Police have apologised to a Dunedin man for an ''unacceptable
level of service'' after officers failed to act on
information identifying an alleged offender.
Mike Fitzgerald is now a happy man, a far cry from when he
contacted the Otago Daily Times last week expressing
his dissatisfaction with police.
His 14-month battle has included visits to police stations,
phone calls, letters and complaints to the Independent Police
Conduct Authority (IPCA).
That cumulated in an apology from police, and confirmation an
alleged offender suspected of the crime more than a year ago
had now been charged.
''Unfortunately, in this instance we have let ourselves down
and we have apologised to Mr Fitzgerald for the unacceptable
level of service he received,'' Inspector Jason Guthrie,
acting area commander Dunedin Clutha Waitaki, said.
The matter dates back to January 2013, when Mr Fitzgerald's
son, Jon, reported the theft of a bicycle and weed-eater from
A few weeks later, he was able to recover his bicycle and got
the name of the person who had possession of it before
supplying details to officers at the South Dunedin police
In coming weeks, the father and son contacted police to see
if there was any progress because they had yet to hear from
Mr Fitzgerald complained to the IPCA on March 27, 2013, with
the authority referring the matter back to police as the
authority considered his complaint was ''capable of
He was subsequently contacted by police from the Dunedin
Central Police Station, who apologised for the lack of
action. His son later met an officer and identified a
photograph of the alleged offender.
The case was assigned to another officer who, like the
others, reiterated ''they would find this man''.
Mr Fitzgerald said he became exasperated when the alleged
offender appeared in court on another matter, but still
police had not laid any charges.
''We have just been treated like ... All we wanted was the
truth. I have been duck-shoved about, lied to and pushed from
pillar to post and no-one has the balls to do anything about
Another complaint was filed with the IPCA late last year and,
still without any success, he contacted the ODT last
Days after the paper sought an explanation from police, Mr
Fitzgerald met Insp Guthrie ''who put his hand up and said,
'It's our fault entirely; we have been remiss here'.''
As a result, a man was charged with receiving and was bailed
to appear in court later this month.
Mr Fitzgerald said he was no longer pursuing the case and was
happy with Insp Guthrie's response.
Insp Guthrie said this week ''police pride themselves on
providing the best possible service to our communities -
whether it be in relation to a small matter or a more
''Every day, we deal with many incidents where people express
their satisfaction with the service they receive. The high
level of trust and confidence our community has in police