I got a phone call from the police this morning. Not in relation to any ordinary police business, but about an Official Information Act request I'd submitted recently seeking information on the Kaitaia Shoplifter Trespass Notice Scheme. Getting called by a government agency in response to an OIA request isn't that unusual, but normally they're seeking clarification on what is actually being sought or giving a heads-up about time frames or suggesting alternative ways of seeking the information - not inquiring about who I am, why I want it, and whether I am a Bad Person.
The officer in question was polite, and helpful, and recognised that the issue was a subject of public debate in which random members of the public would be interested. But its still vaguely sinister in a way, and raises questions about the way requests to the police are handled. There's no requirement under the Act to give a reason (and nor should there be - government must justify its decisions to the public, not the other way round), and being a Bad Person or "known to police" is not a legal reason for refusal. If there are concerns about protecting police officers from victimisation, or preventing interference with investigations, then these can already be handled under the Act (sections 6 (c) and (d) and section 9 (a) would be applicable) - but any decision certainly shouldn't depend on the identity of the requester, or on someone in uniform's assessment of whether they have a "good reason" for asking.