1 Apr 2015

Speed needed in police reform, MPs told

6:48 pm on 1 April 2015

Police need to pick up the pace in their management of adult sexual assault cases and police misconduct, MPs have been told.

New Zealand Parliament

New Zealand Parliament Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Office of the Auditor-General has appeared in front of Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee saying there had been some improvement in those areas but more could be done.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush

Police Commissioner Mike Bush Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Auditor-General's report follows the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007, which found that police needed to regain public trust. It has looked at areas in which there has been insufficient progress, including police management of adult sexual assault cases, managing misconduct within police, and police culture.

Read the Auditor-General's latest report on the police's response (PDF, 306KB)

Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith said better processes have been put in place but the recent police investigation of an Auckland teenage sex ring showed how much further they still had to go.

"The changes that police have put in place are beginning to take hold and they are heading in the right direction," she said.

"Our message to them is not only be able to demonstrate change but don't take your foot off the accelerator. You need to keep going."

Ms Smith said police needed a better focus on the victims of sexual assault and better training for officers.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told the committee there was neither complacency nor a lack of focus within police about the work that needed to be done.

"There are extra staff in there from a prevention point of view and we continue to refine our case management," he said.

"It is a long journey and we're not going to sit here and say it is over. It won't be over in 2017."

Mr Bush said police were doing more training in the management of sexual abuses cases.

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse said he was satisfied with the progress made by police in their management of adult sexual assault cases, but that police must not get too complacent.

He said the sex ring case was more than three years old and changes have been made since then.

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