We here at LF believe that there is more to the “roastbusters” rape allegation scandal than first meets the eye. Is it really just the allegations made against a group of youths who allegedly drugged and raped underage teen girls, which is in itself, if true, a terrible and despicable criminal act, that has hit a very raw nerve with the New Zealand public or is there more to it?
Whilst the alleged crimes committed by these youths are serious we believe that the New Zealand public’s anger is as a result of the citizenry tapping into a far broader mistrust and an unresolved volatile narrative that surrounds the country’s police force and its justice system that those in power continue to glibly dismiss or shrewdly sidestep.
From what can be observed on-line this out pouring of seething public anger has arguably been directed more at the New Zealand police force rather that the accused youths – a fact that has not been lost on the Minister, Anne Tolly, or for that matter the Police commissioner himself, Peter Marshall:
Of course an arrogant and haughty Marshall employed the Royal “We” during his television appearances whilst attempting to drum home the mantra “police are the good guy’s” . Marshall was undoubtedly aware by Thursday that the publics outrage, just two days after the allegations had first come to light, was fast gaining momentum and that the police, not the youths, had become the obvious target.
Police Minister Anne Tolly too, in the press conference that followed Marshall having being summoned to parliament the morning after it had been exposed that police commanders and spin doctors had been misleading the public, at least up until the 7th November when they were forced to admit as much, was at pains to repeat the mantra. She wanted the journalists present to know that public confidence in the police force was “at an all time high”.
Of course whilst she was determined to spruick this notion, a notion based on the survey and report that had been released last september, to the gathered media its was little more than that, a notion, Tolley’s notion.
We’re not quite sure who, amongst the bevy of public servants paid handsomely to advise her, came up with the idea but the bottom line is that Tolley was stretching the truth, in fact it was in our view a lie, one of those lies that when manipulated and turned into a mantra, then repeated often enough, eventually permeates the public consciousness, via a compliant media, becoming an orthodox and excepted wisdom – at least thats what the spin doctors always hope for.
Greg O’Connor, president of the New Zealand Police Association, has relied on this age old political technique for years. Funnily enough its the fact that he has relied almost exclusively on this particular style of spin doctoring that not that long ago saw a public and media backlash against his puerile insincere apologist rhetoric which was at the time probably best expressed by kiwi journo, social commentator and blogger Dr Brian Edwards:
It’s Time for Greg O’Connor to Stop Defending the Indefensible
I have been wanting to say this for a long time. Police Association President, Greg O’Connor does himself and the police officers he represents a grave disservice by assuming the role of Counsel for the Defence with every complaint or criticism that is levelled against his members. I use the word ‘every’ advisedly, since I honestly cannot remember an occasion when I have heard Mr O’Connor admit that the police had got it wrong or when he failed to present a rationale or excuse for their behaviour. The result is that the currency of his argument is debased. No sensible person believes that the police are without flaw or that they always get it right. Yet that essentially seems to be Mr O’Connor’s position. Today’s news provides an example.In fact he was at it only a matter of weeks ago, again grabbing the limelight, to run one of his, you could set your watch by, predictable counter attacks and funnily enough that is where Tolley and O’Connors spin-doctored rhetoric collide.
– Dr Brian Edwards
Note: The NZ police have had the video clip of the Falwasser police torture in Dr Edwards article removed from youtube, probably because they have now successfully managed to bury a connected police corruption allegations scandal
The aforementioned report claiming that public confidence in police was at an all time high was released in September and the Government and the police spin doctors were of course the first to seize on the reports findings and crow. We here at LF were frankly surprised by the reports findings and it appears we were not alone.
The simple fact is that the New Zealand police have been fighting an up hill battle in trying to gain the publics confidence and are going to quite extraordinary lengths to protect the little thats left of their reputation.
Those efforts are made obvious in a number ways, not all of these techniques are known let alone reported on by New Zealands media.
We start with the obvious, for years now police have incessantly needed to widely publicise the smallest of their purported achievements – a 2% increase in public confidence?
Then there’s the fact that the Country’s media continues to question the findings of these so called police “public satisfaction” surveys, often not in so many words, but rather by reminding their audience of meriad corruption scandals, repeated allegations of police brutality, wrongful prosecutions and overturned convictions – many often involving convictions for crimes such as murder.
Then there are the important, albeit invisible, indicators that the New Zealand media fails to report on. In fact we are of the view that these indicators probably haven’t even crossed the minds of the average Kiwi journo despite the fact that certain readily available statistics would evidence the desperate lengths that police will go to, often with the assistance of their mates at New Zealand’s crown law office, to insure the survival of what little remains of their reputation.
Over the past decade or so police have defended, almost to the death, many wrongful convictions and the dirty tactics they employed in obtaining them. LF are currently working on two such cases, stories that exemplify this nefarious police behaviour, the stories of just two ordinary New Zealanders – Matthew Crann and Russell Byfield who ultimately after years of struggle have seen their wrongful convictions overturned, either at retrial or on appeal. There are of course many many others with similar tales who are also victims of the New Zealand police forces malevolent tactics. Tactics that are designed to ensure that the wrongful convictions stuck, often despite overwhelming evidence that their targets were in fact innocent.
Greg O’Connor, when the polices dirty tactics are exposed, always resorts to the argument that the cases reported are all high profile and as such are a statistical anomaly. O’Connor has been at liberty to get away with his spurious argument for one reason alone – its often only the well funded high profile cases that have dedicated supporters, resources and highly skilled capable lawyers that are essential if police malevolence or wrong doing is to be exposed.
Three examples of our argument are of course the Kim Dotcom, David Bain and more recently Mark Lundy cases, each of which had seen extraordinarily high media interest and reporting. But of course this handful of high profile cases, representing O’Connors so called “anomaly” are in no way statistically representative of the scale of police wrong doing which occurs on an almost daily basis.
Its the smaller everyday cases, often not even reported on by the media, that need to be included in any statistic if one is to fully comprehend the scale of the New Zealand police forces wrong doing – which often amounts to nothing less than serious criminal behaviour.
Short of each and every police prosecution being revisited and investigated there is no way of obtaining accurate statistics but there are still many social indicators available that go some way in illustrating the scale of the problem, one such indicator is the recent exponential growth in websites such as LF that are dedicated to exposing police corruption, some of these websites caste their net wide, others are simple blogs, often with a narrative recounting just one persons struggle for justice – even ex-cops that now want the world to be aware of the injustices they and their employer inflicted on their unwitting falsely accused victims have joined this online club.
This is of course just one of the many reasons why police and Govt may have recently taken a high degree of interest in imposing laws designed to curb the dissemination of information via the internet. Historically it has been common practice for police to issue very compliant social networking sites, such as youtube and Facebook, with take down notices if the material reflects badly on the police, its officers or heaven forbid, evidences criminal behaviour that police officers may have been party to.
One very recent example of this draconian police activity can be found with the treatment of Kiwi blogger Martyn Bradbury – Police threatened Bradbury with arrest and prosecution, citing imprisonment, if he failed to remove satirical images critical of the police’s handling of the “roastbusters” case. Police then later issued Facebook with yet another of their takedown notices when one of Bradbury’s readers posted the same image on FB and repeatedly noted the fact on Bradbury’s blogs comments section – police then lied to a mainstream media outlet, citing feigned concern for victims of the alleged rapes.
The following day, after we suspect seeking legal advice, Bradbury reposted the images with relish, inviting the police to do their worst:
Police threatening Bradbury was all about a clearly desperate mob of despots at PNHQ, headed up by Peter Marshall, trying to save face and limit the damage to their precious and rapidly disappearing mana, it had nothing whatsoever to do with, as they later insincerely feigned, the feelings and wellbeing of the young girls who had allegedly been raped by a gang of youths calling themselves “roastbusters” – Besides which the polices own recruiting material is far more distasteful than anything Bradbury had published, in fact had it not been for their own distasteful advertising handy work Bradbury would have had very little if anything to work with:
The New Zealand police force, as with any large group or collective that share common objectives, goals and ambitions, behaves very much like a “super organism“. In this case a “superorganism” that has been left un checked over many decades; developing an institutionalised culture that is frankly extremely sick. The illness is psychological and very closely related to what the DSM IV (TR) lists as narcissistic personality disorder.
Its a disorder known as “collective narcissistism” or group narcissism – which is why we here at LF thought the New Zealand Herald’s cartoonist had, albeit unwittingly, hit the nail on the head with his extremely appropriate piece of visual satire (above):
“She see’s Demons, so does he – God help us all”
Peter Marshall and the many other senior police commanders that have fronted television interviews in recent days (and many others over the years) displayed many of the traits one would expect to find in a case of collective narcissistism. Whilst Peter Marshall’s recent behaviour epitomises this collective malaise, Greg O’Connor’s behaviour over the years should be singled out for special mention as it evidences that the condition is chronic. Again Dr Brian Edwards best illustrates this fact with one of his many adroit observations:
“I honestly cannot remember an occasion when I have heard Mr O’Connor admit that the police had got it wrong or when he failed to present a rationale or excuse for their behaviour. The result is that the currency of his argument is debased. No sensible person believes that the police are without flaw or that they always get it right. Yet that essentially seems to be Mr O’Connor’s position.” – Dr Brian Edwards
Taking all of this into account one is left concluding that the New Zealand police force’s standing in the eyes of the kiwi public is in deep shit and no amount of government rhetoric or spin will alter that fact any time soon – a fact that the politicians, who are always looking out for number one, now undoubtedly realise.
So have things really changed or improved since Dame Margeret Bazley’s commission of enquiry into police conduct released its findings? Depending on how you approach the question there are in fact two answers – No; the police have obviously not lifted their game. Yes; the police have worked tirelessly at becoming far more proficient in concealing their own wrong doing.
So called independent surveys, inquiries and reports are one thing, they are certainly a very convenient ‘feel good‘ tool for governments trying to pull the wool, but the only real barometer of the publics sentiment towards the New Zealand police is to be found in an unprecedented and very rapid rise in public anger aimed squarely at the police over their handling of the roastbusters case.
It could have been any case where the police had failed to act for years, who – what – where – when was never the real issue. In our opinion the publics anger was never aimed at this allegedly criminal gang of young rapists calling themselves the “roast busters”; no the anger and rage has been long reserved for a much larger “patched” gang of criminals; its members, the men and woman who collectively represent the New Zealand Police force.
Citizens’ Satisfaction Survey reports (www.police.govt.nz)
Trust and Confidence in Police increases (www.police.govt.nz)
Elite officers tell of climate of fear (NZ Herald)
New Zealand Police corruption, the human cost (laudafinem)
Former officer alleges police corruption (laudafinem)
- Roastbusters… Someone’s out for blood (yannicowie.wordpress.com)
- Roastbusters and Police (simonbuckingham.org)
- NZ police slammed over teen ‘gang rape’ (skynews.com.au)
- Commissioner questions police over Roast Buster inquiry (radionz.co.nz)
- Inquiry on handling of Roast Busters case (news.com.au)
- Analysing the style game of the ‘Roast Busters’ (thegentryman.com)
- RoastBusters (ourpeopleourplace.wordpress.com)
- Police powerless over teen sex claims until complaint (radionz.co.nz)
- Outrage over Roastbusters grows (stuff.co.nz)
- Ex police thug heads New Zealand’s IPCA complaints investigation Unit (laudafinem.com)