1491895938109 - Twelve police officers have quit in recent years over drink-driving and drugs charges

Twelve police officers have quit in recent years over drink-driving and drugs charges

Police say 10 sworn officers have been charged with drink-driving offences in the past five years. 

A further three officers have been charged with drug offences during the same period. 

Most of those charged fell on their swords, resigning before they could be sacked. 

Police released the details under the Official Information Act, after the country’s highest-ranked cop, Commissioner Mike Bush, admitted having a historical drink-driving conviction.

READ MORE: * Police Commissioner Mike Bush admits drink-driving conviction * Fewer downing beersies before jumping behind the wheel

Bush waived his right to privacy under the Clean Slate Act in February and disclosed his conviction from 1983.

He said he regretted the incident, but attitudes to drink-driving were far more permissive then.

Bush said police expectations nowadays were clear when it came to drink-driving convictions: “Your job could be in jeopardy.”

That is confirmed by the latest details, which show nine of those facing drink-driving charges resigned during investigations. One matter remained unresolved. 

Of those accused of drug offences, “all three resigned during investigations”, Superintendent Anna Jackson wrote.

On Tuesday, Police Association president Chris Cahill said most officers charged with drink-driving offences realised it would probably be pointless trying to stay in the job, so they quit.

He was not aware of any cases in which the alleged breath or blood alcohol reading was so marginal it was considered worth fighting in a court or disciplinary process.

Cahill said it was true that attitudes towards drink-driving had changed within police.

“The policy’s clear that if you’re caught drink-driving, you’ll be dismissed.

“They resign before police can dismiss them.”

In the 1980s, getting caught for drink-driving was considered “bad luck”, but was now regarded as shameful, Cahill said.

Bush’s admission in February drew mixed reactions. Some commentators argued he should have made public the conviction earlier, but others, including Labour police spokesman Stuart Nash, said he should be allowed to move on.

Police do not currently accept job applications from people with convictions related to dishonesty, drugs, sexual offences, violence and any Transport Act drink-drive offences.

Based on national drink-driving conviction data from last year, police were many times less likely than non-police to be charged with drink-driving.

In the year ending July 1, 2016, 16,085 New Zealanders were charged and convicted for drink-driving – one conviction for roughly every 290 people.

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