Key Points:

Neil Grimstone, the outspoken South Auckland policeman who has headed many high-profile cases, is handing in his handcuffs after 27 years on the job.

The shock resignation comes after the detective senior sergeant was rebuked in June for suggesting at an Asian crime conference that "people who could be blindfolded with a shoelace" could not be trusted.

Mr Grimstone, who later apologised, said while the investigation into the comments was a factor he considered before handing in his notice, it was not the reason he was leaving. Nor was he pushed.

"I'd made up my mind that it was time to move on before that occurred. It would be fair to say that was a factor I considered, but it was not the reason. It's just time to move on, and I'm exploring other opportunities.

"I haven't finalised exactly what I'm doing, but my last day is the 14th of September, and I'll know more as that day draws closer."

Mr Grimstone, who has worked throughout the Counties Manukau policing district and in various positions, broke the news to his colleagues this week.

"It took them all by surprise, but I sat down and explained to them all that it was time to move on after 27 years and they have been pretty good about it.

"They have all sort of said it's a huge loss to South Auckland, but the New Zealand police is a huge organisation now and it will continue marching along without me."

Mr Grimstone has spent his entire career policing in South Auckland. He says some of the highlights included arresting the man who abducted a 13-year-old girl before raping, sodomising and beating her and then leaving her for dead in a park in the early 1990s.

More recently he headed the investigations into the death of Chris Currie after a lump of concrete was thrown on to his car while he drove along the Southern Motorway, and into the prolonged rape of a woman in Pukekohe who managed to escape and seek help at a gas station.

"The Pukekohe rape case was up there, catching that guy and being able to go and tell the victim that that guy was in the can."

He was also in charge of the investigation into a rape complaint in Papakura this year by a man allegedly posing as a police officer.

It proved to be false and resulted in Nicola May, 41, being sentenced to 200 hours community work and 18 months supervision for making a false allegation to police.


Grimstone files

Top investigations include:

* The death of 20-year-old Chris Currie after a lump of concrete was thrown on to his car while he drove along the Southern Motorway.

* The prolonged rape of a woman in Pukekohe who managed to escape and seek help at a petrol station.