A discussion document on Police engagement with the community is available for public comment, as part of the government's ongoing review of the Police Act 1958.
"This is the fourth in a series of papers aimed at prompting comment on some of the more fundamental issues of New Zealand policing," says Superintendent Hamish McCardle, the officer leading the review of the Police Act.
Issues Paper 4: Community Engagement addresses the following discussion points:
Legislating for Police-community engagement
Internationally, there are a range of legislative and non-legislative models for police-community engagement. While human dynamics are at the heart of engagement, some people feel a legislative basis would provide for stronger, more enduring engagement and provide greater transparency.
Existing means of engagement
NZ Police districts and areas have well established formal and informal links, e.g. with Territorial Local Authorities. This paper asks if these established means of engagement would be strengthened or weakened if prescribed in legislation.
Local performance and accountability
NZ Police currently reports its results at a national level. Should statutory reporting of local level Police performance be put in place in New Zealand? If so, would it foster a greater sense of connection with the local community?
The role of "interested citizens"
To a certain extent, policing in New Zealand relies upon individual volunteers and volunteer agencies providing their services and support. However, would their active involvement benefit from being laid down in legislation? Or could legislation in this area 'strait-jacket' their input and involvement?
The role of the "Special Constable"
In some international jurisdictions, special constables or auxiliary police are used to boost police visibility, assist in times of crisis and build relationships with communities closed to police. In New Zealand, the ability to do this is limited. Is there support for legislation to create a new form of support role to Police?
Printed copies are available on request from the Police Act Review Team, c/- Police National Headquarters, PO Box 3017, Wellington.
Responses to Issues Paper 4 are sought by 20 November 2006 and can be made using an online form on the Police Act website; by fax to (04) 474 2342; or by post to the Police Act Review Team [at the address provided above].
For further information contact Hamish McCardle ph (021) 483 467.