19 Dec 2019

Officer drove police truck off duty, breached trespass order - IPCA

12:27 pm on 19 December 2019

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found that a police officer breached a trespass order by going into a forest to collect firewood.

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Photo: 123RF

In January 2016 the officer went into the Kaingaroa Forest without a permit.

After the forest's security manager wrote to the registered owner of the vehicle, a police officer, and received no reply, a trespass notice was issued against him.

This was for two years and took effect in May 2016.

In early 2018 he was caught again picking up firewood.

He was off-duty but driving a police truck, towing a trailer to collect firewood.

The following day he was rostered on but instead drove the police vehicle back into the forest to get more wood.

He was caught by security staff and the police were notified.

The IPCA found the officer not only trespassed in the forest, he breached police policy by using a police vehicle for private use and that he failed to meet the expected standards and values of a police officer.

The authority also found that police did not know the officer had trespassed from the forest until he told his supervisor in December 2017.

Police have acknowledged the IPCA report and have conducted an investigation into the officer's actions and notified the IPCA.

It said the officer has been through an employment process, however, police are unable to give details for privacy reasons.

He remains a police employee.

Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said police had high expectations of its officers.

"We acknowledge this officer's behaviour in going into the forest was inappropriate.

"I am confident the officer has taken learnings from this experience."