New Zealand Labour Party

Tragedy must be impetus for better training

The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says.

Commenting on an IPCA report into the death of Sentry Taitoko in a police cell last year Mr Davis said it made for tragic reading and should be impetus for some major changes in procedure.

“There’s a long list of stuff-ups, from the ill-advised arrest through to inadequate monitoring.

“It highlights ongoing and recurring issues regarding the management of people in custody, particularly with regards to training, staff expertise and consistency of practice.

“Only one of the four custody officers on duty that night - one of the busiest nights of the week at one of the country’s busiest police stations - had any real experience in handling this type of situation.


“Police Minister Michael Woodhouse must pay more than lip service to the family of Sentry Taitoko. He must guarantee that not only will procedures change but that every officer will be adequately trained to ensure there are no similar tragedies in future.”