Decision to start general arming of Christchurch frontline officers

Mark Hanna made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

The request was partially successful.

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koutou,

This evening, RNZ reported that all Christchurch frontline police officers have been instructed to carry firearms on their person while on duty, “until further notice”: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/...

I am concerned by the fact that this general arming of Christchurch frontline officers has been commenced “until further notice”, rather than with a specified date on which the decision will be reviewed.

I would like to know what led to Police making the decision without any apparent plan to end this general arming of Christchurch frontline officers.

Please release the following information:

1. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications, regarding the decision to have Christchurch officers carry firearms on their person specifically “until further notice” (or other wording to similar effect).

2. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications, regarding plans to discontinue the general arming of Christchurch frontline officers.

3. Any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general arming of Christchurch frontline officers.

Please provide this information in an accessible, searchable format.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koutou,

Since sending my earlier email, I've seen through coverage of this decision by Stuff that the order to arm frontline officers "was being reviewed daily, but was in place until further notice".

In addition to the information requested in my previous email, please also release:

4. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how an order to arm frontline officers may be given.

5. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how an order to arm frontline officers is reviewed.

Please provide this information in an accessible, searchable format.

If any of the questions I have asked do not accurately reflect the current situation, please let me know. I would be happy to discuss how they could be refined.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

RNZ has reported that Christchurch officers will stay armed "until a wanted man is located": https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/...

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New Zealand Police

Hello Mark

I acknowledge receipt of your Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request
for the information below.
Your request is being actioned pursuant to the OIA.

Ngā mihi

 

Ministerial Services

Police NationalHeadquarters

 

 

[1]wordmark transparent

 

 

 

From: Mark Hanna < [2][FOI #9725 email] >
Date: 28/02/2019 09:04PM
Subject: Official Information request - Decision to start general arming
of Christchurch frontline officers

Tēnā koutou,

This evening, RNZ reported that all Christchurch frontline police officers
have been instructed to carry firearms on their person while on duty,
“until further notice”: [3] 
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/...
 

I am concerned by the fact that this general arming of Christchurch
frontline officers has been commenced “until further notice”, rather than
with a specified date on which the decision will be reviewed.

I would like to know what led to Police making the decision without any
apparent plan to end this general arming of Christchurch frontline
officers.

Please release the following information:

1. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications,
regarding the decision to have Christchurch officers carry firearms on
their person specifically “until further notice” (or other wording to
similar effect).

2. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications,
regarding plans to discontinue the general arming ofChristchurch frontline
officers.

3. Any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general arming of
Christchurch frontline officers.

Please provide this information in an accessible, searchable format.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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

This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #9725 email]

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Informationrequests to New Zealand Police? If so, please contact us using
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page.

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

From: MarkHanna < [8][FOI #9725 email] >
Date: 28/02/2019 10:44PM
Subject: Re: Official Information request - Decision to start general
arming of Christchurch frontline officers

Tēnā koutou,

Since sending my earlier email, I've seen through coverage of this
decision by Stuff that the order to arm frontline officers "was being
reviewed daily, but was in place until further notice".

In addition to the information requested in my previous email, please also
release:

4. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how
an order to arm frontline officers may be given.

5. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how
an order to arm frontline officers is reviewed.

Please provide this information in an accessible, searchable format.

If any of the questions I have asked do not accurately reflect the current
situation, please let me know. I would be happy to discuss how they could
be refined.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[9][FOI #9725 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[10] https://fyi.org.nz/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an Official Information officer, please
ask your web manager to link to us from your organisation's OIA or LGOIMA
page.

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New Zealand Police

Afternoon Mark,

 

Thank you for your OIA request received on 28/02/2019.
 
You requested:

* 1. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal
communications, regarding the decision to have Christchurch officers
carry firearms on their person specifically “until further notice” (or
other wording to similar effect).
* 2. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal
communications, regarding plans to discontinue the general arming of
Christchurch frontline officers.
* 3. Any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general
arming of Christchurch frontline officers.

You may be aware that, under the Official Information Act 1982, we are
required to respond to your information request within 20 working days.  
This letter is to let you know that as your request requires us to search
through a large amount of information, and consultation is required, we
need to extend the time limit for responding to you (in accordance with
section 15A(1)(a) of the Official Information Act 1982).

 

You can expect a response by 31/05/2019. If you have any questions, you
can contact [email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Rachel

 

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District
| New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch
Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

Safer Communities Together

   NZ Police on    Follow [2]@NZPolice    NZ Police on
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New Zealand Police

Morning Mark,
 
Unfortunately we will be unable to respond to your request by our
extension date of 31 May 2019. As your request needs to be responded to
by staff within the Police that have been diverted to other
important operations since the Mosque shooting on 15 March, we have
some OIA requests that will soon become overdue.
 
Can you please assist us by advising whether or not you are still looking
for a response to your request.
 
We apologise profusely for the delay in responding to you, and assure you
that if you still would like a response to your request it will be
actioned as a priority.
Kind regards,
 
Rachel
 

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District
| New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch
Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

Safer Communities Together

   NZ Police on    Follow [2]@NZPolice    NZ Police on
[1]Facebook           [3]YouTube

 

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From: Mark Hanna

Kia ora Rachel,

Thanks for the update, I am still looking for a response to this request. Best of luck to you all in dealing with the larger workload you've had since the 15th of March.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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New Zealand Police


Attachment Emails Op Couzins Redacted.pdf
410K Download View as HTML

Attachment Police firearms.pdf
39K Download View as HTML

Attachment Tactical Options Framework.pdf
147K Download View as HTML

Attachment TENR.pdf
228K Download View as HTML


Afternoon Mark,
 
Thank you for your request below.
 
Your request has been considered in accordance with the Official
Information Act 1982 and I enclose the following information:
 
- All emails in relation to the general arming of Canterbury Police in
February 2019.

- New Zealand Police routine carriage of firearms policy.
- New Zealand Police operational threat assessment policy.
- New Zealand Police Tactical Options Framework.
 
We have withheld some of the information you have requested for the
following reason:
- Section 9(2)(a): there is a need to protect the privacy of persons,
including that of deceased persons.
Police considers the interests requiring protection by withholding the
information are not outweighed by any public interest in release of the
information.
 
If you are not satisfied with our response or you have any questions,
please contact [1][email address]. You have
the right to ask the Ombudsman to review my decision if you are not
satisfied with Police’s response to your request. You can find more
information here:
[2]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/make-...
.
 
I would like to apologise again for the delay in responding to your
request.
 
Kind regards,
 
Rachel

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District
| New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch
Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

Safer Communities Together

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe Rachel,

Thank you for your response. I've just taken a look through the four documents attached to your email and I see that an email included in "Emails Op Couzins Redacted.pdf" says the following:

"A review and risk assessment has been completed by the District Commander as to the routine carriage of firearms by Officers in the current circumstances".

In my request, one of the pieces of information that I asked for was "3. Any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general arming of Christchurch frontline officers."

However, I haven't seen any specific information about this risk assessment in the response I have received, and your email doesn't state any grounds for refusing to release that particular information.

I also requested "2. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications, regarding plans to discontinue the general arming of Christchurch frontline officers."

Multiple emails included in "Emails Op Couzins Redacted.pdf" refer to planned reviews of the routine carriage of firearms, e.g. a review planned to be conducted at 8am on the 1st of March. However, I haven't seen any information regarding these reviews included in the response, or any grounds for this information being withheld.

As today marks 19 working days after the extended legal due date of this request, I am sure you can understand that it is frustrating for me to receive a response that appears to have ignored 2/3rds of my request. Should I be expecting a further response to follow shortly, containing the rest of the information I requested in February?

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

It appears that my request has been confused with a similar but separate request made by Emilie Rākete, which was received by NZ Police on the same day as my request. As Ms Rākete's request was also made on FYI, I can see that she received an identical response to mine, which was also sent at roughly the same time. However, our requests did not ask for the same information.

It has been several days since I sent a follow-up message to query the status of my request, the majority of which has not been addressed in the response I have received. I would appreciate receiving a response to this question today. This request has already been unlawfully delayed by over a month.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: MAUNDER, Renee
New Zealand Police

Thanks Mark, I'll take a look and see what has happened.

Ngā mihi

Renée

Renée Maunder
Senior Advisor
Ministerial Services
 
P +64 4 470 7119
DDI 44419
E [email address]
 

 

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From: MILNE, Rachel
New Zealand Police

Morning Mark,

 

Your response below has been forwarded through to me.

 

Police consider that all five points of your request have been answered in
our response. I have set out below which documents apply to each point:

 

1. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications,
regarding the decision to have Christchurch officers carry firearms on
their person specifically -until further notice- (or other wording to
similar effect).

- All emails in relation to the general arming of Canterbury Police
in February 2019.

 

2. All documents, including meeting minutes and internal communications,
regarding plans to discontinue the general arming of Christchurch
frontline officers.

- All emails in relation to the general arming of Canterbury Police
in February 2019.

 

3. Any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general arming of
Christchurch frontline officers.

- New Zealand Police operational threat assessment policy.

- New Zealand Police Tactical Options Framework.

 

4. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how
an order to arm frontline officers may be given.

- New Zealand Police routine carriage of firearms policy.

- New Zealand Police operational threat assessment policy.

- New Zealand Police Tactical Options Framework.

 

5. Any documents, such as guidelines or process documents, regarding how
an order to arm frontline officers is reviewed.

- New Zealand Police routine carriage of firearms policy.

- New Zealand Police operational threat assessment policy.

- New Zealand Police Tactical Options Framework.

 

To our knowledge there are no further documents or correspondence in
existence about this topic. Routine carriage of firearms is a routine
occurrence and Inspectors (or above) may make the decision to authorise it
by making a risk assessment using TENR (operational threat assessment) and
the Tactical Options Framework. TENR is used as a matter of course by
officers, and the results of their assessments are not routinely recorded.
The decision to authorise routine carriage is communicated to all
operational staff, usually via email. The decision is continuously
reviewed and any changes, such as roles and conditions of carriage, are
communicated, as well as the decision to end routine carriage.

 

If you are not satisfied with our response or you have any questions,
please contact [1][email address]. You have
the right to ask the Ombudsman to review my decision if you are not
satisfied with Police’s response to your request. You can find more
information here:
[2]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/make-....

 

Kind regards,

 

Rachel

 

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District
| New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch
Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

 

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe Rachel,

Thank you for your response. I am rather confused that you have now told me that there are no further documents or correspondence regarding plans to discontinue the general arming or regarding risk assessment of this general arming event, aside from the emails and generic policy documents that have been released.

As I said in my email on the 28th of June, the emails released to me include references to both "a review and risk assessment [that] has been completed by the District Commander" and planned reviews of the routine carriage of firearms.

I think it is clear that the District Commander's review and risk assessment would clearly fall under part 3 of my request, and any documentation (such as meeting minutes, which I explicitly stated should be included) regarding the reviews of this general arming event would clearly fall under part 2 of my request. However, no such information has been included in the response, and given references to this information within the emails that have been released I find it difficult to believe the assertion that this information does not exist.

Is there really no written record of the District Commander's review and risk assessment, or the meetings at which this general arming was reviewed? Or does this information exist but it was not determined to fall within the scope of my request?

I look forward to your prompt response.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: MILNE, Rachel
New Zealand Police

Afternoon Mark,

That is correct that there is no written record of the District Commander's review and risk assessment, or the meetings at which this general arming was reviewed.

In these types of circumstances, where the District Commander's review and risk assessment takes place, the meetings are not a formalised chaired meeting with recorded minutes. It is a decision making process. In this case the meetings were stand up meetings in the District Command Centre. The District Commander was briefed, in the ensuing discussion the TENR model was applied, and the District Commander made his decision. In terms of risk these were 'act now principles' of decision making. There were no notes of the discussions, but the email instructions for General Arming that were distributed encapsulated the decision.

Kind regards,

Rachel

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District | New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe Rachel,

Thank you for clarifying for me that Police did not keep any written record of the risk assessment conducted regarding this general arming event. I’m incredibly surprised to hear that such important information was not recorded, particularly given NZ Police’s legal responsibility under s17(1) of the Public Records Act requiring that it:

“must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice”

Particularly given the risks involved in a general arming event such as this, which could potentially have resulted in multiple deaths or serious injuries, I do not think it would be unreasonable to consider that it would be in accordance with normal, prudent business practice to keep a record of any risk assessment conducted prior to ordering that frontline officers should carry firearms on their person.

I would also like to remind NZ Police that the definition of official information in the Official Information Act is not limited to information contained in documents.

In part 2 of my request I did specifically ask for documents regarding plans to discontinue this general arming event. This was based on what I believed at the time to be the very reasonable assumption that NZ Police would have kept a written record of these important meetings, in accordance with its legal responsibilities under the Public Records Act. Now that I have been informed that this assumption was incorrect, I regret the wording that I chose for this part of my request.

However, in part 3 of my request I did not restrict my request for information regarding “any risk assessment conducted regarding the temporary general arming of Christchurch frontline officers” to information contained in documents.

I would like to refer you to Ombudsman’s case note W50611, which clarifies the nature of official information which has not been reduced to writing: http://ic.softlinkhosting.co.nz/OMBliber...

“the definition of official information includes not only information held in documentary form but also knowledge of a particular fact or state of affairs held by the officers of organisations in their official capacity. The fact that such information has not been reduced to writing does not mean that it does not exist and is not “held” for the purposes of the OIA.”

“The Ombudsman advised that, even though this information had not yet been recorded in documentary form, it was open to the ASC and its members to either reduce the information it recalled to writing or provide it verbally to the complainant.”

As such, I believe that the District Commander’s knowledge of the risk assessment they completed for this event falls within the scope of my request, as is the case for anyone else who attended the stand up meetings you referred to.

I hope that neither the lengthy extension or the subsequent unlawful delay in NZ Police’s response to this request won’t have resulted in this official information having been forgotten by the District Commander, or by others who attended the meeting.

If it was the intention of NZ Police to withhold this information, please specify the grounds for withholding it so I can consider whether or not to lay a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. If this was not the case, please reduce this information to writing and release it as soon as possible.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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Andrew Riddell left an annotation ()

Excellent letter.

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

Thank you, I hope it works. I've also drafted a complaint to the Ombudsman on similar grounds, which I intend to send to them today.

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From: MILNE, Rachel
New Zealand Police

Afternoon Mark,

The District Commander’s knowledge of the risk assessment completed for this event, and that of anyone else who attended the meetings, is withheld for the following reasons:

- Section 6(c): the release would be likely to prejudice the maintenance of law, including the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences, and the right to a fair trial. Information within the risk assessment relates to a case which is currently before the Court, and includes intelligence, deployment plans, and other operational information which is withheld to ensure Police can effectively prevent, investigate, and detect offences, both in regards to the case in question, and in the future.

- Section 9(2)(g)(i): the withholding of the information is necessary to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between officers and employees of any Department or organisation in the course of their duty. The risk assessment involves free and frank discussion of the situation, which is necessary for Police staff to make decisions, especially in urgent and evolving circumstances.

Police considers the interests requiring protection by withholding the information are not outweighed by any public interest in release of the information.

You have the right to ask the Ombudsman to review my decision if you are not satisfied with Police’s response to your request. You can find more information here: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/make-....

Kind regards,

Rachel

Canterbury OIA Team Leader | File Management Centre | Canterbury District | New Zealand Police
Canterbury District Headquarters, 40 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central, DX WX 10057, Christchurch 8022

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