3 Oct 2019

Police sanction officer for harassing female staff

10:41 am on 3 October 2019

Police say a male officer has been "sanctioned" after an investigation into two complaints of inappropriate behaviour by female colleagues.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

In its report, the Independent Police Conduct Authority found the officer had acted inappropriately in the two separate incidents in August and October 2018.

It said that in October the officer had approached a female staff member at a quiz night at the Bay of Plenty police station as she prepared to leave, saying he would give her "$20 for a BJ".

While investigating, the IPCA found out the officer had sent himself an email from a new colleague's email address asking if they had become "best friends".

The IPCA found she tried to end the exchange in a friendly way, but a few days later the officer implied he had used illegal drugs - even though he had not - in an attempt to impress her.

"Quite simply, Officer A should never have placed his colleagues in a position where they felt uncomfortable, embarrassed and demeaned," Independent Police Conduct Authority chair Judge Colin Doherty said.

"His behaviour was completely inappropriate, and it is no mitigation that his comments and actions were intended to be funny or to impress. Officer A fell short of the behaviour and values expected of a New Zealand Police employee by a considerable margin."

In a statement, police said they had conducted a separate employment investigation into each complaint, both were upheld, and the officer was sanctioned.

Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the officer's behaviour was totally unacceptable.

"This type of behaviour towards colleagues falls far below the standard expected of a NZ Police officer," he said.

"It is not in line with our values and what is laid out clearly in our Police Code of Conduct.

"I commend the women involved for coming forward and speaking up, so we could investigate and act accordingly."

Police were vague about what the sanctions were, saying that for privacy reasons they could not give further details on employment matters.