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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Complaints about officer's attitude during traffic stops

3 March 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into two complaints in the Waikato District concerning a police officer's attitude during traffic stops.

The first complainant was driving a vehicle that was towing a tandem horse float with a horse on board on a busy highway. She was looking for a safe place to allow a large truck, that was following her, to pass. When she was flagged down by the officer, she said he yelled and barked orders at her to get further off the road before lecturing her about the road statistics and how many deaths are caused by slow drivers not letting traffic past.

The second complainant was a motorcyclist who was speeding and pulled over when he saw the officer's flashing lights. In the course of speaking to the motorcyclist, the officer allegedly became very angry, screaming and shouting at him saying he was "a stupid fool" and he (the officer) was the one who had to "clean up after idiots like him". The motorcyclist believed the officer was aggressive to the point of being abusive despite him freely admitting that he was speeding and answering questions as calmly and politely as he could.

The officer was subject to an employment process and the Authority agreed with the outcome which was designed to improve the officer's communication style.

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