Police part ways with institute researching systemic bias

8:11 am on 17 March 2022

Police have split with a research institute leading an investigation into bias against Māori and others.

Police say an independent panel that oversees the project will commission the next phases of research soon. File photo Photo: Richard Tindiller

This comes just months after the high profile launch of a project that is expected to take years.

The research into systemic bias will look at who police stop and how they engage with them, among other things.

One piece of work, a literature review, has been delivered by Te Puna Haumaru, the Institute for Security and Crime Science at Waikato University.

But now RNZ has learned the institute is no longer on board.

Police did not say why.

The institute director, professor Devon Polaschek, had been heading a seven-strong research team set up last June.

"We did expect to be more extensively involved than we were," was all she would say.

The literature review was delivered last year, and further research is yet to begin.

Police said an independent panel that oversees the project would commission the next phases of research soon.

"Te Puna Haumaru have been paid for their initiation work and research report, and there were no other costs," a spokesperson said.

The institute continued to work with police on other projects and "remain a key research partner for the Evidence Based Policing Centre".

Tā Kim Workman, who oversees the independent panel, referred RNZ's queries to police.

Police said: "The panel are about to commission the next phases of research for the programme and will be seeking involvement from a wide range of research organisations, so they can match research specialisms and methodologies to the issues the panel wish to investigate.

"We will be making announcements about this next stage of research shortly and will be publishing our research reports to date at that point."

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