IPCA report slams police mishandling of 'Roast Busters' case

Report a litany of police failings that "let victims down."

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has criticised the original police investigation into the alleged offending by the ‘Roast Busters’ as suffering from a number of significant deficiencies, in a report released today. (See report attached below)

The ‘Roast Busters’ were a group of young men – mainly based in West Auckland – who allegedly got underage girls drunk, had sex with them and then bragged about their activities on Facebook.

Reports of these activities broke in news media in November 2013, leading to criticism of and complaints about the way police handled the case.

Today’s IPCA report was the result of an investigation into whether Waitemata police were guilty of misconduct or failing to follow police practice, policy or procedure in the way they handled complaints made against the ‘Roast Busters’.

In the report, IPCA chairman Judge David Carruthers notes police treated the young victims of the alleged offending with "courtesy and compassion."

However, the report criticised the initial police investigation as not  being “robust and thorough” enough.

"In a number of cases police failed to adhere to the basic tenets of any form of criminal investigation," Judge Carruthers said.

Failures included:

  • Not undertaking adequate follow-up enquiries
  • Not pursuing positive lines of inquiry
  • Not identifying connections between the various cases
  • A lack of record keeping and assessment of evidence during investigations
  • Inadequate or non-existent contact and interaction with the alleged offenders and their families
  • Not working with other agencies to develop preventive strategies.

"Victims were let down” by the police, Judge Carruthers said.

Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle said he accepts the report’s findings and has offered a public apology to the girls at the centre of the investigation.

Police commissioner Mike Bush agreed investigations into the alleged offending by the Roast Busters group "fell far short" of the expected standard.

This is the second report IPCA related to the ‘Roast Busters’ – the first, released in May last year, was about information provided by police to media.

It centred on the fact a police spokesman told media that none of the alleged victims had been "brave enough" to make formal statements to police, even though a 13 year-old girl had made a formal statement.

The IPCA report on that matter put the error down to “a collective breakdown in communication due to other commitments and the pressure of time."

RAW DATA: Independent Police Conduct Authority’s Report on the Police’s handling of the alleged offending by ‘Roastbusters’(March 2013, 42 pp) (See report attached here)

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