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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Woman should not have had clothing forcibly removed to be placed in a gown

8 April 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint where it was alleged that a woman had her clothing removed while in Police custody by female and male staff in Waitematā District.

Police found that, in removing the woman's clothing, custody staff had followed an interpretation of Police policy that was incorrect but had been circulated to them by senior staff. This misinterpretation meant the woman had her clothing forcibly removed and was placed in a suicide resistant gown when doing so was not mandatory and there were other options available to ensure her safety.

In addition, two male Police staff assisted in the removal of the woman's clothing and one later entered the cell with a female colleague, while the woman was still naked, to assist with covering her up so she could be transported to the Auckland District Custody Unit. This was unnecessary as female staff were available and compromised the woman's dignity.

The policy misinterpretation was corrected and custody staff received an employment outcome.

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