I have accepted the findings of today's Independent Police Conduct Authority report on Police handling of the alleged offending by the Roastbusters group and agree that the standard of investigation in these cases fell far short of what I and the New Zealand public rightly expect.
I am very disappointed that we let down the young women at the centre of the Roastbusters allegations. The focus of the modern New Zealand Police is putting the victims at the heart of what we do and taking a preventive approach to offending. In both these areas we did not perform to the level required and expected.
Waitemata District Commander Bill Searle is apologising publicly to the young women and their families for the deficiencies that occurred in his district.
The officers involved were highly motivated to do the right thing by the young women but individual poor practice, poor supervision and a lack of focus on connecting the various activities of the young men created the opposite effect.
Police have worked hard over the past few years to improve the standard of investigation and prosecution of child abuse and adult sexual assault cases and I note the Authority found no evidence of ongoing and widespread poor practice nationally.
NZ Police carry out 14,000 child abuse and adult sexual assault investigations every year. The overwhelming majority of these cases are managed professionally by highly motivated staff. I can assure the public of New Zealand that the failings of a few staff at a point in time do not represent national practice. I can reassure victims that they can bring complaints to us and we will investigate them properly and fairly.
I’m confident the remedial actions taken in Waitemata since the Roastbusters allegations came to light in late 2013 will help prevent such a situation arising again.
Changes already made include better coordination, oversight and supervision of child protection and adult sexual abuse investigations and changes to case review practices.
This report has learnings that are relevant for many Police staff. As this case shows, it can be difficult for officers to balance the wishes of victims with the need to fully investigate serious allegations and prevent future offending. We’re further developing our national child abuse and adult sexual assault policies to give our officers better guidance in this area.
The related media conference can be viewed via New Zealand Police's Youtube channel
Grant Ogilvie, Police National Headquarters Media Manager
021 191 0005.
Media please note:
Police released the findings of Operation Clover in October 2014, outlining why charges were not laid in relation to eight incidents involving seven victims and five suspects.
In May 2014, the IPCA found there was no deliberate decision to mislead by any police employee regarding information provided to the public about Roastbusters. The Police response can be found at www.police.govt.nz.