NZ Police Media Release: Workplace culture survey results

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Insights gained from a wide-ranging workplace survey will contribute to a renewed focus on strengthening Police’s internal culture, says Commissioner Andrew Coster.
Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) commissioned the staff survey to better understand employee experiences of Police workplace culture and to support an investigation by the IPCA into allegations of workplace bullying in Police. 
Results show 81 percent of staff agree Police is a great place to work, and most are comfortable with the workplace culture and feel it is improving. 
However, one in four staff reported they had experienced incidents of abuse, bullying behaviour or harassment and the Police executive says that is not good enough.
The survey was conducted online by an independent research company over two weeks and had a response rate of 40 percent, or 5,790 staff.  A top line summary has been provided to staff. More detailed results will be available when the IPCA issues its report in February next year.
Top line results show: 

  • Most staff feel NZ Police is a great place to work (81%). Camaraderie amongst staff is seen as a strong contributor to that positive culture. 
  • Most also feel comfortable with the workplace culture and have a sense that it is improving. 
  • Staff feel confident declining to participate in activities they don’t feel comfortable with, feel safe to be themselves at work and are comfortable raising issues with their manager.
  • Half of non-constabulary staff disagree that they are treated with the same level of value and respect as their sworn colleagues. Half of constabulary staff disagree that the process for allocating appointments and promotions is fair. 
  • One in three staff disagree that NZ Police has no tolerance for workplace bullying or harassment.
  • One in four have experienced isolated incidents of abuse, bullying behaviour or harassment.
  • Where staff can disclose the status of the responsible person, two-thirds say issues are caused by more senior staff. 
  • The low likelihood of a positive outcome is the reason why many staff choose not to report with only a third of employees reporting issues. 

Building a positive, high-performing culture in Police has been a priority for Commissioner Andrew Coster since he took up the role earlier this year.  He says the survey has provided valuable insights and a baseline from which to build. “It’s heartening to know that most of our people feel NZ Police is a great place to work and most are comfortable with the workplace culture. 

“However, there are aspects that staff feel less positively about which are a cause for concern and must be addressed. Across the organisation there must be no tolerance for behaviours that are not aligned with our values, or leadership styles or that are not inclusive of our diverse workforce. Police’s purpose is to ensure New Zealanders can be safe and feel safe, and that goes for our staff too.”

As a result of the independent Francis Review conducted last year, Police is already working to strengthen its approach to preventing and managing bullying and harassment, Commissioner Coster said.  

“We are working to prevent bullying by creating and sustaining a healthy organisational culture, and to manage incidents where they occur, through safe and secure channels for disclosures and effective resolution of complaints,” Commissioner Coster said.

“For example, our recruitment and appointment process is now simpler and fairer so that talent decisions – from recruitment to exit – will be more transparent and consistent. People leaders are being provided with skills and support in coaching and reflective practice. A new secure channel for disclosing bullying and harassment will be launched in the New Year with skilled support provided to complainants.  Harassment and discrimination policies are being updated and there will be clearer guidance on how to make a protected disclosure.  We are currently piloting a new disciplinary process that is more people-centric and takes a restorative justice approach to resolving issues.

“These are just some of the steps we are taking to ensure we have a workplace culture where all Police feel supported and valued,” Commissioner Coster said. 

Chair of the IPCA, Judge Colin Doherty, agrees that Police is on the right track to improve its culture. “Early next year the Authority will be publishing its report arising from its inquiry into complaints about bullying and like cultures within Police, that commenced in October 2019. While we will be identifying areas for further focus and improvement, we acknowledge Police’s active engagement with the Authority and the direction being set by Police leadership in continuing to promote a positive culture within the organisation,” Judge Doherty said.

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