Police left sensitive documents with Mob

By David Eames

Police handed sensitive information to the Mongrel Mob it emerged yesterday, a day after Housing New Zealand was exposed for doing the same thing.

Five tenants with gang affiliations in the Lower Hutt suburb of Pomare were this month served with 90-day eviction notices by HNZ as a result of alleged intimidation.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the Mob members were mistakenly given confidential information including the address of a local HNZ staff member and the new address of a former neighbour who had been forced to relocate following threats and intimidation.

TV3 News reported last night that police had also mistakenly left a document related to the eviction with members of the Mongrel Mob.

The document detailed an investigation into the intimidation case and eviction of 10 members of Anthony Pairama's family from five state houses in Farmer Cres, Pomare.

The document, which was labelled "restricted", contained the names and responsibilities of 50 officers working on the case, a risk assessment of the street, details of how raids would be carried out and the radio call signs police used to identify themselves.

It also included details of the woman whose original complaint of intimidation sparked the police investigation, and details on the senior Housing New Zealand staff member, who had fled her home and was now under police protection.

Operation head Inspector Geoff Gwyn, who wrote the document, this morning told Radio New Zealand the officer who brought it on the raid would be "dealt with in terms of our internal practices".

"It's obviously disappointing that on this occasion we dropped the ball in terms of our own practices," he said.

"The highlight for us is that none of the complainants or any other individual or police officer's security has been compromised as a result of that document falling into the wrong hands."

The complainant was a former associate of a gang member and under criminal disclosure their identity would be revealed at the accused's first court appearance, he said.

While intended for police use only, Inspector Gwyn said he took care when putting the document together.

"I don't tend to put into operations orders anything I wouldn't want to see on the front page of the Dominion Post."

Mr Pairama told TV3 he planned to use the details "in a complaint so we can try and stop the 90-day eviction, or something".

Police picked up the documents yesterday from 3 News in Wellington and declined to comment on how they ended up with the Mongrel Mob.

Mr Pairama said police were in a hurry and had left them behind.

Police Minister Judith Collins said steps would be taken to ensure police were not left red-faced in this manner again.

"It's actually very embarrassing for the police, and very important that they take great care to make sure those sorts of documents don't fall into the wrong hands.

"I will certainly be talking to the commissioner about what can be done to ensure this does not happen again."

HNZ has launched an inquiry to try to find out how the blunder was made.

However, HNZ added that the accidental release of confidential information would not stop its summary evictions of unruly tenants.

Security guards could be used to deliver eviction notices, a department spokesman said.

Inspired by the case of Auckland's "family from hell", the Salts, HNZ is bypassing the tenancy tribunal and moving straight to 90-day evictions of tenants indulging in antisocial behaviour.

The spokesman yesterday told the Herald the decision to undertake summary evictions was made because the tribunal set standards for evidence that were often not attainable "because of the level of intimidation in the community".

The evictions cannot be appealed against, but the department would help to find accommodation for those thrown out, he said.

Gang members had been told not to make contact with the complainant, he said.

HNZ chief executive Lesley McTurk also denied reports of death threats.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday endorsed the 90-day eviction scheme. "I support the underlying principle of using a 90-day period to evict people who just don't respect the HNZ house they are in and use it to inflict inappropriate behaviour on their neighbours."

The HNZ spokesman said the Salt case clarified the law by making it clear tenants were responsible for the behaviour of others living at or visiting their property.

The Salts were first ordered to leave their home in 2007 after a tenancy tribunal hearing found serious breaches of their tenancy. The order triggered a 20-month court battle that only finished last month, when Ms Salt decided not to contest eviction.

- With NZPA

- NZ Herald

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