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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation that an officer sent inappropriate text messages - Wellington District

14 December 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint where it was alleged an officer sent inappropriate text messages to a female motorist. The officer had earlier issued the complainant with an infringement notice for speeding. In subsequent text messages, the officer implied that he would cancel the infringement notice in return for a favour. The officer also suggested the complainant could buy him a coffee in the future, and cancelled the infringement notice.

Police interviewed the officer, who claimed to have sent the messages in an attempt to promote road safety. He maintained that the favour he asked from the complainant was that she drive at a safe speed in future. The officer said he did not expect the complainant to meet up with him or buy him a coffee, and he believed she would understand these comments were intended to be humorous.

The Police investigation found that the officer did not act unlawfully or inappropriately when cancelling the infringement notice, as he was entitled to provide road safety advice as an alternative to imposing a financial penalty. Police found there was insufficient evidence to prove the officer had committed any criminal offence or breached their Code of Conduct. However, Police did take steps to address concerns about the officer's judgement and communication skills during the employment process.

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