Top job goes to censured officer

22:51, Aug 24 2010

A senior policeman caught accessing the police computer to pass on information to a private investigator working for convicted pack rapist Brad Shipton has been promoted to head the Police College's investigation and intelligence school.

In 2005, then Senior Sergeant Dave Archibald was reprimanded for accessing the computer system known as National Intelligence Application during the trial of former police officers Shipton, Bob Schollum and two Mt Maunganui residents.

Mr Archibald was looking for information that private investigator and former colleague John Birmingham hoped might help Shipton's defence.

He admitted inappropriately accessing the computer but it was not clear whether Mr Archibald passed information to Shipton's defence team.

Last month Mr Archibald was promoted to the rank of detective inspector as he topped what police described as a very impressive field of candidates to begin his new job at the Royal New Zealand Police College at Porirua.

The promotion has staggered the victim of the 1989 pack rape at Mt Maunganui, who said it was unbelievable that Mr Archibald was not sacked for a serious breach of police rules.

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She believes he has betrayed police and his sworn duty by accessing the computer with the aim of helping a man facing pack rape charges.

Regardless of whether Mr Archibald was reprimanded, she said she could not understand how he could be promoted to such a senior position.

"Surely when you are a police officer you've got to work out what side you are on. The police force is supposed to have evolved in the past five years but it seems the message is still not getting through to some of the old boys' brigade," she said.

The woman believed the message in promoting Mr Archibald was that police were not taking responsibility for their staff.

"When you are trying to teach people about actions and consequences it's not a good example if police know they can get away with a minimum amount of discipline and then be promoted."

The woman, who has name suppression, said that whoever made the decision to promote Mr Archibald needed "to grow a pair".

Mr Archibald cut short questions about the issue yesterday saying: "I'm not prepared to [answer]. I'm tied up, see you later."

His new job at the college involves training police in intelligence, prosecutions, forensics and investigative techniques.

Last year The Press newspaper reported there were 33 violations of the NIA system and the Police Association told its members that improper accessing of the system "can be impossible to justify and can be fatal to your employment".

Of the 33 breaches, eight officers resigned during disciplinary hearings and five underwent "performance management".

Also last year, former Rotorua police telephonist Maxine Griffiths was sentenced to nine months' home detention for trying to obstruct the course of justice after she accessed the NIA system in 2006 and passed information to her P-dealing partner.

Superintendent Mike Wilson, national manager, training, said police did not normally comment on employment issues, but because of the nature of The Dominion Post's inquiry, he made an exception.

"An employment investigation was conducted in 2006 and appropriate disciplinary action was taken at that time.

"Detective Inspector Archibald applied for the position as the head of school of investigations and intelligence in December 2009.

"He voluntarily declared the issue, which the panel considered and checked as part of the process."

The Dominion Post