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NEWS > 07 August 2006

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 Article sourced from - Wellington,New Z
07 August 2006
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Tragedy looming 'if police con

A family or community tragedy will occur if police management do not address widespread dissatisfaction among its detectives, the Police Association says.

The warning follows a survey of 258 Auckland metropolitan Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) detectives taken last November, which showed many felt there were not enough staff to cope with the high workload, and more than half felt police did not value them.

The survey was released in the latest issue of the association's magazine, Police News, which warned that police management must take action.

"The association is acutely aware that if the issues examined in the CIB report are not addressed, a system failure in the CIB will occur," it said.

"This will bring tragedy to a family and/or community and more highly publicised criticism to the CIB and New Zealand Police."

Serious crime investigation was statistically insignificant. However, it was important in the public consciousness, the association said.

"For example, unresolved burglaries generally only impact on the victim and their immediate associates," it said.

"An unresolved homicide or rape, which receives significant publicity, impacts on the perception of safety for a significantly larger proportion of the community."

Police communications centres had suffered a series of failures such as the 2004 disappearance of Auckland woman Iraena Asher. That led to a review which found the 111 system threatened public safety.

"To prevent the occurrence of a system failure in the CIB, the association strongly urges the police administration, district and CIB management to act on the issues and recommendations raised in the CIB report," the association said.

However, association president Greg O'Connor said police management was "sceptical" of the survey's findings, "issuing the same denials we heard regarding the methamphetamine and the communications centre problems".

"Pavlovian denials of the existence of major issues in the CIB will delay action until we reach a crisis, as happened with comms (centres).

"We will not allow the integrity of the police to be compromised by short-term needs to reassure political masters."

Other findings of the survey:

Most detectives said there were "not enough" or "not nearly enough" sworn staff to operate their CIB effectively.

75 per cent felt they had "too many" or "far too many" cases.

Nearly 75 per cent said they "sometimes", "hardly ever" or "never" got a break before long hours on another investigation.
More than 50 per cent were called back to work when on a day off or on leave.
About half said CIB management gave "above average" or "excellent" support, while a quarter said it was "below average" or "poor".

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