Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bullying their critics

Over the past month we've heard some horrific stories about bullying in the police. The police's response? Try to bully people into silence:

The police have told a whistleblower to retract his statements to RNZ about being bullied or face legal action.

The demand came just hours after Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced a review into how complaints of bullying are dealt with.


In a letter sent to his lawyer, the police said Mr Woodward had breached confidential settlement agreements from 2014 and 2017.

"Your client, John Woodward, has been speaking with the media (Ben Strang of RNZ) regarding his employment with Police," the letter reads.

The letter states that under the agreement, both parties agreed to only talk positively or in a neutral manner when speaking about each other to third parties.

Which I think both proves the point, and shows the danger of confidential settlements: they are used to cover up abuses, silence victims, and sweep bad behaviour under the carpet while allowing perpetrators to bully and victimise again. The idea that a government agency is using them - and using them in this way, to publicly bully and silence critics - is simply unacceptable. The Prime Minister needs to step in, and make it clear that no public agency - including the police - will be allowed to enforce such settlements.