An Auckland police officer is under investigation and facing suspension following allegations from multiple women of inappropriate behaviour and unwanted attention.

The Herald has learned the officer, based in the Waitemata Police District, was handed a suspension notice this week after numerous accusations were levelled at him.

It is understood police initially started investigating the officer after his ex-girlfriend complained that he had been harassing her using a cellphone.

As his colleagues looked into that complaint, a number of other allegations of inappropriate behaviour with other women he made contact with while on duty reportedly came to light.

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The officer was put on restricted duties when the first allegation was made.

The Herald, alerted to the investigation by a source close to the police, has chosen not to publish the officer's name while he is subject to a criminal investigation.

The source was concerned about the allegations and that the officer was being "deviant".

He did not want the officer's alleged behaviour to tarnish the rest of the police.

"His behaviour is obviously concerning but any big organisation is going to get some bad eggs that ruin it for everyone else," he said.

Waitemata District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny said the initial complaint about the officer was received in late 2017.

She confirmed that an internal employment investigation was currently underway and a separate investigation was also being undertaken to determine whether there was any criminal liability.

Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"On the face of it, these allegations appear deeply concerning and if found to be proven after a thorough and fair investigation, police will take appropriate action that would reflect the seriousness of these allegations," Penny told the Herald.

"The public should be assured that we take any allegation of staff misconduct extremely seriously and I give every assurance that these complaints will be fully investigated.

"I also want to assure the public that we have a robust investigation process in place to ensure that any staff complaints about conduct are thoroughly investigated, which the IPCA has oversight of."

Penny could not comment on the specifics of the investigations, complaint or allegations.

"New Zealand Police has the same privacy obligations when it comes to employment matters as any other employer and we are not able to comment further about ongoing matters," she said.

Penny said allegations about police conduct were taken extremely seriously.

"It is well known by all our staff what behaviours they are expected to display when they are interacting with the public and the non-negotiable standard that our values will be met," she said.

"Police take immense pride in the quality of our staff – great New Zealanders who take an oath to protect and serve our communities.

"The cornerstone of how we operate are our values – they are not just words but have real meaning in how we deliver a service to the public; a public who rightfully expect the high standards that internally are demanded from each other."

The allegations against the officer were also the subject of an Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation.

By law police are required to notify the IPCA over any serious complaints made about officers.

Who investigates police?

The police have a Professional Conduct group that works to ensure the "actions, conduct and procedures" of staff is such that the public's trust and confidence in police is maintained.

Maintaining and increasing high levels of trust and confidence is one of the organisation's top priorities.

"Police is committed to ensuring we provide an excellent quality of service to the public," the Professional Conduct web page states.

"Police Professional Conduct is primarily focused on prevention, ensuring employees have the support to enable them to maintain their professionalism."

"Police recognise that despite the best of intentions, individual staff members and or the organisation as a whole, don't always 'get it right' - meaning there is always the potential for complaints or expressions of dissatisfaction to be made.

"When incidents do occur, the focus of Police Professional Conduct shifts to doing all that is possible for those involved to feel satisfied that the lessons learnt from the incident will only improve everyone's trust and confidence.

All complaints are scrutinised by an independent investigator from within police.
Independence is ensured by the investigator signing a declaration that they have no
conflict of interest.

"The Police Professional Conduct group has a significant role in maintaining high levels of trust and confidence by ensuring complaints against police are dealt with professionally, and quickly.

"It is our purpose to demonstrate transparency at every stage of the complaint process."

In 2017 police investigated 2161 external complaints down from 2223 in 2016.

In 2015 there were 2291 complaints investigated, 2184 in 2015 and 1903 in 2013.

The most common complaint was for service failure followed by unprofessional behaviour, breach of official conduct, use of force and arrest/custodial issues.

For more information on complaint about police and officers click here.