The Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand has released the following:
3 February 2004 - Media Statement
Commission of Inquiry to investigate Police handling of allegations
Prime Minister Helen Clark has announced that the government will establish a Commission of Inquiry in response to the recent allegations about the Police.
"The allegations are extremely serious, and suggest a systemic cover-up of misbehaviour by the Police. In addition, they raise questions about the culture within the Police," Helen Clark said.
"New Zealanders are entitled to have confidence in the Police, and to have the reassurance that the Police will thoroughly investigate allegations of criminal behaviour by members of the Police. That confidence can be restored only by a thorough and independent review of all the circumstances.
"News of these allegations became public on Saturday. The Police Commissioner has already announced that he has investigations underway into the alleged criminal offending. That is appropriate as the Police always have an obligation to investigate allegations of serious crime.
"For its part, the government is concerned to ensure that there is a full, independent investigation into the way in which the Police dealt with these allegations previously, and into the culture within the Police in relation to the type of behaviour alleged.
"The government considers that the Police Complaints Authority is not well placed to conduct such an inquiry in this instance and accordingly Ministers have decided today to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry.
"The Inquiry will focus on issues of process and culture. It will have a comprehensive brief, including the ability to make recommendations to avoid such circumstances arising in the future.
"The Inquiry will not make findings about the truth or falsity of the allegations of rape or other criminal offending.
"It will take at least a couple of weeks to draft terms of reference, to identify an appropriate person to head the Inquiry and to formally constitute the Commission of Inquiry," Helen Clark said.