The police watchdog has criticised the handling of a case of two off-duty officers accused of poaching on a Central Otago farm.
The police decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers from Canterbury after they were reported spotlighting on a Department of Conservation block, and then a nearby farm, in January last year.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found the police did not conduct a thorough scene examination or follow standard investigating procedures.
It also found the investigation was slow, with long periods of inaction.
The authority said altogether the police approach gave the appearance of favourable treatment for officers.
But it backed the decision not to prosecute, saying it was reasonable and justified on public interest grounds.