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Gender of officers involved in pursuits 2011-2018

Peter Robinson made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

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From: Peter Robinson

Dear New Zealand Police,

I am looking into gender and the role it plays in police work. Can you please provide me with an excel spreadsheet of the number of pursuits between the years of 2011 and 2018 and the recorded gender of the initiating officer in each pursuit.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Robinson

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New Zealand Police

Good afternoon
Thank you for your request below.
Your request has been actioned and will be responded to pursuant to the
Official Information Act 1982.
Kind regards
Ministerial Services
Police National Headquarters

To: OIA/LGOIMA requests at New Zealand Police <[New Zealand Police request email]>
From: Peter Robinson <[FYI request #9338 email]>
Date: 05/01/2019 04:52PM
Subject: Official Information request - Gender of officers involved in
pursuits 2011-2018

Dear New Zealand Police,

I am looking into gender and the role it plays in police work. Can you
please provide me with an excel spreadsheet of the number of pursuits
between the years of 2011 and 2018 and the recorded gender of the
initiating officer in each pursuit.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Robinson

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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New Zealand Police


Attachment Robinson Peter IR 01 19 448 Response.pdf
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Dear Mr Robinson
Please find attached a response to your request of 5 January 2019.
Kind regards
Ministerial Services
Police National Headquarters

===============================================================

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

I don't think the reason for refusal NZ Police have used here is justified. Section 18(g) of the Official Information Act allows requests to be refused when:

"[T]he information requested is not held by the department or Minister of the Crown or organisation and the person dealing with the request has no grounds for believing that the information is either—
(i) held by another department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, or by a local authority; or
(ii) connected more closely with the functions of another department or Minister of the Crown or organisation or of a local authority"

In this case, NZ Police have only said that the information does not exist "in a retrievable form". However, given NZ Police almost certainly hold information on both which specific police officers were involved in pursuits and the gender of each police officer, it is not correct for them to refuse this request on the basis that they do not hold the information.

More realistically, it is possible they may be justified in refusing this request under section 18(f), i.e. that the information cannot be made available without substantial collation or research, due to the work that would be required for them to cross-reference the two sets of information they hold (i.e. officers involved in pursuits, and the gender of each officer). Based on pursuit data NZ Police have released under the OIA previously, from January 2011 to March 2018 there were over 19,000 police pursuits.

However, if this is the true reason that they are refusing your request, then they should state this so you can argue appropriately in a complaint to the Ombudsman if necessary.

I would recommend you lay a complaint with the Ombudsman on the basis that NZ Police *does* hold the information you have requested, therefore the reason they have given for refusing your request is unjustified. This would put the onus back on them to either refuse it for a different reason, or to decide to collate the information for you.

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

You may be interested to see this guideline on "Information not held", which was recently published by the Office of the Ombudsman: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resou...

Page 10 deals with "Creation vs collation":

"As noted above, there is no obligation to create information in order to respond to a request. However, there is an obligation to collate information that is already held."

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

One approach you may be able to try to avoid a potential refusal under section 18(f) (substantial collation or research) would be to request two separate lists from NZ Police, and do the cross-referencing work yourself. For example:

- For each pursuit between 2011 and 2018, the ID number of each police officer involved in the pursuit.
- For police officers employed by NZ Police at any point between 2011 and 2018, the ID number and gender of that police officer.

I'm not sure if "ID number" is exactly the right terminology to use, but I'm sure NZ Police will have some unique identifier associated with each officer that doesn't imply any more private information.

Asking for gender to be associated with this, rather than using the name of an officer for example, would make it hard for NZ Police to justify refusing the request under section 9(2)(a) (withholding info being necessary to protect the privacy of natural persons). Though of course it would be possible to further cross-reference these list with any other information involving a police officer's badge number, so they may try to refuse on that basis.

Permitting them to give no information on each pursuit aside from the ID numbers of officers involved (i.e. they could randomise the order of pursuits), or perhaps only specify the year in which they took place, could also help prevent a refusal under section 9(2)(a).

If NZ Police could release both of these lists to you in an accessible, machine readable format such as CSV or XLSX, it should be pretty straightforward to programmatically cross-reference them in order to collate the information you are seeking. I'd be happy to help you with this if you're not sure how to do it yourself.

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