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The New Zealand Herald

Spinning colour wheel to avoid a blue

26 Jun, 2009 11:20pm

NZ Herald
By: Jared Savage

Criminal investigations in Auckland are now codenamed after shades of paint because of fears that an off-colour label could cause offence.

The Range 2009 fandeck
Resene's colour chart provides inspiration for case names.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard has created a list of codenames for police operations from a Resene paints colour chart.

Recent examples include Operation Anakiwa - a shade of blue - in which police laid charges against Glenn Mills, 40, who allegedly deliberately infected sexual partners with HIV.

Operation Beryl, in which police investigate an alleged international car theft ring, is a hue of green.

Mr Beard said the colour list came into effect late last year after senior police officers noted there was "a bit of risk" in some operation codenames.

"In years gone past, there have been operation names that have been silly. As a management team, we saw the risks there," said Mr Beard.

"There can be no criticism [of the colour chart]. You can't get to court and the lawyer asks, 'Where did that name come from?"'

Mr Beard declined to reveal the names of operations that had caused concern.

In the past, police would sometimes dub inquiries after the road that a crime was committed on, like Operation Hamilton, which investigated the murder of Augustine Borrell in Herne Bay in September 2007.

On occasion, police have shown a sense of humour.

An operation targeting underworld figures manufacturing methamphetamine in 2000 was dubbed "Operation Flower". This was because officers nicknamed the hardened crims Daisy, Tulip and Pansy.


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