Wellington police are reviewing their protocols after officers lobbied businesses to fight against a liquor licence application.
Dairy owner Manjula Patel says the actions of police led to a wave of opposition.
"Police went to all the shops and asked them to oppose the licence, how they can oppose and what they have to do."
Ms Patel says officers visited businesses, telling people they should oppose her liquor licence bid because it could lead to higher crime rates.
Since then 50 people have written to the city's district licensing committee opposing the application.
Police wouldn't go on camera but told Newshub "some of the communication on this occasion was poorly worded."
"Engagement with communities is done on a case-by-base basis, considering factors such as crime rates."
Most businesses Newshub spoke to said they were happy police told them about the application.
But others said police had over-stepped the mark and surely have better things to do.
Human rights lawyer Michael Bott says police shouldn't take sides.
"To present it in that way and prime the pump to get a pre-determined view... that's the actions of a lobby group and I thought police weren't political lobbiers, they shouldn't be doing that."
Labour's police spokesman Stuart Nash backs the officers.
"What I'd also say from a pragmatic perspective is good on them, good on the police for going around their community and voicing their concerns."
Ms Patel wants to give up her current liquor licence selling wine and beer from her dairy next door, and get permission to sell hard liquor, RTDs and more.
Her application will go to a public hearing before being approved or rejected.