The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found no evidence to support allegations that Police Commissioner Howard Broad ‘pulled rank’ and refused a breath test at a police checkpoint in the early 1990s.
The allegations were made in a complaint to the Authority by journalist Ian Wishart, based on information provided to him by former police officers.
Specifically, Mr Wishart alleged that Commissioner Broad was stopped at a checkpoint in Christchurch in 1992, that he was drunk, that he swore at the officer who stopped him, that he refused a breath test and drove away, and that he attempted to intimidate other officers not to report the incident.
Authority investigators have interviewed 16 police and traffic officers working in Christchurch in 1992. None of those officers claim any direct knowledge of Mr Broad being stopped at a checkpoint.
The Authority has, however, confirmed that Mr Broad – then a Detective Inspector - was stopped by a traffic officer in May or June 1992 after a meal at a restaurant with other officers. Mr Broad had consumed alcohol and admitted having done so.
Those present confirm that Mr Broad co-operated with the traffic officer. He was given a breath screening test which indicated the presence of alcohol on his breath. The traffic officer did not believe any further breath testing was necessary. He told Mr Broad to leave his car and walk, which was common traffic enforcement practice at the time.
The following morning, Mr Broad told his supervisor about the incident.
Authority Chair Justice Lowell Goddard said she was satisfied that the traffic incident was dealt with appropriately at the time, according to the laws and policies of the day.
She was also satisfied that the traffic stop was the incident referred to in Mr Wishart’s complaint, and that there was no evidence of any other similar incident involving Mr Broad.
‘Our investigation was independent and thorough, and found no evidence of misconduct,’ said Justice Goddard said.
‘Not a single person we spoke to claims to have been present or to have any first hand knowledge of any occasion when Mr Broad was stopped at a checkpoint and refused a breath test. Such claims are based on hearsay.’