82 cases upheld in South

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

Police investigations have upheld 82 allegations of misconduct against sworn officers in the Southern District since 2015.

Data released by police under the Official Information Act (OIA) show the upheld allegations against police in Otago and Southland in the past three and a-half years included falsifying a document, harassment, bullying or discrimination, improper use of force, violence, disgraceful behaviour and unauthorised use of a database.

One Dunedin police officer, holding a rank of senior constable or above, was subject to separate internal investigations in both 2015 and 2016, while a third investigation against this officer launched last year is ongoing.

An allegation of falsifying a document and one regarding a performance/attendance issue against this officer were upheld.

Another Dunedin sworn officer with a rank of senior constable or above is subject to an ongoing investigation begun in 2017 regarding two allegations of ''disgraceful behaviour'', one of sexual misconduct and one classified as ''other'', stemming from two incidents.

Ninety-seven police officers in the Southern District, encompassing Otago and Southland, have been the subject of internal investigations since 2015. There are 559 sworn officers in the district.

Police professional conduct national manager Superintendent Anna Jackson, of Wellington, said in a letter as part of the OIA response the combined number of incidents referred for internal investigation represented 8.2% of the Southern District's sworn officers in 2015, 7.5% in 2016 and 3.9% in 2017.

In 2015 and 2016 the figures were slightly higher than the national averages of 7.9% and 7.8% respectively, but lower than the 8.1% of sworn officers nationwide subject to internal investigations last year.

The information did not say what disciplinary action was taken when allegations were upheld.

Supt Jackson said as of June 7 one Southern District officer was ''not on full duties [the term used to refer to staff who are on stand down, suspended, or restricted duties]''.

Nearly a quarter of investigations since 2015 related partly or wholly to suicides or attempted suicides in police custody.

A police spokeswoman said it was ''standard practice for police to review any recent contact a person who commits suicide may have had with police''.

Notable investigations where some or all allegations were upheld included:

• An Otago officer, holding the rank of senior constable or above, was investigated regarding the attempted suicide of a person in custody in 2015, before being subject to another investigation the following year for ''unauthorised use of a database''. The investigations upheld both allegations.

• An Otago (encompassing Otago coastal outside of Dunedin and Otago Lakes Central) constable was investigated for an attempted suicide of a person in custody, a prosecution failure, an unlawful search, dishonesty and an allegation regarding ''exhibits'' in 2015, stemming from two incidents. All but the dishonesty allegation were upheld.

• A Dunedin senior constable or above, investigated for allegations regarding their attitude/language and failure to follow a lawful instruction in 2015, and subject to another investigation last year regarding a conflict of interest and unauthorised use of a database. All four allegations were upheld.

Police professional conduct manager Inspector Michael Woods said staff were expected to maintain the highest levels of service and act with integrity, empathy, professionalism and respect at all times.

''If an officer's conduct is not in line with police values, we will not hesitate to investigate and deal with the matter appropriately.''

Comments

This is BS and is not expected of somebody in a trusting position such as a police officer, the rot needs to go and be released from the police force with all finical benefits totally gone. Examples need to be made of them names released for the public and for the sake of other serving officers so they can be not looked at sideways as to whether it was he or she. If examples are made and super benefits are lost it will make other dodgy officers think twice. If nothing is done then the system is as bad as the rot it is investigating.