Appendix 7: Selected comments about workplace culture within the New Zealand Police

Response of the New Zealand Police to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct: First monitoring report.

During our interview sessions with Police staff, we asked about what the culture of the Police was like and how this had changed since the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct was carried out. We sought this qualitative information to help us better understand the culture of the organisation, the range of people's views about that culture, and whether and how people considered that it was changing.

The following quoted comments were made to us during our interviews with Police staff.

Police culture

  • “action oriented;
  • all around the world, Police services have a strong culture;
  • being unique to Police is always our excuse for everything;
  • generally healthy;
  • in the Police the culture is very strong;
  • leadership is not the culture of the organisation;
  • not a strong performance management culture in the organisation;
  • police are a blue collar organisation working in a white collar society;
  • there'll always be a Police culture;
  • tightly held and extraordinarily political organisation;
  • the average police officer would far prefer to confront an armed Mongrel Mob member than have a difficult conversation with an employee; and
  • the culture is not so bad that it needs a bomb under it.”

Changes to Police culture after the Commission of Inquiry

  • “a wave of people saying we can do things differently;
  • change is still hard, but it is less painful;
  • definitely improving;
  • in the two years I've been here this place is a different place;
  • its not just gut feel decision-making any more;
  • [move towards a] more positive space;
  • new way of thinking these days;
  • no great outward change;
  • pockets of resistance are relatively small now;
  • some steps forward, but have also experienced some bashes back;
  • probably a babe in arms in the change cycle; and
  • the hardest battle is yet to be fought.”

Other aspects of changing Police culture

  • “a lot of us are paying for the sins of the fathers;
  • leadership is what brings about cultural change; and
  • there is a significant risk in tying the responsibility for significant organisational change into a rank structure.“
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