The relationship between the Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police in New Zealand (1985)
This paper is introduced by a discussion of the concept of law and order. The concept of law is then distinguished from the concept of order, and the political significance of separation is illustrated. The conventions and practices of Ministerial authority and responsibility under the Westminster system are reviewed to determine the degree of accountability that applies in New Zealand. This is then distinguished from the accountability accepted of the Minister of Police in the Westminster system and particularly in New Zealand. The legal precedents are examined and the conventions are established in the application of the legal accountability of the Police to the judicial system rather than the Minister. The functions of the New Zealand Police are summarized, as are the decisions, structures and bureaucratic load of the Commissioner of Police as the Head of a Department of State. The conflict between the conventional accountability to the law and the accountability to the democratic system is demonstrated. The New Zealand experience is re-examined to confirm the thesis that the legal accountability is at best an inadequate explanation of the accountability of the New Zealand Police. In addition, any electoral accountability has been displaced or replaced by an informal system of direct accountability to the community.
KeywordsNew Zealand Police; Police administration--New Zealand; Police chiefs--New Zealand
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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