Police increase estimate of deleted unlawfully taken photos

By Kelvin McDonald

Police have deleted upwards of 11,000 files after they were found to be unlawfully taking photos of Māori rangatahi and adults.

Earlier this month, a joint Police Conduct Authority and Privacy Commission report recommended police change their approach to photographing the public, after Wairarapa whānau complained about police photographing rangatahi unfairly in 2020.

Initially, police said they had deleted 6,000 photos, however, an RNZ report says police now believe it may be thousands more that were got rid off under a compliance notice from the Privacy Commissioner. 

Police told RNZ they looked at 6390 records and these had 11,092 attachments that could have been photos, which were all deleted.

"The taking of dual biometric data from persons in custody, both photographs and fingerprints, has ceased, and the ongoing compliance with this will be assured through the audits from December."