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Police introspect change in work culture

New Zealanders can expect a major change in the outlook, approach and working of the Police to become smarter, culturally sensitive and responsive to the evolving needs of the society.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers Report on the working of the New Zealand Police has recommended that the Police Department should undertake a strong introspection of how officials are recruited, trained and placed on beats and how their attitude influences public perception of issues concerning them.

State Services Commission had asked the consultancy firm to study the ‘Police Culture’ and report if such a culture met with the expectations of New Zealand as a modern and secular society.

The ‘Culture Report’ was damning in some aspects and appreciative in other aspects of police work.

Prime Minister John Key gave the Police a tick, saying that while they should order some changes, “they were doing a wonderful job for all New Zealanders.”

“I think we have to take a step back and acknowledge that while there are issues that need to be addressed, the Police have made a lot of progress in some of the areas that have been highlighted,” he said.

The Report said that the ‘Culture within the Police Force had reached a plateau and that urgent action was needed to fully implement recommendations of the 2007 ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into police conduct.

The inquiry related to the way police had dealt with allegations of sexual assault by members and associates of the police.

Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard admitted that the Report was ‘tough.’

“We must focus on our attitudes and the way we do things in Police. I have confidence our staff are up for this.”

He described the Police as ‘Excellent,’ ‘Extra-Ordinary’ and ‘Stunning People.’

“But it is inevitable that in such a large organisation, some people do not measure up to the high expectations of Police and the public,” he said.

Mr Rickard said the Police has been working hard to deal with people ‘appropriately’ and that the process must be accentuated.

“Much work is underway that will eventually counter the Report’s criticisms, such as making the appointments process fairer, easier and quicker and a review of Police National Headquarters to make sure resources align with frontline priorities. The on-going emphasis would be on leadership and career development courses,” he said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers gave a ‘clean chit’ saying that the New Zealand Police was ‘Corruption Free.’

“Crime is reducing, the resolution rate is world class and public trust and confidence increased in 2010 for the second consecutive year,” Mr Rickard said.

They are doing a wonderful job for all New Zealanders

Prime Minister John Key

These changes are about making sure staff with talent, drive and energy are listened to and can get ahead in their careers.

Police Minister Judith Collins

We are not going to change the bones of this organisation overnight. It will take relentless and long-term dedication.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad

This Report has caused me to reflect on the way I lead and what I do. I implore anyone else in a leadership role to do the same.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard

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