Former officer Hurimoana Dennis found to have abused his power claims watchdog is 'racist'

A former top police officer accused of kidnapping has now been found to have regularly abused his power to pressure and influence investigations - including trying to help his family escape prison sentences.

But Hurimoana Dennis says the accusations, and the Independent Police Conduct Authority, are racist.

A jury cleared Dennis of kidnapping, but the police watchdog investigation came to a very different conclusion, on a wider range of accusations.

"Mr Dennis misused his influence, authority and power, not only for his own personal benefit but for the assistance of other family members," says IPCA investigations manager Sarah Goodall.

He used his position to try and help his son, who was scamming people on Facebook, avoid going to prison.

He did the same for his cousin, who was in court on assault charges.

He tried to get off a speeding ticket, telling an officer: "I'm an inspector".

And he "excessively and inappropriately" used his police email for personal business - including using it to send job applications for his son.

The IPCA also found Dennis' misconduct was enabled by other officers - and wasn't properly investigated.

Some did try to blow the whistle though. After Dennis' son was discharged without conviction, one officer told the IPCA that "the whole thing smacked of a favour for the boys".

Dennis says the reports are one-sided, and the IPCA ignored his explanation that as the then-National Māori Advisor, he was policing in a Māori way.

"So to me it's quite racist...if Government agencies or people are going to use tikanga Māori in their strategies then they need to stick to it," says Dennis.

The reason his misconduct took years to come to light is because the police refused to launch an employment investigation into him.

"Recommendations have been made to police to change and review their employment processes," says Goodall.

Andy Coster, police's deputy commissioner of strategy, says the processes are being revised.

"We have a major program of work underway at the moment to completely revise our disciplinary process," says Coster.

Dennis is taking his case to the Human Rights Commission.