Wednesday, March 01, 2023

More police bullshit

Back in January, I posted about an OIA response which apparently showed that police had no fucking idea whether they were following the law on the removal of DNA profiles from the national DNA databank. The DNA databank is managed by ESR, so I thought I'd ask the same questions of them in case they had any idea. Their response, received today? Ask the police:

ESR acts under New Zealand Police instructions for the removal of DNA profiles from the Databank. ESR does not hold information as to what section of the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 triggered the removal and is therefore unable to provide that information. This information would need to be sought from New Zealand Police.
Which is frustrating, but also revealing. Because if ESR, like a good contractor, acts on police instructions, then the police must have copies of those instructions, and should have a justification for each of them. The existence of such instructions also implies that there is a process for making them (the alternative being that the police are issuing them at random, which I don't believe for an instant). That process might exist only in the heads of relevant police staff, but it exists. It is official information, and it is held. So when police told me in January that they didn't have this information, and nobody else did either, they were lying.

(It may be the case that the usual police record-keeping fiasco means that statistics about removals cannot be generated without substantial collation and research. But that's a different question from the police's outright assertion that the information doesn't exist anywhere, and it certainly doesn't permit the withholding of the procedure).

This sort of bullshit from police is sadly a frequent occurrence. And it is absolutely corrosive of public trust.