Unprofessional behaviour displayed by police staff, such as their attitude, bullying or harassment, are among almost 3000 allegations made this year against 2500 New Zealand Police constables and other employees.
Of 2040 incidents that have been reported across the country between January and June, only 168 had at least one allegation upheld. More than 600 incidents are still being resolved.
Reported incidents against police staff have been climbing every year since 2017. Last year there were 1953.
But Police Association Chris Cahill said the number of allegations are still contextually low.
"Police probably received in the same year a million 111 calls for service. That's not counting all the other calls to service, so these numbers are actually pretty low," he told the Herald.
Allegations are made up of reports made by the public – an individual or organisation – reports from within police and reports of "off duty" behaviour. All are investigated independently.
The highest number of allegations this year, 1189, were made in relation to service failure - what police describe as a perceived "failure to investigate, slow response, deficient communication or an unsatisfactory outcome". 147 more allegations were made under this category compared with the same time period last year.
The allegations reflect a "clash" between public expectation and what police can actually deliver, Cahill said.
"You might call to say your house has been burgled, but police don't attend for up to 24 hours.
"That would be pretty disappointing to the member of the public but unfortunately reflects the large number of callouts," he told the Herald.
He said the complaints reflect stretched resources and the workload of officers.
"They're just so busy. They aren't able to attend every job they are called to or to investigate everything to the level the public expect, and that shows up in these figures.
"Police have to admit to the public they are struggling to meet the demands of service."
906 service failure allegations have been resolved and 91 were upheld with at least one allegation.
"When these instances are raised with us we work hard to take the learnings, address any concerns, and treat people in a fair and compassionate way," said senior professional conduct manager inspector Donna Laban.
Unprofessional behaviour attracted almost 500 allegations in the first half of this year, 44 more than during the same period in 2020.
These allegations are categorised into inappropriate and unprofessional language or attitude, and any form of harassment, bullying and discrimination.
More than 340 allegations made by members of the public related to attitude and language used by police staff. While the majority have been resolved, just 29 were upheld.
More than 110 allegations of harassment, bullying or discrimination were made by the public, and 12 allegations of unprofessional attitude and language used by police staff "off duty".
"There will always be instances where individuals have a bad day," said Cahill.
"Not all of these complaints are upheld which needs to be taken into account as well."
Canterbury and Counties Manukau districts had the highest number of unprofessional behaviour complaints, 55 and 54 respectively.
In comparison just 11 allegations of unprofessional behaviour were reported nationwide internally by police staff. None of these allegations have been resolved or upheld.
"In the context of the thousands of interactions police have with the community every day there are a relatively small number of instances where our attitude, language and conduct does not meet police or community expectations," said Laban.
"We take these instances very seriously and work hard to learn and resolve such issues in a way that maintains and enhances the mana of all involved."
Three allegations of sexual misconduct were made internally. Twelve allegations of drugs and alcohol being consumed off duty were also made.
When an allegation is upheld, police said they focus on "performance improvement and expectation setting rather than reaching a finding of misconduct with high-level sanctions".
"Where behaviour breaches criminal law or the code of conduct to a serious enough degree, a disciplinary process with appropriate sanctions will be applied."
The most incidents, 213, were reported in the Auckland City policing district this year. Canterbury had 205 reported incidents, and Counties Manukau followed closely behind with 204 reported incidents.
Statistics show the number of incidents reported this year, regardless of when the incident actually occurred.
These figures are update and published quarterly by police.