Who defends the police?

The?NZ Herald?reports: Quote:

Police Minister Stuart Nash unaware of “deeply disappointing” comments of Wally Haumaha before his promotion and gives Louise Nicholas a commitment that police will keep improving their culture.

Police Minister Stuart Nash was unaware of Wally Haumaha’s “deeply disappointing” comments to an investigation into police sex allegations before appointing him as the new deputy commissioner last month.

A?Herald investigation?this morning revealed Haumaha questioned why Louise Nicholas publicly accused his friends in the police of raping her in the 1980s and continued to support them after the scandal broke, according to interviews with fellow officers.

One officer told the 2004 Operation Austin investigation into the police sex allegations that Haumaha described Nicholas’ allegations as “a nonsense” and that “nothing really happened and we have to stick together”.

Nicholas, who now works with the police advising new recruits and supporting victims of abuse, was so angry to hear of Haumaha’s appointment that she demanded a meeting with him and Commissioner Mike Bush to voice her opposition. End quote.

After taking on the justice system to pursue her allegations of rape by several police officers, Louise Nicholas began campaigning for the rights of survivors of sexual violence.

You would like to think, after all that Louise Nicholas went through to bring corrupt cops to justice and change the culture within the police, that this sort of thing would not keep happening. But, if anything proves that the police are still nothing more than an old boys club, this is it. Quote:

“I didn’t hold back. I said ‘I’ve read your statement, Wally, and I know what you said. You put it out there about how wonderful these men were’,” said Nicholas.

Bush said last night Haumaha was a highly respected leader who “deeply regrets” the comments he made during Operation Austin.

“Mr Haumaha recognises that the culture in the police at that time was unacceptable,” said Bush.

“He has since been a relentless advocate and supporter of the widespread change in police culture and leadership.”

Bush, who went to the same Rotorua school as Haumaha, was on the State Services Commission panel which interviewed candidates to replace Viv Rickard in the statutory role of deputy commissioner.

But Police Minister Stuart Nash, who recommended that the Governor-General appoint Haumaha to the role, said he was unaware of his comments in Operation Austin.

“The comments are deeply disappointing and are unacceptable.

“DC Haumaha has learned from that and has gone on to do substantial and worthwhile work to improve the safety of women and youth.”

Nash gave a commitment to Louise Nicholas that police will not “take the foot off the accelerator” in regards to ongoing efforts to improve their response to victims of offending.

“I encourage women and men to speak up if they witness or are subjected to unacceptable conduct.

“People learn and people change. Police organisational culture and practice is now more progressive and empathetic. End quote.

Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha’s comments about Louise Nicholas’ police rape allegations have been labelled ”deeply disappointing” and “unacceptable”.

Whether he regrets it or not, he made those statements, and will be forever tainted by them. He was part of the same culture, and is now in a leading role within the police, which is disappointing.

But, here is the thing. On Newstalk ZB this morning Heather du Plessis-Allen pointed out that no one has come out to defend or support the police. No one. It seems that, for the most part, everyone just accepts that the police have a terrible culture, and cannot be trusted by the general public.

What a terrible place for our police force to be.

I have known a couple of policemen in my time, both of whom I respected enormously. I would trust them implicitly. Both left the force some time ago, and, in one case, I know the police culture was one of the reasons why he left when he did.

The police need to do something about their public image, urgently, but I don’t think that it’s a good place to start by appointing someone to the role of deputy commissioner who was previously supportive of policemen found guilty of multiple rapes.