The investigating officer, who was off duty, visited a car dealership where he had previously purchased vehicles. During this visit, the officer learned the manager had reported a stolen vehicle but had not heard anything further from Police.
The officer undertook inquiries upon his return to work and subsequently located and recovered the vehicle from the complainant who had purchased the vehicle from a third-party several months earlier. The complainant had interacted with police multiple times since purchase without being advised the vehicle had been reported as stolen.
Police investigated whether any conflicts of interest, or breaches of police policy or procedures arose from the officers’ actions. Police determined that although no conflicts of interest were identified and the investigating officer appeared to have acted in good faith, there was a reasonable perception that the car dealership had received favourable treatment compared to similar reports from others.
Police identified some learning opportunities which were addressed with the officer and apologised to the complainant for the inadequate explanation for the delay in the initial investigation.
The Authority agreed with the finding of the Police investigation and the action taken in response.