Cop gets $25,000 for unjustified dismissal

By Imran Ali

Add a comment
Stephen Davis successfully challenged his dismissal and will receive more than $25,000.
Stephen Davis successfully challenged his dismissal and will receive more than $25,000.

A former Far North cop awarded more than $25,000 after he was unjustifiably dismissed hopes to get his job back in the force.

An employment tribunal has ordered the Commissioner of Police to pay Stephen Davis more than $25,000 after he successfully challenged his dismissal.

Mr Davis took his employer to the Employment Relations Authority after he was dismissed on April 7, 2015, for reason of incompatibility with his colleagues and with the organisation and because he had no trust and confidence in police.

His dismissal preceded a long-running battle with his employer since 2010 when, while stationed at Mangonui, he first went to the authority with allegations of unjustified disadvantaged grievances but they were not upheld.

Senior management at police headquarters in Wellington moved Mr Davis from Northland in 2010 to Christchurch after he made serious allegations against senior officers in the region, and wrote to the then police minister.

In Christchurch he complained to his senior sergeant that his supervising sergeant had discriminated against him and again went to the authority but lost.

In February last year, district commander of Canterbury Superintendent Gary Knowles wrote to Mr Davis and expressed doubt about whether the employment relationship between the constable and his employer could sensibly continue. He sought Mr Davis' comment on his proposal to recommend termination of his employment to an assistant commissioner with the delegated authority to dismiss.

After receiving his response, Mr Knowles interviewed five officers but did not disclose their names to Mr Davis so as not to make them uncomfortable.

In response to a request by Mr Davis, the senior police officer provided him with redacted copies of the interviews with the five officers. Mr Davis was dismissed by acting assistant commissioner William Searle in April.

He then went to the authority and said he was unjustifiably dismissed both procedurally and substantively. He sought reinstatement, compensation for lost income and other relief. Police opposed reinstatement.

Authority member Helen Doyle ruled Mr Knowles' closed questions to the five officers he interviewed could potential have been prejudicial to disclose an intention to dismiss Mr Davis before questioning.

"I am of the view that the statements should have been provided without redaction in the circumstances of this case so that Mr Davis could see fully the impact his actions had on others and answer the concerns."

She ordered that Mr Davis be paid three months lost wages of $13,418, compensation of $10,000 and $1633 in lost benefit of the superannuation contribution. She did not make an order for reinstatement, saying that would be impracticable and unreasonable.

Following the authority's ruling, Mr Davis said he still harboured an ambition to rejoin the police but it would be up to senior management.

"It's been an extremely hard road and I feel for other people who are similarly struggling but are not coming forward."

- Northern Advocate

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 06 Dec 2016 21:42:30 Processing Time: 392ms