1 Mar 2019

Top cop forgot to act on State Services Commission complaint

3:33 pm on 1 March 2019

A top police officer has apologised for forgetting to act on a complaint by the State Services Commission last year over potentially illegal recording of people making insurance claims.

Mike Clement

Mike Clement, Deputy Police Commissioner National Operations. Photo: RNZ / Elliott Childs

Deputy Police Commissioner National Operations Mike Clement said he took full responsibility for the oversight.

The commission laid the complaint on 18 December when it published the findings of its investigation into Crown agencies' use of private security consultants.

It said a contractor working for Thompson and Clark Investigations Ltd on behalf of Southern Response - the government-owned company settling quake claims for people with policies with insurance company AMI - had recorded claimants during closed meetings.

The contractor was not a licensed private investigator.

The commission said the recordings were potentially unlawful and informed the police.

Mr Clement said in a statement that the commission requested police investigate aspects of how Thompson and Clark conducted their operations while contracted to Crown agencies, but he did not begin an investigation.

"I failed to action the investigation when the request came through from the State Services Commission on 18 December. I make no excuses and I take full responsibility," the statement said.

"I have now rectified that and the matter has been referred for immediate action."

Deputy Commissioner Clement said he had reported the oversight to the State Services Commission and apologised for the delay.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said he was pleased the case would now be investigated and the apology was the end of the matter.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said he learned of the oversight this morning and Mr Clement had done the right thing by owning up to the error.

"The oversight was unfortunate but I accept that it was a genuine mistake," he said.

"I am pleased to see he has now taken immediate steps to get the investigation underway."

Mr Nash said he had asked the Police Commissioner Mike Bush to ensure the investigation had all the resources it needed to proceed without further delay.

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