IPCA report finds police let victims down in initial 'Roast Busters' investigation

By Te Ao Māori News

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has released the findings of its investigation into the Police handling of the alleged offending by the ‘Roastbusters.’

It identified a number of significant deficiencies in the original Police investigations into the alleged offending  by the group of young men in Auckland.

IPCA Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said the officers investigating these matters tended to approach each case on an individual, case-by-case, basis simply to consider whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the offenders for sexual violation.

“In the Authority’s view the officers should have identified the connections between the various cases and worked with other agencies to develop strategies to reduce the recurrence of what was clearly unacceptable and, in some cases, criminal behaviour. Victims were let down by their failure to do so,” Sir David said.

This is the Authority’s second report on the issue – the first was released in May last year which focussed on the information provided by Police to the media.

When the story initially broke, Police said they couldn't investigate the teen sex group's alleged actions because a formal complaint hadn't been laid.  However it soon emerged a young girl had complained in 2011, but her case wasn't followed up.

The first IPCA report into the incident noted that Police failed to rectify the problem until after contradictory information emerged in the media.  The report also outlined that trust and confidence is undermined when Police provide inaccurate information to the public.

In October last year Police released the outcome of their investigation,‘Operation Clover’ into the activities of the Roast Busters group.

The findings saw no charges laid by Police regarding 8 incidents involving 7 victims and 5 suspects.

At the time, the officer in charge of Operation Clover, Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus told media it was a carefully considered decision taking into consideration a range of factors.

The 12-month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area.

The group of West Auckland teenagers who called themselves ‘The Roast Busters’ were lunged into the media spotlight last year after posting videos of themselves online bragging about having sex with drunk girls, some of whom were underage.

The group also named some of the girls in their online videos criticising, degrading and making fun of them.

Operation Clover was led by Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus who worked on the operation with a multi-agency investigation team which included the Waitematā Child Protection team and specialist Police from the Counties-Manukau and Auckland City Districts. Other Government agencies involved included Child Youth and Family, the Ministry of Education and ACC.