Thursday, November 07, 2013


When the allegations against the Auckland rape club first surfaced, the police blamed the victims, saying that none of them had been "brave enough" to complain to police. They lied. It turns out that not one, but four teenage victims have made complaints about Joseph Parker and Beraiah Hales over the past two years. And the police did nothing, and Parker and Hales allegedly went on to rape more and more young women.

There are two big issues here - the first being the police's handling of those complaints. According to one victim, she was asked to "re-enact" her rape - and then told she'd been asking for it because of what she was wearing. Sadly, this sort of approach from police is all too common. In case anyone needs reminding, the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct (which was formed in response to the police's own internal rape-club) found serious problems with the way the police handled complaints of sexual assault from the public. Every year the Auditor-General issues a monitoring report on the police's implementation of the inquiry's recommendations - and every year it finds that the police are dragging their feet. They have a misogynistic internal culture which treats rape victims as criminals, which simply has to change. And after six years, its looking like what needs to happen is a purge of an entire generation of police officers and their revolting outdated attitudes to sexual crimes.

The second issue is why the police lied to us. Everybody from the district commander to the commissioner says they only learned that it was a lie shortly before the news last night. But while they can blame their underlings, they are ultimately responsible for them. Was the lie deliberate, a stupid effort to save face on a case which they knew was going to look bad? Did some moron really think that was better than saying "sexual assault cases are difficult to prosecute, and we do not believe we have enough to go to court on yet" (something which would focus attention and invite scrutiny of prosecutorial judgements)? Or are the police really such muppets that they don't keep track of complaints, and the right hand doesn't know what it was doing just a year or two ago? Either way its unacceptable. The police have misled us. Heads must roll.

The Minister has asked the "Independent" Police Conduct Authority to investigate the police's handling of the case. But we all know what they'll find: no problems, or if there are problems, no responsibility. Any errors will be "systemic", and not the fault of individual officers, who will in any case have taken generous early retirement (and then gone right back to work as civilian "consultants") rather than accepting oversight. And then the police will act all outraged that we just don't trust them anymore.

I want some accountability for this. The district commander, the commissioner, the Minister, have all lied to us, supposedly by repeating the lies of others, but that just means that they failed to exercise proper control over their subordinates to ensure they got the truth. I wants heads on spikes for that. And I want to see a proper investigation of Hales and Parker's little gang. In the end, such an investigation might not be able to assemble enough evidence to secure a conviction - but I've seen little evidence the police have even bothered to try. They've got 72 cops and a chopper for copyright infringement, search warrants on the media and seizure of legally privileged communications for an audio recording of a public conversation, and sweet fuck-all for multiple, ongoing gang rapes. That speaks volumes about their priorities.