Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Police make progress on rape case inquiry recommendations

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Police say they have made significant progress in just a few months following criticism late last year they were dragging their feet in implementing recommendations from an inquiry sparked by the Louise Nicholas rape case.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall faced this morning faced MPs' questions on last October's Office of the Auditor-General police conduct monitoring report.

In her report, Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith highlighted the lack of progress implementing recommendations made to police in a 2007 Commission of Inquiry, sparked by Ms Nicholas' rape claims against senior police officers.

Labour MP Phil Goff asked Mr Marshall whether he accepted "that progress on adult sexual assault investigation has been relatively poor and what changes to you intend to make as a result of that criticism by the Auditor-General's Office?".

Mr Marshall told Parliament's law and order committee that Ms Smith's comments were "accepted, but against the backdrop of considerable change that we have put in over the last 18 months, two years and indeed over the last four months".

"We have progressed the training as a result of the Office of the Auditor-General's recommendations and I can assure everyone present that we have an absolute conviction to ensure we get this absolutely right."

Mr Marshall said he was confident the police would have addressed the Auditor-General's concerns before the next conduct report in 2015.

Mr Marshall later told reporters he rated progress by police "very well"in the context of the ten year timetable set by the original report for improvement.

"We are closely watching all the indicators and I think we've got some fantastic men and women within New Zealand Police who understand what I as commissioner and what my deputies and executive members want of the New Zealand Police."

Mr Marshall said police had taken note of Ms Smith's recommendations around the rate of progress around training of adult sexual assault investigators.

"Certainly we have made a lot of progress in the last few months in fact we had the processes underway late last year in terms of the training and everybody who is aligned to that particular type of investigation has been trained or will be trained in the next few weeks."

Mr Goff later told the Herald Ms Smith's report itself noted progress in meeting the recommendations had sped up towards the end of the reporting period and her comments about poor progress were "quite a kick in the bum" for police.

"I'm hoping they will now get right up to speed on that."

Police Minister Anne Tolley said she was satisfied with police's recent progress.

"This was never going to be something that was put in place quickly it's a long term project and so they were given a hurry up around sexual assaults and some training and I'm confident that that has now been put in place."

- NZ Herald

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