Probationary police officer Serena Holroyd is believed to have committed suicide in March 1996 as a result of being subjected to the kind of cruel, sadistic, misogynist, bullying, incompetence and corruption as I've received from the New Zealand police since I arrived in Carterton.
Reading the information received from the Coroner's Office, and the other information that can be found by those who care to look, is harrowing, and profoundly moving. It tells the story of a Constable who tried to do her job to the best of her (obviously considerable) ability, with a particular interest in helping the victims of domestic violence, who was bullied, lied to, harassed, mocked and abused for not joining in the obligatory "jug sessions" in the police bar after work, and then let down by a senior officer who failed to support her as he'd promised and corrupt and incompetent colleagues in the Counties Manakau police district.
Here is her parents petition to parliament, and parliament's insulting response:
"Petition/submission 2008/118, to the law and order committee
In 1993, my daughter Serena Holroyd joined the Police as a mature successful woman.
In March 1996, after three years in the Police, she took her own life.
My family and I believe that the police were directly responsible for her death, and we have evidence to support this claim.
Summary of actions my family and I have taken, and the result of these actions:
Shortly after Serena's death, my husband and I wrote to the Police, outlining 13 points of concern. (EncI, item 1)
The Police responded to this letter by conducting an internal inquiry by two non−sworn staff members, Jenny Prentice and Alison Gracey.
This inquiry was very critical of Police management and practice. We understood that Police management accepted the findings.
A second inquiry was conducted by the Police, this time by two sworn members, Detective Superintendent P Marshall and Senior Sergeant G Gibson.
My family and I were not informed that this inquiry was to take place.
The Police arrived at our home, and asked for personal details about my daughter, which we innocently handed over.
We believed the two Police officers were engaged in an objective inquiry.
It was only much later that we discovered that the Police officers were intent on destroying the first inquiry's credibility, and digging up any possible unfavourable issues associated with Serena, ( They even investigated her father) I am angry that Serena, her father and myself have been treated with such little respect by the Police. To say the last inquiry was bankrupt is an understatement.
My family and I have evidence that the Police went to extraordinary lengths to destroy my daughter's career, including the setting of objectives that no other Police officer has had to do in police history.
When my family and I tried to lay a complaint with the Police Complaints Commissioner, we were unsuccessful because they do not look at employment issues. We discovered that junior Police officers and their families have no independent path of complaint. They are the only government employees without this.
The Police Act and the States Services Act require the Police to be good employers at all times. In Serena's case, they have failed badly.
My family and spent a great deal of time making a submission to the Bazley inquiry into Police conduct. She refused to look at 95% of our evidence. We were very disappointed with the results of the inquiry, because no−one was held to account in our case.. The law was not changed. Junior Police officers still have very little protection.
After a long delay, we finally got hold of the 1000+ pages of internal Police documents. These documents revealed many interesting issues, for example, the dispute that a Mr B Hartley, District Commander, Counties−Manukau. He was angry about the findings of the Prentice−Gracey report. Mr Hartley was Serena's employer, and a very bad employer, in our opinion. He believed that the Police had not, by conducting this inquiry been a good employer. We have evidence that District Commander Hartley obtained confidential details contained in the Prentice−Gracey report, and set out to destroy its credibility.
• At our expense, my family and I employed a Barrister to review the evidence and write a report. (Encl. Item 3) We have gone to the Ombudsman, the State Services Commission, and the Human Rights Commission, all without any success. They are unable or unwilling to help us.
• Since 2003, the Police have refused to answer any of our letters. (Encl. Item 4)
All our letters have been met by massive delays by the police. It has taken 15 years, and we have still not resolved this issue. Delay and Obstruction Appears to be standard Police procedure. Many Officers who engaged in this Practice have risen to Senior Positions in the Police.
Summary:C/47−6 Newhaven st,
As stated at the beginning of this letter, my family and I want an independent inquiry into the events surrounding my daughter's death. No one has been held accountable for the appalling treatment my Serena received as a Police Officer, or their treatment of my family since her death.
Original letter of Complaint. 27 March 1996
Prentice ,Gracey Report. 29 August 1996
Our Barristers review of the case. Grant Millar. 13 June 2002
Police refusal to reply letter. 16 December 2003. W Annan
C M Holroyd
The Hon J Luxton MP.
Minister of Police.
clo Parliament House,
Dear Mr Luxton,
We are writing to you regarding the recent death by suicide of our daughter Serena Holroyd, probationary police officer number F 489.
We believe her death was directly attributed to the very poor treatment she received during her employment with the N.Z. Police.
It is the duty of every employer to look after their employees, and the police seem to have totally failed in this respect.
We have specific concerns focusing upon the following issues:
1.Continued refusal to grant Serena her permanent appointment despite her completing and exceeding all her work and examination requirements.
2. The lack of a stable work environment, 4 police stations and 20 different sergeants in a period of 28 months.
3.A near total lack of administrative support to enable ajunior police officer to come to terms with the job requirements.
4.Relentless overwork, always having to complete paper work in her own time.
5.Discriminatory refusal to be granted examination leave.
6.Expected to take on a large work load and to train others while still a probationary officer.
7.Repeated absence of a duty sergeant for back−up while on front line duty.
8. Acute on−going under staffing at the Mangere Station.
9. Working on her own at night attending violent domestic disputes and walking the beat in central Auckland.
10. An unresolved sexual harassment incident.
11.Little or no training in the skills needed to be a shift worker,
12. Serena was given a hard time for refusing to take part in "JUG" sessions after work and drive home drunk.
13 .Just how impartial are performance appraisals? It would seem personal prejudices influence assessments. Information has been given to us from several sources and it is our considered view
that a full ministerial investigation be implemented, with some degree of urgency into this very serious matter. While nothing can be done to bring our precious daughter back, changes must be made to help prevent other young police officers from being placed in such an
Here's the submissions of the NZ Police and the insulting response from parliament:
the House of Representatives conduct an inquiry into the treatment of Police Officer
Serena Holroyd and the Police’s conduct after her death.
We sought and received submissions from the petitioner, the New Zealand Police, and the Independent Police Conduct Authority. We have considered the material provided to us by the petitioner with much sympathy, and we appreciate the distress that resulted from Ms Holroyd’s untimely death in 1996. However, we note that there have been several inquiries into Ms Holroyd’s death, and our consideration of the petition and other related material has not revealed sufficient grounds or new avenues for re-opening the case to examination.
The committee has no matters to bring to the attention of the House. We recommend that the House take note of our report."
I feel deeply for the family and friends of Serena Holroyd, and for Serena herself. Silent now, but not forgotten. I hope by writing about what happened to Serena here it will help her rest more peacefully, and comfort her family, knowing that the truth hasn't gone unnoticed. Further information can be obtained regarding the death of Serena Holroyd, by writing to Coronial Services at Coronial.Information@justice.govt.nz and requesting it.
Why has this matter not been reported in any New Zealand 'news' media - and why has this family - like so many other people - been silenced with this 'slap in the face and shut up' response from our government?!
We pay taxes to enable our government to govern our communities and our country effectively, that money is being ripped off by incompetent and corrupt individuals every day and the more they get away with it the more the problem grows like a poisonous cancer, infecting more and more new recruits as it's allowed to fester unhindered.