Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Police Complaints report out

The long awaited report into Police (mis)conduct is finally out. It's a dull read with much discussion on procedural deficiencies and the much promised horror stories aren't all that earth-shattering. But that hasn't stopped Helen Clark from crowing.
The Prime Minister claims a police culture of "looking after their own" was the only reason Clint Rickards rose to be Auckland's top cop.

The Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct released today identifies a culture of police turning a blind eye to misdemeanours involving officers.

Helen Clark says that is why Clint Rickards had a steady rise through the police until he put his name forward to be a Deputy Commissioner.

"He then ran into the obstacle of me and the Minister of Police, who on becoming aware of the nature of the allegations (against Mr Rickards) and the fact that they were still circulating, declined to consider forwarding his name to the Governor General for a warrant."
There are several things wrong with her version of events.

1. The blind eye towards misdemeanours that the Commission identified involved conduct more serious than group sex sessions that Clint Rickards participated in or even BDSM sessions that a cabinet colleague of hers reportedly enjoys.

2. Rickards was a protege of Rob Robinson, whom Helen endorsed as Commissioner of Police after the resignation of Peter Doone. Is she admitting now admitting that she made a flawed choice?

3. The most serious flaw in her version of events is that Rickards' appointment was thwarted by herself "and the Minister of Police". While Helen has the nous to know when a candidate's skeletons will be damaging in the future, the same cannot be said of the Minister of Police at the time, one George Hawkins! An example of his incompetence will suffice - as Minister of Internal Affairs, he received warnings of an impending crisis involving leaky buildings. He however chose to do nothing on the grounds that he hadn't been formally advised! How Helen seriously expects us to believe Hawkins is a crafty political operator is beyond me.