Police told to release assault details

Police have been ordered to release details on disciplinary action taken after an officer was allegedly involved in a punch-up six years ago.

The Otago Daily Times understands an off-duty senior officer allegedly assaulted a female officer and then seriously assaulted a male officer following a police rugby trip to Invercargill in 2008.

Sources confirmed the Dunedin-based officer faced internal disciplinary proceedings and was demoted from the rank of detective sergeant to constable.

A request to release details of the incident - including the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings - was stonewalled by police on the grounds it was a personal employment matter.

Police maintained it was not in the public interest to release any information.

That response prompted the Otago Daily Times to take a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman on August 28, 2009.

The almost five-year appeal ended this month when the Ombudsman ruled police must issue a summary: ''That [the summary] confirms the steps taken to ensure that concerns about an officer's conduct were thoroughly investigated and that any appropriate disciplinary action was taken,'' the final opinion noted.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush had also been contacted by the Ombudsman's Office, which recommended ''police now write to the Otago Daily Times making available the agreed summary''.

Police now have 21 days from the receipt of the letter to comply.

A police spokesman confirmed the organisation would ''comply with the ... recommendation''.

While police were not in a position to answer specific questions about their handling of the matter, the spokesman confirmed ''the individual is still working as a police officer''.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

No details

Sorry but this doesn't entitle anyone to the details of the incident as the article says it only entitles them to a summary

''That [the summary] confirms the steps taken to ensure that concerns about an officer's conduct were thoroughly investigated and that any appropriate disciplinary action was taken,'' the final opinion noted.

Basically the summary just has to show it wasn't swept under the carpet, and the fact the offender was substantially reduced in rank, seniority and responsibility indicates that it wasn't.

I suspect that the "summary" while complying with the judgement will leave us little wiser.

Police v the law

If a member of the public allegedly assaulted not one but two police officers, do you think the police would hide the facts and not charge the offender? They treat it as an "employment matter". That's just an insult to their own integrity. For years they have withheld the details.

How can the public have any trust in the Dunedin police when this happens? We should all be concerned.

I would like to congratulate the ODT staff members who have for years followed up this case and can now have access to the details of what actually occurred. [abridged]

 

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