Recruits stood down after reports of intimidation and physical attacks

Two police recruits have been stood down from police college after a number of alleged bullying incidents.

The Herald on Sunday understands that in some of the alleged incidents the two being investigated threw faeces, and also "humped" other recruits and jumped on their beds.

Police confirmed that the incidents at the Royal New Zealand Police College were under investigation.

"An employment investigation under the police code of conduct is currently underway in relation to the allegations," said Superintendent John Price, national manager for training and development.

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"I am disappointed at these allegations and, even though this incident only involved a small number of recruits, such behaviour has no place in New Zealand Police."

In the past two years, 1017 recruits have enrolled for training at the college. Of those, 12 failed on academic grounds, three left on medical grounds and five resigned of their own accord.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor was aware of the bullying allegations.

"Obviously these were two of many recruits at the college where there are very, very good people," he said.

"It's a very strict environment at the college so they work on the principle that if [recruits] can't behave themselves there, they won't be able to behave themselves if they're under less supervision," he said.

"All I know is that anything negative that comes up at the college about recruits is very quickly dealt with under an investigation."

O'Connor said the incidents were unfortunate but it was important that the recruiting process stayed in the hands of police.

In 2012, police district recruiting positions were scrapped in favour of two hubs - one in Auckland and one in Wellington - and sworn staff were replaced with non-sworn "selection specialists".

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The Police Association's latest newsletter quoted a former recruiter still employed by police who was concerned proper background checks would not be done.

"You get plenty of applicants who look good on paper, but it turns out they have dodgy backgrounds," he said. He added police officers had the investigative skills and contacts, such as gang liaison officers, to get vital information.

"These sorts of checks are not done now because the civilian recruiters don't have a relationship with these people. They don't have the capacity to access resources other than the intel database and social media," he said.

But a police spokesman said the new model "enhanced vetting of recruits".

"As part of the recruitment process multiple sources, within and external to police, are used to collect information on an applicant.

"There are no short cuts being taken."