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Police ‘turning the tide’ on unconscious bias

Graphic: New Zealand police officers

The Race Relations Commissioner has praised the approach taken by police to respond to the "disproportionate incarceration of Maori New Zealanders".

The Human Rights Commission has congratulated the leadership of New Zealand Police in acknowledging and working to address unconscious bias.

"The fact our Police are publicly acknowledging and working to address unconscious bias is significant and something we can all be proud of," said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

"This work is not new, simple and by no means over. However, Turning the Tide is a groundbreaking prevention and education strategy from Police and iwi (Maori community) responding to the disproportionate incarceration of Maori New Zealanders."

"While only five per cent of Maori New Zealanders come into contact with the justice system: Maori make up more than 50 per cent of our prison population and 15 per cent of our total population."

Dame Susan said 'Turning the Tide' was praised by the United Nations in this year's review of New Zealand's performance under the UN Convention against Torture.

"The United Nations agreed with the Commission's view that 'Turning the Tide' could be applied to other areas of New Zealand's justice system," said Dame Susan.

"We acknowledge the leadership of iwi and the NZ Police in challenging and addressing a major human rights issue facing many New Zealanders."

Date: 2 December 2015

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. New Zealand police officers - Peter Harrison, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1U6Gdtx