Police manual chapters

Jason Renes made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

The request was partially successful.

From: Jason Renes

Dear New Zealand Police,

I would like to make an Official Information Act request for copies of the following police manual chapters:

- Missing persons

- People trafficking and migrant smuggling

- Offensive weapons

- Kidnapping and abduction

Yours faithfully,

Jason Renes

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

A version of the "Offensive weapons, knives and disabling substances" chapter of the Police Manual was released previously in January 2017:


I don't believe there is a "Kidnapping and abduction" chapter, but there are chapters called "Abduction" and "Kidnapping for ransom". I don't know if these have previously been released publicly though.

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Police

Kia ora Jason

I acknowledge receipt of your Official Information Act (OIA) request below, received by New Zealand Police on 19 July 2022.
Your request is being actioned pursuant to the OIA. You can expect a response to your request on or before 16 August 2022.
Kind regards, Brittany
Ministerial Services PNHQ

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

A response to this request was due a week ago. By failing to respond within the legal timeframe, NZ Police are acting unlawfully. I recommend you complain to the Ombudsman about this unlawful delay.

If it helps, I have a template that I use when complaining to the Ombudsman about unlawfully overdue responses to OIA requests: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ad2Z...

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Police

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Attachment Renes Jason IR 01 22 21197 Response.pdf
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Tēnā koe Jason                                  

Please find attached the response to your Official Information Act
request, received by New Zealand Police on 19 July 2022.


Please accept our apologies for the delay in providing you with this

Ngā mihi


Ministerial Services |

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

I see Police has withheld a lot of information under section 6(c) of the Official Information Act, asserting that releasing it would be likely to prejudice the maintenance of the law.

In the past, Police has made very questionable decisions to withhold information from Police Manual chapters for this reason. Decisions that it later disagreed with. For example, when releasing the "Burglary and allied offences" chapter, Police at one point withheld information like this under s6(c):

"To ensure no fingerprints are missed, try to find... surfaces that may have been touched"

"Secure any evidence such as tools and instruments used to force entry"

Police later released that document in full to a different requester.

It's possible that Police have made similarly unjustified decisions to withhold information under s6(c) in response to this request. There is no way to know without seeing the information itself.

I recommend you lay a complaint with the Ombudsman regarding Police's decision to withhold some information from these documents.

The Ombudsman's guideline on section 6 refusals is clear that:

"It is not sufficient to simply assert that disclosure of the information will have a prejudicial effect. The public sector agency must be able to identify, with sufficient particularity, the nature of the prejudicial effect and explain how such prejudice will occur in order to meet the tests for withholding in section 6."

In investigating a complaint, the Ombudsman will likely require Police to explain the reason behind their decisions, in order to convince the Ombudsman that the decisions were justified. While considering this, the Ombudsman would also be able to review the information that has been withheld.

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

NZ Police has published the same five documents on their website today. I don't think the content there is any different, but the versions released on their website do seem to have better accessibility than what they released to you two weeks ago:


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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

There is actually a small difference between what was released to you and what has been published on the NZ Police website. Not in the content of the documents, so much as the reasons why particular pieces of information have been redacted.

In their response your request, NZ Police said all information they had withheld was done so under sections 6(c) and 6(d) of the OIA.

However, in the documents published on their website, no information was marked as having been refused under section 6(d) of the OIA, and the information redacted from the "Missing persons" chapter was marked as having been withheld under section 9(a)(2) of the OIA.

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Things to do with this request

New Zealand Police only: