Police protect one of their own | The Jackal

17 May 2012

Police protect one of their own

Yesterday, the Police reported:

Police have confirmed that an officer resigned late last year after being investigated for theft in the aftermath of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

It was alleged that three sets of sunglasses were taken from a cordoned-off suburban shop by an officer from the North Island.

Assistant Commissioner South, Dave Cliff, says the matter was investigated as soon as it was brought to Police notice.

"We are very clear that any allegations against Police must be investigated thoroughly and promptly," says Assistant Commissioner Cliff. "We demand the highest ethical standards from all police officers and police employees."

An inquiry was initiated immediately and was conducted by senior Police investigators. The constable was suspended once evidence of his involvement emerged. He did not admit the theft of the sunglasses.

Assistant Commissioner Cliff says an assessment was made about evidential sufficiency to support an open court charge. Legal advice was received that there was not enough evidence that could lawfully be put before a court to prove a charge of theft.

"Fingerprint evidence was not able to be put to the court. Officers' fingerprints are recorded for elimination purposes, but it is not lawful for these to be used for any other purpose. As a result the decision was made, reluctantly, that charges could not be brought against the constable.

Unbelievable! Here we have a police screening system that records fingerprints to ensure new recruits are not connected to any previous crimes not being used appropriately.

If the police had on file the fingerprints of somebody from the general public, and they were connected to a crime through that fingerprinting but it was inadmissible*, the police would simply use that evidence to require another fingerprint test that would be admissible.

In fact the police should have simply fingerprinted the officer in question again when he was connected to the crime. He/she should have been arrested. The fact that they didn't smacks of police corruption and the same old usual boys in blue protecting one of their own.

What this shows is that there's one law for the police and another for the general public... and the contrast couldn't be greater:

Criminal A stole got away with $6000 dollars worth of clothing, had his name and face all over the news and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Criminal B stole an undisclosed amount, had his name suppressed, wasn't put before a judiciary to see if evidence was admissible or not and got off scott free.

Criminal A is Maori and comes from the general public while criminal B was a police officer and likely to be Pakeha. The Police's "ethical standards" in this matter are a complete joke!

* It was established that the fingerprints were impressed at the time the crime was committed. These fingerprints were admissible and should have been enough to ensure the matter was put before a judge. It is for a court of law to decide whether that evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt and warrants a conviction, not the Police.