Dozens of police faced disciplinary procedures

Complaints about bad language and bullying are just some of the reasons for disciplinary actions against some Southern district police officers.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times show dozens of southern officers have been involved in disciplinary action over the past five years, with 12 officers resigning.

The officers were investigated for a range of complaints, including failure to investigate, attitude/language, and inadequate service.

Code of conduct breaches resulted in 39 officers receiving counselling on a range of issues, including use of force (11 officers), attitude/language (7) and failure to prosecute/investigate (4).

Forty-nine staff received a warning on a wide range of issues, including unauthorised use of database (5) and harassment/bullying (2).

One officer had a professional conversation about disgraceful behaviour, and another over their driving.

Southern district police professional conduct manager Inspector Amelia Steel said police treated all complaints seriously.

Expressions of dissatisfaction were usually resolved at a local level and, ''if this is not achieved'', a matter was sent to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, categorised according to seriousness.

''It's expected that staff uphold the standards of professionalism and integrity embodied in the police values and defined by the police code of conduct,'' Insp Steel said.

Asked if there were different rules for police, she responded: ''There are not different rules but potentially by virtue of the police's role, members of the public are likely to have higher expectations of police.''

Southern district was one of two districts leading the country in levels of trust and confidence in police, she said.

''This indicates that many people in our communities feel that they are well-served by their local police staff.''

The Southern district has 558 sworn staff.

Police declined to release the rank, gender, or where the officers were based.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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