- How were the first 8300 respondents selected – from electoral roll? Were any attempts made to ensure those selected were representative of New Zealand’s demographics in terms of ethnicity, age and gender?
- Of those who had had contact with the Police, what was the breakdown of how they had had contact with the Police – ie how many were offenders, how many were victims, how many were witnesses?
- What crimes were covered in the people surveyed? Can you list them?
- Are you able to draw any conclusions about whether victims of some crimes say, are likely to be more satisfied with Police response than others?
- Of those who had contact with the Police, what was the demographic breakdown in terms of ethnicity – percentages from particular ethnic groups?
- Are you able to draw any conclusions about whether some ethnicities are likely to be more satisfied with Police than others?
- How did satisfaction levels of Maori compare with non-Maori?
By December, several conversations later, I’d been advised by Police National Headquarters that the survey had not produced a formal report, and they could answer none of the questions I’d put to them. They promised to get back in touch when the report was available.
By the end of January 2009, National Police Headquarters said no report had been produced and none was planned, and it was difficult to analyse so much data. They also said the associated costs were commercially sensitive, so they could not release that information.
Now, thanks to the wonders of the Official Information Act, I have answers to some of these questions.
The report, written by Gravitas Research and Strategy Limited, was completed in August 2008 – several months before I began asking for it. It weighs in at 20 pages with 44 pages of appendices. Surprisingly difficult, you might think, to mislay, repeatedly.
The overall budget for carrying out the survey and undertaking the analysis including associated technical costs for managing the data was $328,670. The Police asked me to note this should not be interpreted as the amount paid to the researchers.
The report answered none of the questions I had put to the Police. It tells of the development of the questionaire, how long it took, how many people called, where they were.
Everyone was asked their age, ethnicity and gender. Everyone was asked what kind of contact they had had with the police – including what kind of crime. But there is no information about what differences these factors, if any, made to satisfaction levels.
What is presented in the Appendices are the surveys themselves and some feedback from Gravitas about question wording.
Oh, and a three page section on whether the police officer the respondent had contact with had been wearing a hat or jacket, and what difference that made to satisfaction levels.
Hats and jackets, apparently, being more important to know about than whether our police treat people with equivalent respect regardless of their race/ethnicity; regardless of the crime perpetrated; regardless of their age; regardless of their gender. Or at least, whether the public feels we are treated as fairly.
This is a shambles quite honestly. Why the report was not made available is anyone’s guess – perhaps discussions of hats and jackets would not have made quite such a flash press release.*
Let’s hope any such survey this year produces something a bit more useful.
*It makes no difference incidentally. Apparently we don’t care if a police officer is wearing a hat or jacket, we care how they treat us. Go figure.