Police staff pressured by boss over daughter’s arrest

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Waikato area commander Superintendent Bruce Bird, who pressured his staff to stop the arrest of his daughter. PICTURE: New Zealand Herald

Hamilton
Waikato’s top police officer tried to put pressure on his staff to stop the arrest of his daughter.
Area commander Superintendent Bruce Bird was the subject of an employment investigation after the incident but has been allowed to keep his job.
He is also subject to an Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) investigation.
Interfering with the arrest of a friend or family member is a conflict of interest and a breach of police policy.
Mr Bird’s daughter was arrested after a domestic incident in January and taken to Hamilton Central Police Station, sources told the Herald.
Soon after, Bird, Waikato’s top policeman since 2014, found out about the arrest and phoned the senior officer on duty and put pressure on him to stop the arrest from happening.
Despite his interference, the woman was still processed and arrested. It is understood the prosecution was handled outside the Waikato district and she was given diversion.
The senior officer who was on duty when Mr Bird’s daughter was brought in abruptly quit the force shortly afterwards, it is understood.
The officer then filed an official complaint with the IPCA. An investigation is continuing.
A police spokesman confirmed Mr Bird was the subject of an employment investigation following a complaint from a member of staff.
“This related to a telephone conversation between Mr Bird and this individual regarding a member of Mr Bird’s family,” he said.
“The matter was subject to an internal investigation and resolved through an employment process.
“Mr Bird accepts that he made an error of judgment in relation to the telephone conversation, and has apologised to the individual involved.”
Mr Bird remains in his current role.
Police were “not aware of anyone who has left police” over the incident, the spokesman said.
Police would not confirm the charge laid against the daughter, nor the outcome.
The IPCA confirmed it was nearing the completion of its draft findings, but the findings of the internal investigation would not be made public.
The Waikato Police Association was unaware of any complaint or issue involving Mr Bird.
Police sources spoken to say they were shocked by the senior staff member’s sudden departure.
It is understood the senior officer at the centre of the inquiry is subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Mr Bird declined to comment when approached. NZME

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