Ex-police boss has some Urewera regrets

By Paul Harper

Howard Broad. Photo / Janna Dixon
Howard Broad. Photo / Janna Dixon

Former police commissioner Howard Broad says he regrets police did not make it clear the Urewera raids were not about targeting the people of Tuhoe.

Tuhoe are seeking an apology from police for the October 2007 raids, in which black-clad armed officers swept through the Ruatoki community.

Current commissioner Peter Marshall last week said he was sorry innocent people were "frightened and inconvenienced" by the raids but said police would not apologise ahead of an Independent Police Conduct Authority report on the incident.

Mr Broad, who retired from the force last year, said an apology is a matter for the current police commissioner.

However he told Radio New Zealand he would speak with representatives from Tuhoe if asked, if it helped repair relations between the iwi and police.

Eighteen people were originally charged following the raids, only four - Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer, and Emily Bailey - were convicted, and of lesser firearms charges.

"One of the things you do when you're a police officer for a considerable period of time is understand the workings of the criminal justice system. You can't go at the start of it and say that you've got absolute certainty about what the result is going to be. There are always, in every case, challenges to admissibility.

"And so you place your faith in the criminal justice system working, in this case its worked."

While he stood by the decision to prosecute the Urewera Four, he did have one regret.

"I think the biggest regret would be that we failed to make the distinction between the group that we were seeking to police and the people of Tuhoe. The overlap is not as great as perhaps the people in the public space might appreciate, having listened to the public commentary about it over the last few years."

- NZ Herald

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