Cops face raft of criminal charges

Police have laid 143 criminal charges against staff since 2015, including violence, family harm and sexual offences. 

Figures released to Newshub under the Official Information Act reveal 35 of those charges resulted in convictions, with 29 cases still on-going.

Overall, 112 staff have had charges levelled - uniformed officers faced 118 charges, and 25 for civilian employees.

National manager of police professional conduct Superintendent Anna Jackson told Newshub the organisation demands integrity from its staff. 

But she said employees are only human, and sometimes they and the organisation don't always get it right.

"If an officer's conduct is not in line with police values we will not hesitate to investigate and deal with the matter appropriately, on a case-by-case basis," she said.

Supt Jackson said the process around misconduct complaints is "robust" and police will hold its people to account where appropriate.

Categories with the highest number of charges were driving offences (53), violence (50) and dishonesty (16).

Other types of charges included sexual offences, tax evasion and family harm.

The Police Association is confident officers are being held to high standards.

"There'll always be mistakes made and now and again there'll be the bad egg," president Chris Cahill told Newshub.

He said officers know they can't be seen to ignore behaviour that should be reported.

"We know that police lay charges against officers in circumstances they wouldn't have for the public where they may have dealt with diversion or other methods."

Ruth Money is an independent victim advocate and works with several clients who have been harmed by police staff.

She told Newshub people often come under added stress when the offender involved is a law enforcer.

"We expect our police officers [and] our judiciary to be squeaky clean" she said.

"When a police officer decides to harm someone, it mentally makes it worse for that survivor."

Ms Money fears a recruitment drive for frontline officers will lead to lax training, which she said could result in offending down the line.

But Mr Cahill believes it will have the opposite effect.

"With more officers out on the street, there's going to be less stress [for officers]," he said.

"That can lead to less volatility in situations."

Police Minister Stuart Nash declined to comment on the figures saying it is an operational matter.

The actions of police have come under heightened scrutiny this week, with revelations nine staff members were disciplined for sexually harassing their workmates.

Newshub can confirm one uniformed officer was convicted for a sexual offence in 2015, and five cases are still on-going.

It has also been revealed that four trainee police officers at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua were stood down while being investigated for claims of misconduct.

Two of those investigations were criminal.

In the first six months of this year, police received almost 2000 misconduct claims against staff, with the failure to investigate the top accusation.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: