The Independent Police Conduct Authority has completed its investigation into the Police response to the actions of Superintendent Graham Thomas on 12 and 13 December 2008.
The Authority has conveyed its findings, with reasons and recommendations, to the Commissioner of Police, in accordance with s.27(2) of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act.
The IPCA has found that Superintendent Thomas’s actions may have been lawful, but they fell short of the standards expected of Police officers, particularly senior officers in his position, and amounted to misconduct.
The Authority has found that the officers who responded initially to the incident acted appropriately, but is concerned about a number of aspects of the subsequent actions of Police.
The Authority has found that the Police decision that no criminal charges could be laid against Superintendent Thomas may ultimately have been correct, but it appears to have been made without a thorough investigation having taken place, or independent advice being obtained.
The Authority is also concerned that it was not notified of the event for almost three months.
The IPCA recommendations are as follows:
a. The Police should undertake a thorough investigation into any matter that may involve criminal offending or serious misconduct on the part of a Police officer, before dealing with it as an employment issue. In the Authority’s view the decision in this instance was precipitate;
b. Although the issues in cases may differ, in this case the Authority is of the view that where an employment investigation into a matter is initiated, that investigation should be allowed to conclude and any findings from it should be considered before any agreement is made to a full and final settlement; and
c. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Authority and the Commissioner, the Authority must be notified in a timely way of instances of potential serious misconduct that are internally reported within the Police, to enable the Authority to exercise its independent powers in the public interest.