The New Zealand Police Association is calling for the Race Relations Commissioner to retract his claim made on radio today that "Police are racist".
Meng Foon made the claim during an interview in which he was discussing the future of the television show Police Ten 7.
"This blanket assertion from Mr Foon is nothing less than a body blow to the many hard working police officers, including Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Indian, Pakistani and those from other diverse backgrounds who make up the New Zealand Police, but have now been lumped in one "racist" basket," Association President Chris Cahill says.
"This claim also detracts from the increasing diversity of recruits going through Police College every graduation, and whose very presence will be extremely influential on the future of policing in Aotearoa."
"As Race Relations Commissioner I would have thought Mr Foon would use his position to promote an informed debate about the many issues which contribute to the over-representation of Māori in negative statistics across our society, including justice, education, health, family violence, drug use and mental health, Mr Cahill says."
"Many societal and family failures for Māori are already well in play by the time they come to the attention of Police."
Mr Foon quoted statistics from Police’s 2019 Tactical Options Report which show Māori are more than seven times more likely than Pākehā to be subjected to force such as Tasers, pepper spray and firearms, but Mr Cahill says such data is out of context without the background behind the offending, and he would expect Mr Foon to be well aware of that.
"That this country’s Race Relations Commissioner would put the blame on police, and then double down on that, is a waste of an opportunity to consider all parts of this picture," Mr Cahill says.
"It seems Mr Foon, now on record with a sweeping claim about police being racist, has excluded himself from bringing the skills and knowledge of his position to any future work Police may want to do on an issue it is committed to addressing."
For more information contact:
Jane Young | Communications Manager / Strategic Advisor, NZ Police Association
Email: [email protected], Tel: +64 (0)4 496 6817, Mobile: +64 (0)27 268 9412