22 Jul 2013

Police guidelines aim to help cut Maori prosecution rates

6:35 am on 22 July 2013

Police have formulated guidelines to help cut Maori prosecution rates by 25%, as part of a joint strategy with iwi.

The Turning of the Tide which was launched late last year aims to change the way police deal with tangata whenua, as well as utilising iwi support and whanau ora.

Under the Official Information Act, Te Manu Korihi has received information about how the police intend to curb prosecutions by 2018.

The guidelines have been developed for officers to interact differently with Maori, and provide steps to help an arresting officer determine if someone should be prosecuted or considered for The Turning of the Tide strategy.

It suggests an offender could be referred to a community justice panel if he or she is over 17 years of age, admits guilt and the offence committed carries less than a six-month prison term.

Police believe the guidelines will strengthen trust and confidence among Maori towards police.

They say a key aspect of The Turning of the Tide scheme aims to improve the way police collect data on Maori offending.