuff:  Complaint over police handling of Todd Barclay case received by Independent Police Conduct Authority

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has received a complaint about police handling of the original investigation into the allegations of embattled National MP Todd Barclay’s involvement in a secret taping scandal.

Last week police re-opened the case and authority case resolution manager Sarah Goodall said the complaint about the original investigation was received on June 21, sparked by renewed media interest in the case.

It came from someone not personally involved in the case and was thus classified as a “principled complaint,” Goodall said.

“We are currently assessing information in accordance with our normal processes and determining what, if any, action to take,” Goodall said.

I really don’t know what the point of this complaint is. Trying to make a point or pressure the Police into doing more when inquiring into matters involving politicians?

This complaint shouldn’t affect the current inquiry, unless the aim is to apply more pressure on the Police.

Barclay has already lost his political career.  There has already been a confidential employment settlement that seems to have involved a substantial sum of money.

The recording allegation hardly seems to be a major crime – many didn’t realise it was a crime. Video recordings are legal, audio are illegal in some circumstances.

Law on audio and video recordings

The Todd Barclay saga, in which the Police decided not to prosecute Barclay for making audio recordings of an employee in his electorate office in Gore (the Police are currently reviewing that decision) has raised the issue of what can and can’t be legally recorded.

Video recordings are legal:

Surveillance video is common in public and in work places.

The Privacy Commission website states that it is “usually unfair to record someone without telling them”.

Can I record someone without telling them?

Whether making an audio or visual recording of someone without telling them will breach the Privacy Act will depend on the circumstances in each case. In particular, it will depend on who is making the recording and why they are making it.

If you are an individual and you are making a recording in relation to you own personal, domestic or household affairs (for instance you’re recording a personal conversation with a friend), there is an exception which says that, generally, the Privacy Act won’t apply to what you do.

However, if you collect, use or disclose personal information in a way which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, this exception will not apply. In other words, someone could make a complaint about you.

If you are making the recording for any reason, other than your own domestic, personal or household affairs, the general rules about collection of personal information will apply. In particular, it’s usually unfair to record someone without telling them.

You should also keep in mind that there may be other laws which apply apart from the Privacy Act – for instance, recording a private conversation that you’re not involved in will often be a crime.

That seems to be what Barclay was investigated for.

On usually unfair to record someone without telling them:

Can an agency make a video or audio recording of me without telling me?

Generally speaking, an agency must tell you if it is collecting your personal information.

However, there are some cases where an agency could collect your information without telling you. For instance, it might not have to tell you it was collecting your information if this would undermine the agency’s purpose for collecting the information in the first place, or if it would endanger the safety of any individual.

If you believe an agency has collected your information without telling you, we suggest that you contact the agency and ask to speak to their privacy officer to see if you can resolve any concerns you have about this directly.

If you’re not able to resolve your concerns, and you believe you have suffered some sort of harm as a result of the collection of your information, you can make a complaint to us.

Or make a complaint to the Police, as Glenys Dickson did in the Barclay case.

Andrew Geddis comments on this in It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup

…it’s not an offence to record yourself in conversation with others, even if they don’t know you are doing so. Nor is it an offence to record other people without their knowledge if they are not engaged in a “private communication”.

But the allegation against Barclay is that he left a dictaphone running when he wasn’t in his office so as to record what Dickson was saying in conversations with constituents.

Also in Police take another look at Barclay secret recording investigation

Geddis said the alleged breach in law on which Barclay was investigated needed to tick three boxes to be proved.

The first was there needed to be a recording with an “interception device”, as the law phrased. In this case, he said, the “device” was alleged to be a dictaphone.

Then it needed to be proved it was a private conversation – in this case, said to be the electorate office where Dickson worked.

The third element was proving that the recording was made intentionally, he said.

“If you could prove all three elements, the offence carries a jailable offence of up to two years.”

Conviction to the two-year point is the trigger which forces MPs to resign from Parliament.

Steven Price at Media Law Journal (in reference to the Bradley Ambrose case):

It’s a crime to intentionally intercept a private communication using an interception device. A private communication is one that is made under circumstances that may reasonably taken to indicate that any party to it desires it remain private, but:

does not include such a communication occurring in circumstances in which any party ought reasonably to expect that the communication may be intercepted by some other person not having the express or implied consent of any party to do so.

Although a battalion of journalists were about a metre away behind a window, let’s assume that Key and Banks couldn’t reasonably expect it to be overheard, and that the circumstances indicate that both desired their conversation to remain private.

In an electorate office if the conversation was in an open office where others were present and could hear it then it may not be private. But if Dickson was the only person present then it could be private.

The only issue, then, is whether the interception was intentional. On the paper’s account, it was inadvertent. In fact, it says, the cameraman tried to retrieve his recorder before the conversation but was stopped by Key’s security folk, and didn’t know that the recording was even happening. Now, I don’t know anything more than has been reported. But I wonder whether there is room for doubt about whether the cameraman genuinely didn’t know that the conversation was being recorded.

If it could be established that he did know, then he has committed an offence.

Bill English has said (in the now public police statement) “I had a conversation with him regarding Glenys Dickson leaving his office and he said to me that he had recordings of her criticising him”.

Barclay has said “I have read and Mr English’s statement to the police and accept it.”

“Recordings” is plural. It could be difficult claiming that more than one recording was accidental.

We will find out next week what the Police decide to do and whether they re-open the case or not.

Police release Pike River footage

Police have released 13 hours of robot video footage taken inside the access tunnel of the Pike River Mine. They say there is more to come but have to sort through a lot of material stored in various formats, some of which may be subject to privacy requirements and suppression.


Police release full footage of robot which entered Pike River Mine on 15 March 2011

Friday, 5 May 2017 – Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement

Police has today released over 13 hours of video it holds which were taken by the Western Australia Water Corporation robot which entered the drift of the Pike River mine on 15 March 2011. Selected extracts from this robot footage has been featured in the media this week.

This was the fourth robot entry into the drift, and it was conducted by the Pike River Coal receivers six days after Police handed over control of the mine.

Excerpts from this video were shown at family meetings in July 2011. Relevant sections of notes from family meetings on 9 March 2011 and 16 March 2011 have also been released today, which show discussion by Pike River Coal representatives of the robot’s entry to the mine, and the outcome.

The release of this video is in response to a number of requests, including Official Information Act requests from the families and media.  Police is currently working through the remaining aspects of these various requests, which involves a large amount of imagery and video stored in different data formats and locations.  Police is also mindful of its privacy obligations regarding individuals who appear on many still images, as well as suppression of some material by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, before we can publicly release the remaining material held. We are working to do this as quickly as we can.

We reiterate that Police has been absolutely committed to transparency with the families of the Pike River miners, and no information has been deliberately withheld by Police.

It has always been our approach from the earliest phases of the operation to show imagery and share information to keep the families appraised of the situation at that point in time. Police met with the families on numerous occasions between November 2010 and September 2011 to do this. Given the very large volume of video which was passed to Police, including many hours of the empty drift, boreholes and static video or indistinct imagery, not all footage was shown to families.

As part of these meetings, all families and support people were invited to meetings on 23 and 24 July 2011 in Greymouth and Christchurch. Approximately 25 direct family members attended.   The purpose of this meeting included showing some video which had already been played at previous meetings, as well as more recent footage including some from the 15 March 2011 robot entry.

Up to eight hours of video footage from multiple sources was shown at each of these two meetings. Specific footage from the robot of 15 March 2011 shown to the families included the two workers wearing breathing apparatus in the air-lock at the entrance to the drift with the robot, the two NZ Army robots which entered the drift in November 2010, and the robot pausing to take gas and temperature readings.

Police has also been working through historic records to determine what information held by Police was made available to the Royal Commission of Inquiry. We can confirm that the entire video from the fourth robot was released by Police to the Royal Commission of Inquiry in August 2011.

VIMEO link to robot footage: https://vimeopro.com/user66181559/pike-river-mine(link is external)

Please note the 13 plus hour video is divided into a number of separate files. A small number of files are not in a consecutive time sequence, however this is exactly as they were supplied to police.  There are some blank spaces and duplicate footage, again this is exactly as supplied to Police.


See also on RNZ:  Police did not mislead Pike River families – Deputy Commissioner

The Deputy Police Commissioner has insisted police did not try to mislead the Pike River victims’ families.

Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement told Checkpoint with John Campbell excerpts from the video were shown at family meetings in 2011, including some footage of two workers wearing breathing apparatus in the air-lock at the entrance to the drift with the robot.

He said they had not tried to mislead the families.

“My view of it is that everyone was trying to do exactly the opposite, [which was] to be open and transparent,” he said.

Mr Clement said he accepted there were views held now that that was not the case.

“But I’ve spoken to the staff [involved], they’re as upset as everybody that they’re now being accused of deceiving the family members.”

Anna Osborne, widow of Milton Osborne who died in the mine, said the families were never shown any excerpts of workers inside the drift.

“We would have remembered seeing that,” she said.

She said police were engaging in damage control by publicly releasing footage taken inside the mine.

“I think because the families had received a leaked version of it and because we were making some of it public, the police and the government were quite embarrassed by it all and in the end they had to act,” Ms Osborne said.

I think it is likely that some family members and others will never be satisfied unless the bodies are retrieved, the exact cause of the disaster is proven and some one, or some people or organisations or companies or politicians, are found to be culpable and are punished.

Nash clash on police recruits

Labour’s police spokesperson Stuart Nash received a barrage of criticism for comments he made after agreeing with Police concerns about recruits who use anti-depressants, despite Nash apologising.

Stuff reported: Police, Labour defend ban of recruits on anti-depressants

Police say recruits on anti-depressants pose a risk to the police force, a view the Mental Health Foundation has slammed as unacceptable.

Marty Fox, the police national manager of wellness and safety, defended the policy preventing new recruits on anti-depressants from joining the police, and said patients on anti-depressants were in danger of “spontaneously” relapsing.

That was “a risk for NZ Police”, he said.

Nash agreed:

Stuart Nash, Labour’s spokesman for police, agreed with the policy saying it protected those with a precondition from harmful situations.

“I think there are enough people out there who would make brilliant police officers without any existing mental health condition.

“Do we want someone with an existing mental health condition in the police force, considering the high degree of stress, week-in week-out, that a lot of these officers face?

“I just think it’s a lot safer for men and women who want to become police, and for our communities, if people who want to enter the police don’t have an existing condition.”

Nash was criticised in the article:

However Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said Nash’s comments were “simple-minded and unacceptable” and those with mental illnesses often dealt with stress better than those without.

“It is doubly disappointing that a Labour Party spokesperson is trying to defend discrimination and is in fact revealing an extremely disappointing degree of ignorance about mental health.

“If they [people with mental illness] have been supported well then they will have also learned ways to manage stress in order to maintain their health and wellbeing.”

Robinson thought the reasoning was “complete gobbledegook”.

“It is not correct to say that anyone who is on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication that the aim is eventually not be on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication.

Robinson said Ministry of Health surveys indicated one in every two New Zealanders would experience a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetime.

“This is not a small number of people and it is not a small number of people who will be excluded from potentially serving in the police force.”

This criticism was picked up on in social media and Nash was slammed on Twitter. This prompted an apology in response from Nash.

This wasn’t enough for some who continued to gnash their virtual teeth. For example:

Nashgnash

That is criticism from the left.

Fair enough to criticise Nash for jumping in and commenting on a sensitive topic without doing due diligence first.

But it’s refreshing to see a politician own up toy their mistake and apologise.

Social media, and the New Zealand Twitterrati in particular, frequently pile on indiscretions and mistakes, often overstepping in attempts to ridicule, shame and silence people or stances they don’t like.

It would be a real shame if all our politicians carefully checked and sanitised everything they spoke about – there’s far too much of that as it is.

Nash stuffed up – as we all do sometimes – and owned up, which too few politicians are prepared to do, so I think he deserves some credit at least for that rather than being blasted with an ongoing barrage of abuse.

Perhaps Nash operates on his own too much. He should have learnt from this experience. I doubt whether the Twitteratti has though.