The UPD Independent Panel is working with Police to oversee research looking at the way in which Police engage with Māori and other communities impacted by policing, including Pasifika, disabled people, and rainbow communities.  The research programme is driven by Māori and Pasifika research methodology.

The focus is on whether outcomes are fair and equitable for all.  This is about the policing system, not about individual Police staff.

The programme provides advice, guidance, and research insights across a range of policing functions and particularly in relation to the three focus areas:

  • who Police stop and speak to and how Police engage with them
  • decision making and the application of use of force
  • charging decision making.

Research management and ethics

The UPD Research Management Committee, a sub-group of Independent Panel members, manage the research on behalf of the wider Panel. This committee is chaired by Distinguished Professor Emeritus Paul Spoonley.

The UPD Ethics Committee has been convened to give independent advice and ethics approval in relation to the methodology and approach so that the research ensures the safety of participants. The Committee is chaired by Distinguished Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou).

The Researchers

Ihi Research and Development

  • Ihi Research and Development (Ihi Research) bring expertise in Māori-centred evaluation and research methodologies, and research to support social innovation and organisational learning.
  •  Recently, Ihi Research were commissioned to undertake research into Māori involvement in State Care 1950-1999 for the Royal Commission into State Care Abuse and worked on research into Māori and Pacific Led Whānau-Centred Primary Health Care for Te Puni Kōkiri that was released by Minister Henare. 
  • Ihi Research have a focus on an organisational learning approach that could potentially transform the systems and structures that perpetuate inequity/equity in the organisation. The intention of this research is to work with Police to analyse data collected by Police that can be used to drive organisational learning and systemic change. This will ensure that long after the research concludes the mechanisms of ‘learning from feedback’ are embedded within the system.
  • Ihi Research are analysing praise, dissatisfaction, complaints, and use of force data to identify themes from different communities in interactions with Police. This will inform the themes for engagement with five communities of interest and five Police sites of innovation.

Mana Pounamu Consulting

  • Mana Pounamu Consulting is a small team of researchers with Māori, Pasifika, and policing research expertise. They recently completed an equity-focussed evaluation of the Ministry of Education’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches Programme, which explored the programme’s impact upon tamariki and mokopuna wellbeing, as well as the involvement of iwi and hapū in those spaces.
  • Mana Pounamu Consulting are identifying and exploring the mechanisms, processes, and instruments that reproduce, facilitate, or passively contribute to systemic and institutional bias and inequitable outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, within the institution of policing in Aotearoa New Zealand. To do so, they are adopting a kaupapa Māori and Pacific-based methodological approach, in exploring the first two focus areas. 
  • They are using a case study approach for several sites (selected through collaboration with the Independent Panel, Operational Advisory Group and Leads Group) that includes participant observation and interviews.  Their project is geared towards enhancing relations between the Police, and Māori and Pasifika, in identifying tangible ways Police can modify policy and practice, to deliver services in an equitable manner in future. In this, they have a specific focus on the wellbeing of frontline officers, to support staff working at the interface with communities across Aotearoa.

Donald Beasley Institute

  • The Donald Beasley Institute is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of disability research, with particular expertise in disabled-led and inclusive disability research.
  • The DBI team have a strong history of research in the area of disabled people’s access to justice. They were also centrally involved in ensuring that disabled people’s experiences of abuse in care were presented as evidence within the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care 1950-1999.
  • The Institute will explore the experiences of Police-experienced tāngata whaikaha, D/deaf and disabled people, and Police officers, in order to generate evidence and data that can be used to inform, transform, and strengthen relationships between Police and disabled people.  They will do this by:
    1. Identifying critical barriers to equity and fairness in Police decision-making from the perspectives of tāngata whaikaha, D/deaf and disabled people in relation to responding to complaints, using force, charging decisions, and upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
    2. From a Police perspective, identifying critical barriers to equity and fairness towards tāngata whaikaha, D/deaf and disabled people in Police decision-making around engagement, responding to complaints, using force, and laying charges.

Dr Paul Brown, University of Waikato

  • Dr Paul Brown is a researcher in statistics, with research interests in computational Bayesian inference and statistical modelling, specifically issues of algorithmic bias in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand and is involved in projects that include Māori data and digital sovereignty.
  • He is leading analysis of Police prosecution decision making data, followed by a stocktake and gap analysis across Police datasets.  He is also working alongside the other research teams to support with statistical analysis.

Previous Research

The programme commissioned two reviews of existing national and international literature to identify knowledge gaps and to provide Police with clear and actionable ways to improve outcomes for all communities in the future. These two reviews have informed the Panel’s approach, especially that future research be Māori-centred and explore the real-world interactions between Police and the members of a range of communities.

Details of the Research Team and Reports are as below.

Academic Literature Review

Grey Literature Review

Research Tender Process

A two-stage application process was used for the Research Tender Process.

  • First an initial Expression of Interest (EoI) and shortlisting by an Assessment Panel to tender for research. The Assessment Panel comprised members of the Independent Panel and Police National Procurement.
  • Second those who met the assessment criteria were invited to submit a detailed Request for Proposal (RfP) which covered their proposed research methodology and approach.