16 June 2016
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Counties Manukau CIB Action Plan relating to unlicenced drivers did not intend that Maori drivers be given preferential treatment.
On 16 June 2015, ONE News reported that South Auckland Police officers had been briefed not to ticket unlicenced Māori drivers, and to instead refer them to local Iwi and a community support panel.
After receiving a number of complaints that this Police document was “racist” and “discriminatory”, the Authority conducted an independent investigation.
Specifically, it investigated whether the wording of the action plan was appropriate; and if it was not appropriate, whether that was due to misconduct or neglect of duty by individual officers.
The Authority has found that while the wording of the action plan relating to unlicenced Māori drivers was not appropriate, and that the plan was created in haste and poorly written, this did not reflect the intention or application of the plan. As such, it was not discriminatory. Further, this failure did not amount to misconduct or neglect of duty by individual officers.
As written, the Counties Manukau CIB Action Plan indicated that “ALL Maori drivers” who were caught driving in breach of their licence conditions should be “given compliance”. This means that they would be given a certain amount of time to fix the problem, rather than having to pay a fine or be prosecuted.
Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the investigation found that although it was intended the policy be applied at a Police officer’s individual discretion, regardless of race, the wording of the action plan was not appropriate as it contradicted this intention.
“The poorly written action plan did not override the fact that traffic compliance is available to any driver, regardless of race,” Sir David said.
Counties Manukau Police have since amended the wording of the action plan to accurately reflect its intent.
Unlicenced Māori Drivers (PDF 428 KB)