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To: The Minister of Police - Hon. Poto Williams and Commissioner of Police - Andrew Coster

Call for Independent Inquiry into Institutional Racism and Racial Profiling by the Waikato Police

Call for Independent Inquiry into Institutional Racism and Racial Profiling by the Waikato Police

Establish an immediate independent inquiry into the Institutional Racism and Racial Profiling by the Waikato Police.

Why is this important?

Where we live, work, play should be safe for everyone, no matter our ethnicity, what we wear, or who our friends are. Yet Police targeting and racial profiling is making people in the Waikato region feel unsafe.

We call for an immediate independent inquiry which will:

○ Inquire into racial profiling by the Waikato Police and how the leadership and policies of the Waikato Police are impacting negatively on Māori, Pasifika and migrant communities.

○ Examine Waikato police's views about their behaviour and attitudes toward Māori, Pasifika and migrant communities in the Waikato District. Investigate the factors associated with attitudes among the Waikato command structure, it's hierarchy and policing staff to assess likely responses to proposed changes for building responsiveness to Māori, Pasifika and ethnic communities.

○ Examine the extent to which police attitudes are impacting on police practice and how Waikato Police aims to assess likely responses to the systemic changes in building responsiveness for Māori, Pasifika and ethnic communities.

○ Examine the cultural competency of the Waikato Police command structure, its hierarchy and officers.

○ Inquire into the role of the Waikato Gang Intelligence Officer under the 'Whole-of-Government Action Plan to Reduce the Harms Caused by New Zealand Adult Gangs and Transnational Crime Groups'. What role is the Gang Intelligence Officer and the Criminal Investigations Bureau providing to support gang members and their whānau through the co-design of a preventation focused strategy in the Waikato Police district? What training is given to Waikato Police officers surrounding the history of gangs in Aotearoa and cultural competency when policing gang members and their whānau and associates?

In 2015, the Police Commissioner Mike Bush acknowledged the unconscious bias in the NZ Police service. This 'bias' is systemic, institutionalised racism.[1,2,3] Six years on, what cultural competency education/awareness programmes does the Waikato Police have in place to address the bias?

An inquiry will assess the success or failure of these programmes measured in terms of police management and staff becoming more effective in their roles and exhibiting cultural responsiveness.

If you’re Pākehā, have no criminal record, and encounter police you are less likely to be charged or sent to court than someone who is Māori. They found that police are 1.8 times more likely to take legal action against Māori than Pākehā, and seven times more likely to charge a Māori person with a crime, even when that person has no police or corrections record either.[4]

Waikato police are targeting people because of their ethnicity which causes distrust in the community.[5] An independent inquiry can recommend the steps needed for real change, not just words.

Te Huringa o Te Tai is the police strategy to change practices to reduce Māori over-representation in criminal justice statistics.[6] An Inquiry would look at how the Waikato Police utilising and implementing Te Huringa o Te Tai into it's everyday practice, professional development and liaison throughout all Maori, Pasifika and ethnic communities in the Waikato district?

Aside from any recommendations we look forward to seeing:

○ Waikato Police acknowledge racism in their policing, taking responsibility, implementing cultural awareness and education programmes.

○ Waikato Police make a concerted effort to implement the NZ Police Strategy, Te Huringa o Te Tai, and genuinely working with all sectors of the Waikato community. This could be through the creation of a community leadership table where everyone has a say on community safety.

○ Communities being at the front and centre of owning our problems, and Police building genuine relationships with all sectors of community and valuing and respecting their leadership and input.

○ Consideration for the Waikato Police district to establish a mandatory requirement for all officers to wear body cameras. Body cameras are an effective tool for police reform and transparency.

○ Evaluation surveys implemented throughout high Māori, Pasifika and ethnic population communities in the Waikato Police district. These surveys will inform police so they can be responsive to each community. Waikato Police must not only engage with and listen to what each community wants from its police service; it must also use that information to guide its operations. This would also include the community participating in the co-design of their local community policing initiatives.

Sign today to call for an inquiry and to make our communities truly safer.

[1] Commissioner: Police addressing bias in Māori relations. 2015 https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2015/11/commissioner-police-addressing-bias-in-maori-relations.html
[2] Treatment of Māori by police is more than just unconscious bias in the force, psychologist says. 2020 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/treatment-m-ori-police-more-than-just-unconscious-bias-in-force-psychologist-says
[3] Racial stereotyping by police 'systemic, institutionalised': Race Relations Commissioner, 2021 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/racial-stereotyping-by-police-systemic-institutionalised-race-relations-commissioner/KY7MLSJLUKALPCFZIYSBLFYK5Y/
[4] Yes, there is racism in our police. Here’s what we can do about it. Spinoff, March 2020 https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/05
[5] Waste of resources': Mongrel Mob claim police 'intimidation' after raid of birthday function. NZ Herald, February 2021. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/waste-of-resources-mongrel-mob-claim-police-intimidation-after-raid-of-birthday-function/SQ2A7JBOPJVPMIVNQXBGV536MI/
[6] Police launches Te Huringa o Te Tai. New Zealand Police. November, 2019 https://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/police-launches-te-huringa-o-te-tai

How it will be delivered

In person

Waikato District, Waikato, New Zealand

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Category

Updates

2021-04-19 08:33:35 +1200

100 signatures reached

2021-04-18 13:35:02 +1200

50 signatures reached

2021-04-18 12:02:53 +1200

25 signatures reached

2021-04-17 09:42:21 +1200

10 signatures reached