Anonymous letters sent to the Police News publication have shone a light on alleged workplace bullying within the New Zealand police force.

Two writers penned messages addressing the issue of workplace bullying, one saying that "bullying is alive and well in police".

They reinforced initial concerns that were brought up by a wife of an unnamed police sergeant who claimed the bullying was flying under the radar.

"This type of so-called leadership is frowned upon in all sectors of employment but seems to run under the radar in police.


"Police officers have to be 'hard and tough' in the public arena, but they are not robots and should not have to fend off bullies among their own," the wife wrote.

One responder said their partner was bullied due to their rank "and included his direct supervisor yelling at him, setting impossible tasks and deadlines".

"It was repetitive and ongoing and resulted in it being unsafe for him to be at work," the responder added.

However, national manager of Police Employment Relations Cathryn Curran-Tietjens believes their workplace is no different to any other when it comes to bullying.

"New Zealand Police takes any allegation of bullying seriously and we are committed to ensuring our employees uphold our values and abide by our Code of Conduct.

"There is a process in place to manage complaints about staff conduct and we will investigate and hold our people to account where appropriate," she said.

Police officers are expected to demonstrate integrity, empathy, professionalism and respect, Curran-Tietjens added.

Another responder to the wife's original message said they joined the police in the 1990s and has witnessed significant changes within the workplace since then.


During the 1990s superiors were "gruff, bolshie and sparing of praise" and no one denied the writer to express their ideas or opinions in any way.

"Since then, we have got clever at disguising bullying. Now we have managers whose actions give a lie to what they say publicly.

"A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf. It's just a more dangerous wolf," they said.

Curran-Tietjens says the organisation has open ears and encourages workers to tell them what they are experiencing so they can act accordingly.

"If a NZ Police employee wishes to make an internal complaint they can use the 'Speak Up' service which allows staff to report matters of concern both involving themselves or others.

"We encourage any staff who have concerns to use this service. We need people to tell us what is happening before we can act," she said.