Grace case cop subject of internal inquiry

Police face an awkward situation as the officer praised publicly for his leadership of the Grace Millane murder investigation has had four allegations in a complaint against him upheld by Auckland's police commander.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard's handling of the Millane case touched some New Zealanders and the Millane family, and has won praise from colleagues and politicians, but he has been working under internal scrutiny after Auckland Area Commander Gary Davey investigated four allegations against him pre-dating the Millane case - and upheld them.

Davey had been asked by Police Commissioner Mike Bush to inquire into a complaint against Beard. The four counts include sharing confidential police information of a sensitive nature, breaching the confidentiality of his team members and supervisors, breaching the privacy of a victim's parent, and separately selling or supplying alcohol at his Hibiscus Coast Football Club.

Police documents dated September 2018 confirm the upholding of the complaints but that the matter is otherwise confidential between the police and Beard.

It is not known if any disciplinary action ensued but Beard retains his rank and seniority, as evidenced by his leadership of the inquiry into the disappearance and death of the British backpacker.

His public statements and police action on the case have been praised for the care and sensitivity shown to the Millane family, and even politicians have joined the recognition for his work on the case.

Former policeman and National MP for Rodney Mark Mitchell tweeted: "Would like to acknowledge Det Insp Scott Beard and his investigative team. They have quickly earn’t [sic] the trust and confidence of Grace’s family at such a terrible time. I know how hard they are working to find Grace and return her to her family. We are all behind you Scott."

Asked about the breaches of confidentiality and privacy the Police said :

"We do not respond to questions of this nature about specific individuals, however we can say that your information is not accurate."

(Newsroom has supplied police with the document above and asked them to specify what is allegedly inaccurate. Police subsequently responded: 'We have nothing further to add'.)

"Detective Inspector Beard is a dedicated, professional and highly regarded investigator.

"His commitment to his job, particular victims and their families, has been more than evident to anyone who has followed the tragic events of the last two weeks.

"Detective Inspector Beard will not be making any statement in response to your request."

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