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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Terms of Reference of joint inquiry into Police photographing of members of the public

9 March 2021

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority have released the Terms of Reference for their current joint inquiry into Police conduct involving the photographing of members of the public.

The joint inquiry will focus on the practice of photographing members of the public who were not being detained or suspected of committing an offence.

The intention to jointly inquire into this practice was announced in December 2020 following substantial media publicity about Police taking photographs of Māori young people in Wairarapa in August 2020. While the photographing of youth remains a key focus of the inquiry, the terms of reference are broadened and include the photographing of other members of the public.

The key issues for consideration include:

  • Whether Police actions with respect to the Wairarapa incidents complied with Police policy, the Privacy Act, and any other legislation
  • The extent to which, and the reasons why, Police are photographing members of the public in public places
  • The variations in practices in this respect across Police districts
  • What Police policy and practice in this area should be, including the extent to which any specific restriction or requirement ought to govern the photography of children and young people
  • Any compliance and enforcement actions which are required if it is found that Police breached the privacy of the individuals involved.

The inquiry team will ask for and review information obtained from Police and interview any youth that were involved by this practice, and their families and support people.

The draft inquiry report is expected to be completed by September 2021.

The inquiry team is keen to hear from members of the public who have experienced this practice in the past two years. The team can be contacted by emailing compliance@privacy.org.nz.

A copy of the Terms of Reference can be obtained here.

For more information:

Charles Mabbett

021 509 735


Warren Young

021 557783


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