New Zealand Police Vow Crackdown on False Sexual Assault Claims

Police in Palmerston North, New Zealand have become so exasperated at the level of false reporting of rape, that they are promising a crackdown and prosecution against people who make false statements about sexual assaults to police.

The Manawatu Evening Standard quoted Detective Sergeant Dave Clifford as saying that the volume of false reports had reached the level where it was diverting too many needed resources to investigate the false claims,

It would be close to one a week now and that’s too much. It’s got to the stage where we have to start locking them up.

. . .

It’s not unusual to have up to six staff investigating a complaint. We put all our resources into major investigations and rape is a major investigation.

Also, if someone is pointed out to us as an alleged offender, there is a stigma attached with that, too, because these things inevitably get out. And if the complainant does become a bona fide rape victim, their history of making false complaints can come back to haunt them. Police need some cynicism to help elicit the truth, but deepening that cynicism does a disservice to genuine victims.

Maybe we could transplant a bit of that common sense to this country.


Police sick of false sex complaints. Manawatu Evening Standard, January 14, 2004.

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