This story is dedicated to the undercover agents who took drugs for the NZ Police administration and to their families who witnessed the outcome.
When I first heard the expression ‘the police are the biggest gang in the country’ I found it laughable. To believe the NZ Police operated above and beyond the law seemed impossible. Then, my sister and brother in law were accepted into the NZ Undercover Police programme. They had been cops for around 5 years and were only the second couple to be accepted to go undercover together. Neither of them had ever smoked marijuana before. People always scoff when I tell them they had never smoked dope before they joined, but they hadn’t. They were classic Kiwi boozers.
Their first ever experience was when they were taken away for a ‘training weekend’ in Rotorua and were introduced to smoking marijuana whilst under the guidance of their operaters and in complete knowledge, and attendance of senior Police officers. That always resonated with me. Seniors officers were on premises when they first smoked and got all paranoid and ‘first time kooky’.
This is when the officers were taught that it is impossible to ‘simulate’ smoking marijuana and they would be lying under oath when giving evidence. It is a bizarre situation for people to start using drugs for Police work. But even worse when they were also involved in a fraud to ensure convictions. Most of them continued using marijuana after the end of the undercover operations and a culture of going to any lengths to ensure convictions spread throught he force. And a culture of lying.
THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF ‘STONED ON DUTY’ IS HERE. Everything is covered in this extensive history of the undercover programme. If you are not aware of this part of NZ history, I definitly recommend reading it.
When I finally was told all this, after having seen the effects of the undercover programme on my family, which still continue to this day, I have never trusted the Police since. To happily change, distort and sometimes break the officers personalities for the sake of small time ‘drug convictions’, the lack of any humanity broke something inside me. That piece of us that always believes everything is lawful and right in the world was broken forever. When someone you love can be used and dismissed with such little care, well, you can’t dismiss that and feel the Police are our (mythical) protectors.
But all of the lies and treatment of Police was revealed in the Press last century but no change to undercover programmes was ever publicly stated by Police as being actioned. In fact, the two recent cases are horrifying for what they show of the continued abuse of the undercover programme.
And it led to this farce.
And the false conviction for an undecover policeman is quite literally breaking the law.
Now, we are all aware that at that time, we were the only country in the world that allowed our police to go on extended periods undercover, sometimes for up to a year. The operatives also totally immersed themselves in the lives of their targets.
They all learnt to lie well.
Unlike many other international undercover programmes, New Zealand’s controversial policy with agents’ drug taking has been their unmaking. Lawsuits, addicted agents, and allegations of perjured evidence have sullied the aims and achievements of the Undercover Programme.
There are many more trials like this one where the police purjured themselves. Why have none of them been re-examined?
Should we believe the recent report that undercover programmes will be examined? Soon, these programmes that have destroyed lives, shattered trust and yielded thousands of tainted convictions will have been operating with impunity within NZ for 50 years. Will they ever be stopped?