11 Nov 2019
Our Reference: IR-01-19-28300
Email: [email address]
I am writing to you in response to your request dated 16 May 2019. You asked:
Please provide me with the snapshot population of all NZ police cells on the final
day of each quarter, as far back as records permit. In other words, please provide
me with the number of people in all NZ police cells facilities on March 31, June
30, September 30, and December 31 of each year, as far back as records permit.
Please break this down further by ethnicity and gender of the population.
You received a response on 11 June advising that your request was refused because “In
order to provide the information for this request, a manual search of each day’s custody
notes would need to be undertaken in each Police District.” I understand you have made
a complaint to the Ombudsman.
I apologise for this previous response as it was incorrect. While a manual search can be
performed, Police does have access to reporting tools that can facilitate much easier
collation of such data, although it is still not a ‘one click’ job. The request was assigned to
a team that does not normally deal with OIA requests about custody and this is why the
incorrect advice was given.
Please see below a response to your original request.
Police began recording custodies in a central computer system as a pilot in November
2008, and this was rolled out nationally by December 2010. Because of this, the data for
31 December 2008, 31 March 2009, 30 June 2009, 31 December 2009, 31 March 2010,
30 June 2010, and 30 September 2010 may not be representative of these days in other
years. As per your phone conversation with a member of my team on 14 October 2019,
you advised that you need this information for a specific reason and you realise that the
snapshot numbers are not indicative of trends as the day of the week for the same date
changes year on year.
Police National Headquarters
180 Molesworth Street. PO Box 3017, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.
Telephone: 04 474 9499. Fax: 04 498 7400. www.police.govt.nz
The information is provided in the attached spreadsheet. The provided count is of
custodies rather than of unique people because the same person could be in custody
multiple times. The numbers relate to all types of detentions in Police custody, not just
arrests (for example, it may include detainees held for immigration reasons or those who
are remanded in Corrections custody).
National Manager: Response & Operations