Friday, September 28, 2018

No credibility

Last week, Stuff Circuit revealed a long and dirty history of collusion between the police and New Zealand's most anti-democratic private investigation firm, Thompson & Clark. There were immediate calls for an inquiry. And now, one is going to be held. But rather than being run by an independent, outside body such as the ombudsman or even the "Independent" Police Conduct Authority, the police will be investigating themselves:

Police have launched an internal investigation into its use of external security consultants, including Thompson and Clark.

Earlier this year, the state services commissioner widened an inquiry into the use of outside security consultants by state services but police were exempt from this.

However, in a statement police commissioner Mike Bush said it was important police actions were also open to investigation.


A senior detective will lead the investigation, which will be completed by the end of October.

A whole month! I think this shows us exactly how seriously the police are taking this. Throw in the fact that they'll only be looking at whether any collusion breached the police code of conduct - not whether it was lawful or appropriate - and I think we can confidently conclude that it will be a whitewash from start to finish. We can write the final report now: "nothing to see here, move along". And all details will of course be kept secret "to avoid prejudice to the maintenance of the law" (which the police interpret as covering damage to their reputation).

Investigating your own case is a fundamental conflict of interest. We don't trust other agencies to do it. We shouldn't trust the police either. Their "self-investigation" simply has no credibility. We need a real inquiry, by someone independent of the police.