Thursday, May 06, 2010

He's still a police officer

It never ends:

The woman, whose name is suppressed, argued in a civil case that she had felt obliged to fulfil Mr Govers' sexual requests because of his position.

The woman had helped police spy on a methamphetamine ring in 2005. Shortly afterwards, Mr Govers took a bottle of wine to her home.

She said he told her he could help if she was in trouble, and that he knew her children were in care and her violent partner had just gone to jail.

The woman said he asked her to perform a sex act on him, but court documents show Mr Govers denies this took place.
The woman was suing Peter Govers in civil court, arguing that their relationship was a fiduciary relationship - that he had a duty to act in her best interests. The Judge ruled that no such relationship existed - but she did say that she believed that the woman's story was more likely than not correct. I'm really glad that the woman involved was told that someone believed her.

The police culture in Rotorua in the 1980s was one that enabled police officers to rape women with impunity. That's pretty much a matter of record at this point.

We're supposed to believe that it's all changed now. It's all clean - the bad apples in Rotorua rotted the whole barrel - but bad apples aren't a problem anymore.

But a police officer can have sex with someone who did not feel able to say no and remain a police officer. Govers was demoted from detective Sergeant to Senior Constable. He still has the power of arrest, the badge, the baton, and the mates.

Years ago I asked this:
For me this shows one of the fundamental problem with the police. Abuse, including rape, appears to be an inevitable result of the sort of power we give police. I know people have different analyses about how much good the police do (I come down on the side of 'none'). But even if you believe that the police do improve society, do you really believe that what happened to Louise Nicholas, Judith Garrett and countless other women is an acceptable side effect of that good?

It's not just Rotorua and it's not just the 80s.


  1. I remember when I was little I
    A) hero worshipped the police. and
    B) wanted to be one.
    Not so much as an adult woman. I take care not to assume that just because someone wears a uniform that they are trustworthy.