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A Code of Conduct for New Zealand Police (A) 2011-121.1

17 March 2011



In June 2010, the Office of the Auditor General released its second monitoring report on New Zealand Police’s response to the 2007 Commission of Inquiry into police conduct. Its first report had commended the initial response; now it said the change process was at risk of stalling. With only seven of the Commission’s 47 recommendations fully implemented, the OAG said New Zealand’s national police force still had much to do, and that cultural changes were necessary for implementation. One area in which the OAG was satisfied was Police’s implementation of a Code of Conduct for all 12,000 Police employees, both sworn officers and civilians. It spelled out the expected standards of personal and professional conduct and provided a key performance management tool. It was supported by a new disciplinary system, new or improved policies, and a concerted focus on ethics training.

This case study can be the starting point for a range of discussions including how to manage the human resource challenge presented and how much an instrument such as a Code of Conduct can in itself achieve. Associated with the case is a package of 3-4 page vignettes designed to provoke discussion of a range of typical behaviours (2011-121.2).

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  • Investigation notes: these investigation notes contain a set of five vignettes giving notes to prompt discussion around aspects of misconduct in New Zealand Police. Each is entirely fictional, although based on real situations. These vignettes have been designed to support discussion of the new Code of Conduct for New Zealand police but also lend themselves to discussion of ethical issues applicable to the wider public sector. They could easily be used as role play scenarios and, although to be downloaded as a package, are separately numbered so can be distributed individually.2A Inappropriate relationship (3 pages) 2B Misuse of Police Information (4 pages) 2C Sexual misconduct (3 pages) 2D Excessive use of force (4 pages) 2E Misuse of Police information (sworn and non-sworn staff) (4 pages).
Authors: Margot Schwass
Published Date: 17 March 2011
Author Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Featured Content Length: 3
Content Length: 11
Product Type: Part A, Primary resources