The Herald reports:
One of the most senior police officers in the country was given a plum overseas job less than 12 months after accepting a lesser rank for making crass sexual comments in front of female colleagues.
And the bitter fallout has now cast a shadow over the announcement of the next Police Commissioner, as one of the favourites for the top job is under investigation for trying to block the appointment of the censured officer to the coveted Hong Kong role.
Hamish McCardle had been recently promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, in charge of performance and strategy, when an Independent Police Conduct Authority upheld a complaint against him for making offensive sexual remarks.
One of the crude comments was McCardle joking in front of female colleagues that police staff, including himself, have to perform oral sex in order to be promoted.
The IPCA found McCardle’s behaviour was unprofessional, disrespectful and breached elements of the police Code of Conduct, which amounted to inappropriate behaviour and serious misconduct.
He was quietly shuffled out of the police executive, the senior leadership team of Commissioner Mike Bush, and accepted the lower rank of Superintendent last April.
But by the end of the year, McCardle was offered an international post to Hong Kong, as a police liaison officer working alongside New Zealand diplomats and local law enforcement.
Such jobs are considered highly desirable by police staff and come with perks such as paid-for accommodation and allowances for living expenses.
McCardle had previously spent eight years in Beijing as a senior liaison officer and was credited with fostering a strong relationship between Chinese and New Zealand police forces, especially in disrupting the drug trade.
As a fluent Mandarin speaker who achieved a Master of Laws from a Chinese university, McCardle would be considered the strongest candidate for the Hong Kong job.
While supporters thought McCardle had paid the price for his indiscretion, one senior police officer believed McCardle’s appointment to the desirable international post, less than 12 months after his demotion, sent a poor message to staff.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement had a heated meeting with Police Commissioner Mike Bush, then tried to block McCardle from getting the role.
Clement is a Deputy Commissioner. I think he had every right to caution against the appointment of someone who was demoted to a plum role.
The complaint against Clement to the IPCA seems like petty internal politics.
I recall that Clement advised against the appointment of Wally Haumaha. If they had listened to him on that occasion, they would have saved themselves a world of pain.
If Clement is guilty of anything, it appears to be wanting to maintain the highest standards amongst senior police officers
To my thinking that would make him an excellent Police Commissioner.
UPDATE: The PM has announced Andrew Coster is the new Police Commissioner. I’ve heard good things about him also from when he was in charge of an Auckland Police District.