Prior to 1989 all complaints against the Police were investigated internally by Police. Following several years of debate about Police accountability, sparked in part by the role of Police during the 1981 Springbok Tour, the Police Complaints Authority was established in 1989.
In May 2000, as a result of adverse public comment about the independence of Police Complaints Authority investigations, the Minister of Justice appointed Sir Rodney Gallen to conduct a review of the Authority.
Sir Rodney made several recommendations aimed at improving public confidence in the Authority. These changes included the appointment of independent investigators and that less serious complaints be resolved by reconciliation where possible.
In 2004 the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct was set up to investigate the way NZ Police handled allegations of sexual assault by members of the Police.
Although the focus was on the role of the Police, the report also considered the Authority's role and relationship with the Police.
Dame Margaret Bazley presented her report to the Governor-General on 26 March 2007. Twelve recommendations were made including enhanced powers and improved communication with complainants.
Read the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.
The changes implemented recommendations from both the 2007 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct and the 2000 Gallen Review of the Police Complaints Authority.
Significant legislative, operational and structural changes were made aimed at fulfilling our mandate to act as a genuinely independent investigative body.
The Chair of the IPCA must be a Judge or a retired Judge and is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the House of Representatives for a five-year term.
May 2023 - Judge Kenneth Johnston KC
August 2017 - April 2023 Judge Colin Doherty
2012 - 2017 Judge Sir David Carruthers KNZM
2007 - 2012 Hon. Dame Justice Lowell Goddard QC
2000 - 2007 Judge Ian Borrin
1997 - 2000 Judge Neville Jaine
1992 - 1997 Hon. Justice Sir John Jeffries
1989 - 1992 Hon. Justice Sir Peter Quilliam