In September 2017, a senior Police officer was off duty, drinking and socialising at a bar. He became intoxicated and left his phone unattended. Later that evening the manager asked a patron to take the phone to an outside table, where she believed the owner of the phone was sitting.
The senior officer:
• accused the patron of stealing the phone and became agitated;
• showed his Police identification;
• questioned the immigration status of a woman who attempted to intervene, and took a photo of her driver's licence;
• had to be asked several times to return the licence;
• demanded that the woman give him her phone, and left with it; and
• introduced himself as a Police officer when approached by the constable called to the scene, possibly in an attempt to influence him.
The woman's phone has not been found.
Police carried out criminal and employment investigations into this matter. The senior officer admitted to having a drinking problem, and pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of theft in respect of the phone. The court ordered the senior officer to pay reparation to the woman whose cell phone was taken, and he received a discharge without conviction.
The employment investigation concluded that the senior officer's behaviour constituted both misconduct and serious misconduct. The senior officer resigned during the course of the investigation.
The Authority agreed with the Police investigation outcomes.