Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Police Ten 7 State

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  • Ben Austin,

    How awful. It this something that the police has form for?

    In terms of support, might I suggest everyone buy his Gangs book? I shall do so now

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I might be wrong, but I don’t anticipate Jarrod’s employers at the University of Canterbury will die in a ditch over this.

    Easy for me to say, but they really should – if the University of Canterbury won’t stand up for the integrity of their academic work and public access to public data, pardon my French but what’s the fucking point of having universities at all?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Manu Caddie,

    I’ve been doing research over the last four years for a community project on gangs – Jarrod and Greg Newbold helped us with a Literature Review early on. I’ve been working closely with Police and local gangs but haven’t been denied any information requested and have had access to a wide range of ‘intelligence’. We’ve steered away from criticising Ministers other than questioning the value and motives for launching a ‘Whole of Government Action Plan on Gangs’ in the middle of the 2014 election when the officials had no idea about it. We know it’s a hugely politicised issue, so preferring to focus on what we can do without the politicians as much as possible.

    Ruatoria • Since Nov 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    It's a shame the current regime is not a fan of transparency or honesty in government, as evidenced by the way the OIA is gamed by all holders of ministerial warrants. The only way shit like this stops is if the Minister says "Oi! You! NO!"

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It’s a shame the current regime is not a fan of transparency or honesty in government, as evidenced by the way the OIA is gamed by all holders of ministerial warrants. The only way shit like this stops is if the Minister says “Oi! You! NO!"

    The current regime, Matthew? I’m glad you think the Police’s profoundly dysfunctional culture of hostility to scrutiny and criticism didn’t exist before 2008. Suspect there’s a long line of civilians, academics, journalists and ex-Police Ministers who’ve had Greg O’Connor go feral on them who’d beg to differ.

    ETA: Not that I disagree with you, Matthew, that Michael Wioodhouse should (but probably won't) be reading Mike Bush the riot act. But I think you're underestimating how deeply entrenched this crap is, and how well trained politicians of all stripes are to roll over at the threat of being called cop-haters.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Yes, as has been argued on this very blog before, the gaming of the OIA that has become standard operating procedure started in the last term of the last Labour Government. This is not a particularly current regime thing; it's a "people who govern don't seem to like to be questioned" thing.

    I guess one easy-ish[1] way to help Dr. Gilbert would be to for people to request, under the OIA, the relevant bits of information Gilbert and his researchers have asked for. I'm assuming the Police have their weird system in place for cases where researchers ask for large chunks of data (which might be troublesome to collate/collect/etc); if members of the public asked for small portions of that data under the OIA, that might end up circumventing/making a mockery of the Police's system.

    Ideally, though, the Universities should band together to protest this. Chilling effects, yadda yadda yadda.

    1. Which is to say, not that easy.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    While the explicit blacklisting clause is unusual, the rest of the research contract (including the veto on publication) sounds like standard commercial research boilerplate. The problem is that this isn't being applied to the popularity of someone's widgets, but to vital data about our society being provided by a (supposedly neutral) public body.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    the police have been imposing research contracts on anyone who seeks information that ought legally to be available to any of us under the Official Information Act.

    Given the OIA doesn’t require a requestor to explicitly invoke the OIA when requesting information (and specifically says it's not necessary), but rather defines how agencies must respond to requests, does this make it Ombudsman territory?

    Not that I’d necessarily expect much, considering the Ombudsman’s resourcing situation.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The current regime, Matthew? I’m glad you think the Police’s profoundly dysfunctional culture of hostility to scrutiny and criticism didn’t exist before 2008.

    Sorry, I missed the bit where Labour has the power to instruct the Commissioner to stop censoring academics. Could you explain it to me, please?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Its Ombudsman territory anyway. The police are scheduled in the Ombudsmen Act, and their administrative decisions can be reviewed to determine whether they are unlawful, unreasonable, unjust, oppressive, improperly discriminatory, mistaken, or just plain wrong. The question, as you point out, is whether they have sufficient resources to do this properly.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    While the explicit blacklisting clause is unusual, the rest of the research contract (including the veto on publication) sounds like standard commercial research boilerplate.

    I do stuff with Ministry of Health data - they like to see the research before it's in the news (so they don't get blind sided) but they don't put any restrictions on what I want to investigate or report. Mainly, they just want people to be qualified to interpret it since it's survey data collected in a highly complex way. From what I see, both StatsNZ and MoH are quite happy to get as much use out of their data as they can. I've also had happy dealings with MoE when I was using some of their data some years ago.

    The police stuff is not usual - especially as the work is being done for a government organisation.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    http://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/nz-police/overview
    in theory they are 'primed' to help make this the safest country.
    Committed, principled and respectful - they say so themselves...

    Principles of New Zealand Police
    Principled, effective and efficient policing services as a cornerstone of a free and democratic society under the rule of law
    Effective policing relies on a wide measure of public support and confidence
    Policing services are provided under a national framework but also have a local, community focus
    Policing services are provided in a manner that respects human rights
    Policing services are provided independently and impartially
    In providing policing services, every Police employee is required to act professionally, ethically and with integrity.

    Commitment of Service to the New Zealand public
    Our commitment to you:

    We will treat you fairly
    Our staff will be competent
    We will do what we say we’ll do
    We aim to meet your service expectations
    We will take your individual circumstances into account
    Our service will be good value for your tax dollars
    What we need from you:
    Contact us as soon as possible – the sooner the better
    Provide us with all the information that you can
    Tell us straight away about any changes to your situation
    Ask us if you need more information

    ...and frankly the more disparate eyes that parse their data, the more chance of other patterns or conclusions that can be drawn from a jealously guarded pool of information.
    Within reason of course - the police must realise that anyone is corruptible, even their own, I'd have thought Jarrod Gilbert had proved his bonafides by now, and what an ally/alternative view to have on the police's side - they're fools, denying a greater good.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Brent Edwards gets all nostalgic....

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/282617/how-cynical-has-nz-politics-become

    On top of that, ministers now have political advisers who act as intermediaries with their departments. Their role is to identify potential political fish hooks for the minister in his or her portfolio area.
    The introduction of a no-surprises policy by the previous Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has given added impetus to the process of politicisation.
    From Helen Clark's perspective, it made perfect sense to impose a degree of political management on departments so she and her government could avoid being blindsided by an issue they knew nothing about.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Jarrod Gilbert speaks to RNZ's Morning Report.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Last year, when Jarrod debunked Anne Tolley's bogus statistics about gangs and crime – and got smeared on Kiwiblog for his trouble.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Sorry, I missed the bit where Labour has the power to instruct the Commissioner to stop censoring academics. Could you explain it to me, please?

    If I ever say anything so absurd, please feel free to redeem this voucher for one free slap. But being the cynical cuss that I am, the most shocking things about Jarrod's column is that he wrote it in the first place and the Herald published it. It's naive in the extreme to think the Police don't have a profound and long-standing culture of hostility to scrutiny and a hell of a lot of enablers that didn't magically appear after the 2008 election.

    Very few journos will ever say so on the record, for obvious reasons, but reality shows aren't the only place where Police co-operation comes with strings attached. Try being effective on the courts or crime rounds when you're tagged as having an "attitude problem" towards the Police, and if your calls are being answered at all its long after your more agreeable colleagues have their copy handed to them. There's a constant and real tension there, and while a certain amount of it is just part of the job (everyone's trying to game you for favorable coverage, so deal with it) I don't think it's acceptable from the Police any more than you do.

    And I also have a certain degree of sympathy for any poor bastard (or bitch) who ends up with the Police portfolio, not matter what tint the government is. Just try suggesting the Police aren't flawless paragons when you've got a Greg O'Connor lurking in the wings to smear even the mildest critic as a crim-coddling cop-hater. It would take real political courage to do that with any consistency, and I'm not seeing a lot of that anywhere. (Count this as one of the few occasions I'd be happy to be proved wrong.)

    As I said before, I agree with you that the Police Commissioner should be in the Minister's office getting his knuckles rapped. And not for the first time. But I don't think even beginning to wind back a toxic Police culture will be that easy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    The police do a shit job that is critical to society. They need the support and trust of the public.

    Blocking academic research and perverting the OIA system undermines that trust in a critical area.

    You don't get a better police force by preventing research into the success of their methods.

    As a scientist and a citizen I strongly object to this behaviour by the police. Our politicians need to step in and remind the leaders of the police that they work for the public, we pay their salaries and submit to their authority IF AND ONLY IF we trust them. An open and honest assessment of their performance by independent academics is essential to that trust.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle,

    I am shocked by this report.

    The Police hold a lot of power in our society and the need for transparency and oversight is accordingly great. The Police actions are contrary to the principles of open government and the Official Information Act and must cease immediately.

    I am even more concerned that multiple people in the Police hierarchy have conceived of, approved of, and applied these policies. By blocking transparency and seeking to control what is said about them, they have demonstrated contempt for democratic government. They have shown that they are not fit to hold their positions.

    The Police Minister must take strong action to fix this problem and clean the rot out of the Police.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    the rest of the research contract (including the veto on publication) sounds like standard commercial research boilerplate.

    Except the police force is not a commercial company. They are public servants who fulfill a very specific and privileged role in society. That role needs constant scrutiny because of the power that the police have.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    One other thing, I rag on the Herald a lot, and it richly deserves ever drop of bile so I'm very happy to extend well-earned kudos to them for publishing Jarrod Gilbert's column at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to mpledger,

    The police stuff is not usual – especially as the work is being done for a government organisation.

    It's apparently something they do the same to people who have worked in prisons, too. From a friend who's a sometime clinical psychologist:

    A variation of the same thing but if you've worked in a mental health capacity within the prison system the Police also pull the same thing "your association with gangs" It has happened to many of my peers.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Russell Brown,

    …and got smeared on Kiwiblog for his trouble….

    By this stage, of course, Farrar almost certainly knew he was wrong, but right and wrong is not his concern. His only concern is a political agenda – protect and promote the National party, no matter what the truth is. Deceive and mislead the public, shut up opponents, bury the truth, twist the facts…

    Sound like John Key’s governments MO summed up in a sentence… Didn’t John key make a point of thanking Farrar by name and saying he calls the guy every day?

    The immorality of Farrar’s political canker is reaching deep into our civil society, it seems.

    But what to do about it? The police, with the support of a crime obsessed media and “tough on crime” politicians, have been progressively freed of all checks and balances. This government has systematically starved the Ombudsman’s office in order to supporess the truth. The minister long ago became the minister for police rather than of police and the police association was radicalised under the extemist leadership of Greg O’Conner.

    The only way ahead is to demand the proper funding of the ombudsmen, and seek a strengthening of the OIA in relation to research requests.

    But oh yes… ISIS.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …and frankly the more disparate eyes that parse their data, the more chance of other patterns or conclusions that can be drawn from a jealously guarded pool of information.

    This is the really bewildering thing. You'd think the Police of all people would welcome sound research informing evidence-based policy that works. OK, will it contain things that are hard to hear or politically embarrassing? Damn near certainly, but this is where you put on your blue serge grown-up pants, deal with it and get on with your job.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    for publishing Jarrod Gilbert’s column at all.

    Not only did they publish his column, David Fisher also wrote a genuine article.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Price,

    I'm pretty shocked about this too, though it's not news that the Police are dreadful at complying with their Official Information Act obligations. They are routinely one of the most complained about organisations in the Ombudsmen's OIA stats. When I discuss OIA issues with requesters, the Police are almost always mentioned as one of the worst agencies at complying. It's beyond irony.
    While you can complain to the Ombudsmen that your OIA request has been improperly refused or delayed by the Police, or about the conditions or charges imposed, I'm afraid NoRightTurn is wrong to suggest that the Police are subject to the Ombudsmen's general jurisdiction to investigate administrative wrongdoing. They are not. That's the job of the Independent Police Conduct Authority. That's why the Ombudsmen's current general review of compliance with the OIA does not include Police performance, woeful though it is. Which is a shame, because someone really needs to give them a shake-up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report Reply

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