Police Commissioner says force is a 'positive environment' amid claims of bullying

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says bullying is not tolerated in the force, despite serious allegations of just that made by several staff.

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But it was overshadowed by serious allegations of bullying laid by several police staff. Source: 1 NEWS

The thin blue line is being rocked by big claims made by workers to RNZ which say there's bullying from the top down, that senior staff used their power to "make life hell", that there's mental abuse and that there is a "mates' club".

Another claim is that any complaints made undergo a "conscious effort" to remove the word bullying so it is harder to have the information revealed in Official Information Act releases.

"We're advised to use any word we can, other than the word bullying. Sometimes you have to get really creative," a Police human resources worker told RNZ.

Police Commissioner Bush spoke today at the opening of Auckland's new police headquarters.

"Bullying is not tolerated at any level of the organisation, and as the Commissioner I ensure that anything is followed up and we create a culture where it’s safe for people to work," he said.

"It's not the style of leadership that's tolerated inside the New Zealand Police, if we hear about it we do something about it."

RNZ reported that of 74 complaints lodged using the Speak Up system in the year to February, 23 were for bullying.

But Mr Bush claimed the culture of police "has changed significantly" over a decade.

"It’s a very, very positive environment," he said.

Mr Bush also cited a recent staff survey he said showed eight out of 10 workers finding the police "a great" place to work.

"Any allegations of bullying are taken seriously and are dealt with and that starts right with the executive, that we role model behaviour that says we want to create a safe workplace for everyone," he said.

The Commissioner, who has been in the force for more than 40 years, admitted that he "absolutely" has witnessed bullying in police but that this is what makes him determined to make sure there is a good culture.

Police Minister Stuart Nash, who was also at the police station opening, said he had complete confidence in the Police Commissioner.

"I've made it very clear that bullying won't be tolerated in the police and I know this is his view as well, and so I've made my expectations very clear around this," Mr Nash told 1 NEWS.

The new police hub

The opening of the new Auckland Police headquarters on College Hill near Ponsonby marks the beginning of the end of the central city building which has served police for five decades.

The new building comes with a promise of having better and more modern facilities for police officers and workers.

"The last place, it wasn't fit for purpose… it had done it's time, let's be honest about this," Police Minister Stuart Nash told the opening.

The Police Commissioner told media the new 24/7 building was "brilliant", and police weren't able to do anything more to the other building to make it more modern.

The stark building has been part of Auckland’s city-scape for decades.

"We'd done pretty much everything with that building that we could, the infrastructure was such that we couldn't do anything more in terms of opening it up or altering it to cater for more people in this organisation which is growing," Mr Bush said.

The old building is just seconds by car from the Southern, and North-Western and Northern motorways but Mr Bush said tests had been done from the new site to make sure they could still get to call-outs at speed.

The old building's future is up in the air, with a process due to figure out if it should be kept or sold off.

Frontline staff have already moved, with 200 remaining staff gradually on their way.

Figures show the old Vincent Street building has a rating valuation of $35,000,000.