A Murupara police officer has breached a trespass order by taking firewood from the Kaingaroa Forest without permission, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) finds.
The IPCA found that the officer in question entered the Kaingaroa Forest on a number of occasions between October 2017 and May 2018.
On two of these, he unlawfully took firewood from the forest.
On January 17, 2016, a vehicle towing a trailer entered the Kaingaroa Forest without a permit.
A letter from the forest's security manager asked the police officer about his vehicle's presence in the forest to no response. A two-year trespass notice from May 25, 2016, was then issued against him.
The officer told the authority he was not in his vehicle at the time and despite his best efforts, he did not discover who was.
On March 26, 2018, the officer drove into the forest in a police truck after work, towing a trailer, to collect firewood.
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He was still under trespass orders and unlawfully took firewood before driving home.
The following day, the officer was rostered to work but instead drove the police truck back into the Kaingaroa Forest, to collect firewood.
He was found by two security staff who established that he did not have a permit to be there or permission to take firewood.
The officer was still prohibited from entering the forest and police were notified.
"The officer not only trespassed in the Kaingaroa Forest, he breached police policy by using the police truck for private use when collecting firewood while on duty," said Authority Chair Judge Colin Doherty.
"The officer failed to meet the expected standards and values of a police officer."
The authority also found that police did not know the officer had been trespassed from the forest until the officer told his supervisor in December 2017.
A statement from NZ Police said the officer had been through an employment process, however they were unable to detail this for privacy reasons.
He remained a police employee.
"We have high expectations for our officers and we acknowledge this officer's behaviour in going into the forest was inappropriate," says Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor.
"I am confident the officer has taken learnings from this experience."