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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Police officers in Bay of Plenty investigated for allegations of conflict of interest in firearm gifting

19 October 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an allegation two Police officers operated under a conflict of interest and used their positions to obtain possession of an antique firearm. The complainant said the firearm belonged to her, and after Police confiscated it due to mental health concerns for her then-partner, that partner later gifted it to one of the officers, who was a family member.

That officer then passed it on to a second officer who has an interest in restoring antique firearms. The second officer restored it and returned it to the first (family member) officer. Police found that although no malice or dishonesty was involved, both officers should have recognised the potential for a perceived conflict of interest in the firearm coming into their possession and therefore that the acceptance of the firearm and the failure to declare it was a breach of policy. Police also found when the first officer sought the advice of his supervisor on acceptance of the gift, the supervisor made a mistake in approving it.

The Authority agrees with the outcome of the Police confidential employment process which appropriately addressed the issues.

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