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IPCA boss wants power to investigate

By Simon Bradwell

Published: 12:30PM Wednesday February 20, 2013 Source: ONE News

  •  (Source: ONE News)
    Source: ONE News

Independent Police Conduct Authority chair Sir David Carruthers wants the police watchdog to have the power to launch its own investigations.

He made the comment at Parliament's law and Order select Committee this morning.

"If a case is everywhere in the media, it seems to me slightly foolish that we can't step in and look at it ourselves," Sir David said.

Currently, the IPCA investigates police only when it has received a complaint.

Sir David said some similar bodies in overseas jurisdictions had the power to investigate under their "own motion".

He agreed with Labour MP Kris Faafoi that the recent Nelson Red Devils case, where police were criticised by a judge over their handling of a raid on the gang headquarters, "wasn't a bad example" of there the powers would be useful.

He was surprised the IPCA didn't already have the powers.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the committee, Sir David said the IPCA's investigation into complaints stemming from Operation 8 raids in the Ureweras could be released in a few weeks.

Release had been delayed because of lengthy legal action taken by people involved in the case.

The thoroughness of the inquiry had forced the IPCA to dip into its financial reserves, Sir David, a former Parole Board chair, said.

However investigators had been determined to conduct the probe "honestly and fairly".

The number of complaints the IPCA received is around 2000 a year, but had dipped slightly last year. The IPCA had no reasons for the change, and said it was too early to call it a trend.

Sir David also acknowledged there was some public perception that the IPCA was "police investigating police" because many of its staff are former police officers.

But he was confident the IPCA operated extremely successfully within limited means.