New Zealand's second most senior police officer did not act on allegations about a former colleague's relationship with a senior civil servant which later led to a criminal investigation.

Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard was given a letter by State Services Commission executive Deborah Te Kawa containing detailed claims about the events following the break-up with her married lover.

The lover was former police headquarters superintendent Jon Moss, who left police in 2009 amid a scandal over an affair with a junior police officer. He had been overseeing internal inquiries as manager of professional standards.

Rickard had the information for almost two months before Commissioner Howard Broad learned of the allegations in June 2010.

When Broad heard of the concerns, he launched a criminal inquiry even though no formal complaint had been made. He said: "The propriety of the relationship has caused disquiet." The inquiry was announced last July 1 and is still active under Detective Inspector Karen Malthus.

Police chief media adviser Jon Neilson wrote in a statement: "The commissioner deemed the allegations were of sufficient public interest to warrant the inquiry.

"Prior to this decision, Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard received information in confidence from a person involved in the matter and abided by that confidence.

"The matters raised in the letter to Deputy Commissioner Rickard, concerning the former member of police, are subject to the inquiry."

Te Kawa refused to meet the Herald on Sunday. She said: "I just give up. I've done what I can to make people accountable.

"They [police] have narrowed down the case to a very narrow set of factors. Viv Rickard is not being investigated.

"I'm humiliated by my fling with Moss. I did what I could to get him out of my life."

Moss did not return calls. His lawyer John Haigh contacted the Herald on Sunday apparently unaware a criminal investigation was still active. "I would be very wary as to the suggestion there is an ongoing criminal investigation. I would be concerned about any suggestion he has committed any offence at all. He has not."

Police Minister Judith Collins ducked for cover, refusing to say if her office had been briefed by Broad.

Spokesman Stefan Herrick cited the ongoing criminal investigation as the reason for her refusal to be interviewed.

The Herald on Sunday has learned Te Kawa had a brief fling with Moss about the time he was leaving the force.

Moss resigned amid an employment investigation after allegations he had an affair with a junior police officer.

It is understood Te Kawa wrote to Rickard after becoming concerned about continued contact by Moss. Te Kawa was working on police matters for the State Services Commission at the time of the fling.

Her role included overseeing the police response to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. The inquiry was held after claims by Louise Nicholas that police ignored her complaints that she had been raped by police officers.

It was through this role Te Kawa had contact with Rickard. The Herald on Sunday understands she provided a detailed account and asked him to read it.

It is also understood Te Kawa approached at least one other high ranking police officer about her allegations.

FLING 'ILL-JUDGED'

Deborah Te Kawa was meant to help turn the police into an organisation that listened to women.

But when she told deputy police commissioner Viv Rickard her concerns about the actions of a former lover, that is where her story stayed for almost two months.

Te Kawa was a senior figure at the State Services Commission, where she worked to ensure that wrongdoing by police against women would be properly investigated.

When she had a fling with former superintendent Jon Moss, it started events that saw her moved into another role.

A number of police officers told the Herald on Sunday that Te Kawa's fling was ill-judged, because of her position.

The commission was launched after Louise Nicholas claimed she had been raped in the 1980s by police officers, including assistant commissioner Clint Rickards.

Rickards and other officers were cleared but former detective John Dewar was convicted and jailed after trying to derail her complaint.

Police chief media adviser Jon Neilson said Moss leaving the force and the fact that Te Kawa had been "reassigned" resolved matters.