Wellington Scoop

Four police recruits being investigated – allegations of misconduct

Report from RNZ
Four police recruits have been stood down pending investigations into their conduct while they were studying at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.

Superintendent Scott Fraser said the investigations into the four trainee police were launched following allegations of misconduct in separate incidents. None of the recruits was on duty at the time, he said.

Three of those under investigation were not onsite at the college when the incidents allegedly happened, he said.

A group of recruits from Wing 318 were investigated for drinking alcohol in July, in a separate matter. This incident was investigated and the College was satisfied the recruits had changed their behaviour, Mr Fraser said. Those recruits all graduated earlier this month.

The intake for Wing 318 at the Porirua college in June was the largest in more than a decade.

The government is aiming to recruit 1800 new police officers over three years as part of its coalition deal.

Two of the four investigations into trainee police over claims of misconduct are criminal investigations, the Police College training manager says. The four trainee officers from the Police College in Porirua have been stood down, but police won’t confirm reports that at least one case involves accusations of indecent assault.

Police have launched the investigations into the four trainee police following allegations of misconduct in separate incidents. None of the recruits were on duty at the time, he said.

Police Minister Stuart Nash told Morning Report he was not surprised that those recruits were allowed to graduate.

“It disappoints me that they were involved in this sort of behaviour – no doubt about that – but what I do trust is the Superintendent and his men and women out there to use their judgement,” Mr Nash said. “If this was so bad that these men and women were not of a good quality to be police, they would have stood them down and see ya later.”

Mr Nash also defended the decision to graduate a recruit who was the subject of a misconduct allegation which was not upheld. The recruit was awarded the Ministers award and the Firearms award and was top graduate of the wing.

“It’s not a great look but keeping in mind there are two sides to every story,” Mr Nash said. “The police investigated this and found insufficient evidence.”

He said the standard of recruits and graduates was exceptional.

However, Mr Nash said he was not defending bad behaviour and trainees who were deemed unfit by police would not graduate.

Superintendent Scott Fraser told Morning Report if matters of a criminal nature are upheld, recruits do not graduate.

“We will look at any matter, minor to serious, and have done for the past 20 years, so this isn’t a different process. We always look at the details and make very sound judgement decisions as to whether people graduate and become police officers,” he said.

“The four individuals who have been stood down is over the last 12 months, just to put that into context over 940 recruits have been trained. We do not graduate anyone who does not meet our standards.”