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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation that officer made inappropriate comments to a tow company client

4 June 2020

An Auckland tow company complained that a Police officer made misleading and inappropriate comments when he was investigating a complaint about it. The tow company said the officer told one of its customers that the company was operating illegally and did not have over-dimension permits, and that he would visit other customers of the company to inform them of this.

Police investigated the complaint. The tow company's customer declined to make a statement, and Police were unable to advance the investigation.

The tow company's customer did speak to the Authority. He confirmed that the officer did make the comments to him. The officer told the Authority that the comment the tow company was operating illegally was taken out of context. He said he was referring to the illegality of this specific tow, as he believed the load was divisible; he was not intending to imply that the company was generally operating illegally. He said the comment that the company did not have an over-dimension permit was based on his belief that a valid over-dimension permit could not be issued for a load that was divisible. He denied saying he would tell other customers about the tow company's conduct.

The Authority was unable to resolve the conflict in the accounts of the officer and customer and the complaint was not upheld.

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