Te Pae Oranga, the community-focused model that works to keep low-level offenders out of the justice pipeline, has been named as top project in the 2020 Evidence-Based Problem Oriented Policing (EBPOP) awards.
The Māori, Pacific and Ethnic Services (MPES) initiative won both the Supreme Award and the award for Excellence in reducing harm on a national level.
Other winners at the EBPOP Conference and Awards final at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, were:
- Excellence in reducing harm at a local/district level: Te Huringa o te Tai ngā Wāhine (Counties Manukau District)
- Excellence in achieving collective impact: The Soul-way Project (Central District)
- Excellence in the generation, application and development of evidence: Te Ara Oranga (Northland District)
They were among eight harm-reduction projects from Police districts and national workgroups selected as finalists from 20 original entries.
Finalists had to show they had identified and analysed recurring problems and how they developed, implemented and assessed effective responses.
Te Pae Oranga began in 2013/14 with pilot iwi panels in Tairawhiti, South Auckland and Lower Hutt, giving frontline police an alternative to sending people to court for minor offences.
The aim was to hold offenders to account and address the harm caused while helping them access services to prevent reoffending.
In 2017/18, 11 more panels were established, and the Christchurch Community Justice Panel – established in 2010 - was brought into the programme.
Evaluations have shown iwi panels have been effective for people of all genders, ethnicities and ages, with harm from reoffending falling a measurable 22.5 percent.
Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery Mark Evans, chair of the judging panel, says the judges overwhelmingly backed Te Pae Oranga for the Supreme Award.
“There was clear evidence over many years of its impact in terms of improving community outcomes,” says Mark.
“At its core this ground-breaking initiative is about thinking differently about how to provide effective justice in ways which will be good for victims and offenders.”
He says the judges were very impressed by the evidence of impact, as expressed in multiple independent reviews. “That’s an important point and is often the weakest part of EBPOP Award entries.”
The EBPOP Awards final was held as part of a two-day EBPOP conference. The keynote speaker, and awards judge, was Professor Michael Scott, Director of Problem Oriented Policing at Arizona State University.
Also on the judging panel were Māori language champion Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Neighbourhood Support CEO Tess Casey, Muslim community leader Dr Mustafa Farouk, Professor Alister Jones of the University of Waikato and Assistant Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger.
Presenting the Supreme Award, Professor Scott said police officers’ innate competitiveness meant the disappointment of not winning an award would drive future success.
However, the most important thing was the impact all the entrants were already having in their communities.
“You’ve already achieved the highest objective,” he said. “The next highest objective to my mind is that you made the effort to document what you did, to tell your story so others can learn from you.
“That’s the essence of professionalism in any occupation. This is our contribution to the professionalism of policing.
“We do the work. We make some mistakes. We talk about our successes and our errors and our failures, and we share that with other police officers and agencies so they can think to themselves… ‘I could do that and I could do it better’.”
He said he would share what he had seen in New Zealand “so police all over the world can appreciate what you’ve done”.
Commissioner Mike Bush said he had been inspired by seeing Professor Scott’s work while attending an international POP awards event in America in 2009.
“What I saw in practice over there was outstanding, so we have a lot to be thankful for in terms of your contribution to where we are today,” he told Professor Scott.
Commissioner Bush praised all the finalists for work that he said warmed his heart. “Everything you do in your place to keep people safe is astounding…
“Thank you for everything you do for your communities and the way you do it.
“I say this a million times: the public in New Zealand really respect you - but if they knew everything you did for them every day and every night they would be in absolute awe.”
The other winners:
Te Huringa o te Tai ngā Wāhine (Counties Manukau District)
- Established in 2015 with Ōtara Blue light to counter an increase in offending by particularly Māori and Pasifika girls aged 14-18. Offending by this cohort in Counties Manukau East has fallen.
Soul-way (Central District)
- Joint project by Police and community in Levin to improve two run-down and unsafe parks, and general state of neighbourhood. The parks are now well-used and well-kept, with no vandalism in six years, and the wider area has regenerated.
Te Ara Oranga (Northland District)
- Launched in 2017 by Police and Northland DHB to reduce methamphetamine demand and harm, with dealers targeted, drug users referred into care and a new health care model developed. Meth admissions to the DHB's detox unit are up and lives have been turned around.