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Minister insists public can still trust police

Published: 2:27PM Saturday May 18, 2013 Source: ONE News

The Police Minister is insisting the public can still trust the force after an Auckland officer was arrested on drugs charges.

Constable Peter Pakau, 36, was arrested yesterday morning and faces 27 charges, including using the police computer system for dishonest purposes, conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine and supplying methamphetamine.

Despite the high profile arrest, Anne Tolley told ONE News that New Zealanders can still have confidence in the police.

"They go to extraordinary lengths to make sure they maintain that trust and confidence by being very quick to take action against anyone where there's such serious allegations," she said.

But criminologist John Buttle claims there's a culture of silence within the police force and it is naive to believe their ranks are corruption free.

"I think there is a culture of silence in every police force," he said.

The Police Association has previously raised concerns about gangs trying to infiltrate the recruitment process and get their people on the inside.

Tolley says the Police Commissioner has assured her the recruitment process is "robust".

But Buttle argues the bigger concern may be what happens after graduation.

"You can't put anything in place for someone that has no gang affiliations and doesn't know any of these people but actually meets these people after they become a police officer."

Tolley is urging officers to speak up if they have concerns about criminal behaviour in the ranks.

"The moment you don't tell someone, you're complicit in that act," said Buttle.

The Police Minister is insisting the public can still trust the force after an Auckland officer was arrested on drugs charges.

Constable Peter Pakau, 36, was arrested yesterday morning and faces 27 charges, including using the police computer system for dishonest purposes, conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine and supplying methamphetamine.

Despite the high profile arrest, Anne Tolley told ONE News that New Zealanders can still have confidence in the police.

"They go to extraordinary lengths to make sure they maintain that trust and confidence by being very quick to take action against anyone where there's such serious allegations," she said.

But criminologist John Buttle claims there's a culture of silence within the police force and it is naive to believe their ranks are corruption free.

"I think there is a culture of silence in every police force," he said.

The Police Association has previously raised concerns about gangs trying to infiltrate the recruitment process and get their people on the inside.

Tolley says the Police Commissioner has assured her the recruitment process is "robust".

But Buttle argues the bigger concern may be what happens after graduation.

"You can't put anything in place for someone that has no gang affiliations and doesn't know any of these people but actually meets these people after they become a police officer."

Tolley is urging officers to speak up if they have concerns about criminal behaviour in the ranks.

"The moment you don't tell someone, you're complicit in that act," said Buttle.

Friends 'shocked'

Pakau and his wife Dianne, who was also arrested yesterday, played tag football for many years. During that time "there was never any indication of drug use or supply from them", said Claude Iusitini from New Zealand Tag Football.

"We are just as shocked as everyone else about the news regarding Peter and Diane," he said.

"We had no indication at any stage that they were involved and had no reason whatsoever to suspect anything untoward."

Seven other people aged between 25 and 59 were also arrested yesterday, in what Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said was the culmination of a detailed investigation.

Pakau is back in court next month.

Pakau and his wife Dianne, who was also arrested yesterday on a charge of , played tag football for many years. During that time "there was never any indication of drug use or supply from them", said Claude Iusitini from New Zealand Tag Football.

"We are just as shocked as everyone else about the news regarding Peter and Diane," he said.

"We had no indication at any stage that they were involved and had no reason whatsoever to suspect anything untoward."

Seven other people aged between 25 and 59 were also arrested yesterday, in what Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said was the culmination of a detailed investigation.

Pakau is back in court next month.

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