Police apologise to banned academic

  • 30/11/2015
Jarrod Gilbert
Jarrod Gilbert

Police have backed down from a decision to ban an academic from accessing police data and say they'll change the vetting process.

University of Canterbury criminologist Jarrod Gilbert sparked outrage last week when he revealed police had deemed him "not fit" to access basic data due to "gang connections".

Dr Gilbert spent 10 years living with his subjects to produce his book, Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand, the first major history of New Zealand gang life and which won the People's Choice Award at the 2013 NZ Post Book Awards.

In a statement today, police said they had not properly taken into account Dr Gilbert's connection to the gang.

"I have now written to Dr Gilbert explaining the police position and confirming there are no issues with him having access to the requested data for this project following further consideration of all the circumstances," Deputy chief executive Mark Evans said.

"As a result, police are amending guidelines around vetting of researchers, including high-level oversight and more detailed case-by-case consideration on vetting checks on researchers which are negative."

Dr Gilbert also revealed academics had to agree to clauses allowing police to censor or veto their reports if they were not constructive.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police would be changing the contract following the revelation.