Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

No independent inquiry into 'foolish' police officers

Photo / File
Photo / File

There will be no independent inquiry into the actions of three police officers who wore matching identification badges while at an operation to remove Occupy protesters in Auckland last year.

Police said the officers' actions were foolish but they have been dealt with appropriately.

Protesters say their complaint has been ignored.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has confirmed it will not investigate the officers as their actions did not meet the most serious, or Category One, complaint.

The officers wore the badges while dealing with a volatile situation where Occupy Auckland protesters were being evicted from Aotea Square in January last year.

An internal investigation was conducted into whether they had breached the policy that required each officer wear their own identification number.

Two of the officers were found to be guilty of misconduct and a performance issue was identified with the third, a national police headquarters spokeswoman said.

Of the three officers, two were still working on the force and the third has since left police for reasons unrelated to the matter. The spokeswoman said details of sanctions applied against the officers were an employment matter and remained confidential between police and the employees.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said he was satisfied the staff were dealt with appropriately under the police code of conduct and appropriate sanctions were applied.

"While the employment investigation found no malicious intent, their actions fell below the standards of professionalism I would expect."

Mr Marshall said he expected the highest standard of behaviour by police staff and police would come down hard on anyone who fell short of those standards.

"I am satisfied the staff involved in this incident are now fully aware of the foolishness of their actions."

An IPCA spokeswoman said the authority usually investigated only incidents involving death and serious bodily harm and serious misconduct.

Other categories of complaints were usually referred back to police for investigation under the authority's independent oversight, she said.

"In these cases the authority actively oversees the police investigation, or reviews or audits the police investigation once it is completed to ensure that it is properly resolved."

She said the authority was aware police were investigating this case and that internal processes were being followed.

"If there is any further complaint or expression of dissatisfaction following the resolution of that, the authority will investigate further."

One of the organisers of the protest, John Minto, said it was "appalling" the authority was not investigating the officers' actions.

"The IPCA should be there to rigorously investigate and thereby provide assurances to the public that the police are being held to account when there are egregious practices like this."

He said the officers had committed serious misconduct.

"If the police deliberately collude together to avoid the consequences of their actions, and clearly their actions are either a breach of police regulations or a breach of the law, then that's extremely serious."

- APNZ

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