Police officer's dismissal 'justified'
A Canterbury police officer was justifiably sacked after placing a young woman in a "choker hold" when she grabbed his hat, an employment tribunal has ruled.
The "small young woman", referred to as V, laid a complaint against the long-serving senior constable, who can be identified only as Q, in relation to the incident in May 2010.
She accused the officer of placing her in a "head lock" or "choker hold", then dragging her outside the nightclub and yelling at her. She was then arrested.
The police officer argued he used a "moderate degree of force", including an "approved technique" to restrain her and remove her from the premises.
An independent police investigation found he used "excessive force" and he was dismissed on October 14, 2011.
The Employment Relations Authority agreed with the decision in a determination released yesterday, rejecting his claims of unjustified dismissal.
Authority member Rosemary Monaghan said the authority was told such pranks were not uncommon and that tolerance was the best approach.
"However, Q took the matter seriously and sought to speak to V about it outside the club,'' she said.
''He considered the hold he used to be necessary and appropriate, when it is best doubtful that the hold he used was the minimum restraint necessary in the circumstances. He believed it was necessary to show anger in order to control V, but that was a poor exercise of judgment.
"Q's attitude to her was disparaging and belittling. She and her friends were not causing trouble, beyond embarking on their prank."
The officer said his case was prejudiced because he was not notified of the complaint sooner.
He said the delay meant he was unable to obtain any closed-circuit television footage, which he argued would have cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Seven months after the incident, Q was issued with a formal written warning for being insubordinate to a senior officer. He was removed from his specialist unit and placed on ordinary police duties.
The authority also dismissed his grievance to the formal warning and restricted duties.
Costs were reserved.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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