A report released today has found that the producers of Police Ten 7 and staff at TVNZ that handle the popular show need training in racism, bias and the Treaty of Waitangi.
TVNZ ordered the review after widespread criticism of the show earlier this, with accusations it was "low level chewing gum TV that feeds on racial stereotypes".
TVNZ and producers Screentime have announced that the show will be "reimagined" in the wake of the review.
Auckland City ward councillor Efeso Collins, one of the leading critics, made a series of well-publicised statements on the long-running ratings winner.
"I think it's high time that a chewing gum show like Police Ten 7 was spat out of the New Zealand TV vernacular, because there's absolutely no need for it any more," Collins said.
Auckland University of Technology Communications lecturer Richard Pamatatau agreed, saying the show typically focused on low-level crime instead of white-collar offending.
"It's brown people, it's young brown people, it's Māori and it's Pacific and they're doing something that is easy-picking crime," he told RNZ earlier this year.
"What Police Ten 7 doesn't do is look at corporate, white-collar crime."
The review released today was commissioned by TVNZ, in partnership with producers Screentime NZ, and was conducted by Senior Content Consultant Karen Bieleski and Khylee Quince, the Dean of Law at AUT.
It looked at episodes across Police Ten 7's nearly 20-year run and sought to establish whether Māori, Pasifika and all other ethnic groups were portrayed fairly by the show.
The review found that in general, the Māori and Pacific individuals who were featured in the show were fairly portrayed, but that the show did little to discourage negative stereotypes.
The review made eight specific recommendations:
• Formalise the programme's policy for cultural integrity and have TVNZ and Screentime NZ staff undertake relevant training in racism, bias and Te Tiriti o Waitangi
• Commission and/or review relevant research to contribute to the programme's reflection of societal values
• Maintain contemporary values as laid out in BSA and Media Council decisions
• Provide more regional and demographic coverage
• Include planned events with police presence for better geographical representation
• Have promo directors undergo specific training for producing promotional material for Police Ten-7
• Ensure promo activity is overseen and signed off by the programme's commissioner
• Utilise generic promos where episodic material could be misrepresented in a condensed advertising spot.
TVNZ Director of Content Cate Slater said the company was "committed to reimagining Police Ten 7 so it serves viewers in the years to come".
"Our ambition is to continue to highlight the important work of the Police, while better acknowledging the communities they assist," she added.
In a statement, TVNZ and Screentime NZ said they will announce their decision around the new series and the format it will take later this year.