Police watchdog’s investigation into top cop’s speeding in its ‘final stages’.


Inspector Simon Feltham's driving was investigated by police.

Derek Flynn/Stuff

Inspector Simon Feltham’s driving was investigated by police.

The police watchdog’s investigation into a top cop who sped to a briefing at more than 150kmh is in its final stages, with the findings expected to be published early next year.

Police confirmed in July that Marlborough area commander Inspector Simon Feltham would not face criminal charges after he was clocked speeding by a highway patrol constable on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson in January.

In the wake of the decision not to lay charges, the Independent Police Conduct Authority launched its own inquiry.

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On Saturday, a spokeswoman for the police watchdog said that investigation was in its “final stages”.

A report outlining the findings was being drafted and would be published early next year, she said.

Inspector Simon Feltham has been the Marlborough area commander since 2013.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

Inspector Simon Feltham has been the Marlborough area commander since 2013.

Stuff previously reported that Feltham, the Tasman district armed offenders squad (AOS) commander, was en route to a briefing in relation to a pre-planned search when he was caught speeding near Rai Valley.

The police car’s lights were activated. Another senior police officer was a passenger in the vehicle.

It is understood some AOS members attending the briefing had yet to leave Blenheim, which is about a 50-minute drive from Rai Valley.

The police officer who caught Feltham speeding had a camera operator from Greenstone TV in his car filming for Highway Cops. It’s unclear whether the camera was on at the time.

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Police earlier said they were satisfied Feltham’s conduct “does not reach the threshold for criminal prosecution”.

They refused to say if his actions were subject to an employment investigation, citing “privacy obligations”.

A subsequent Official Information Act request for information about the incident was denied in part because there was an ongoing employment investigation.

It’s unclear what the outcome of that investigation was.

Feltham declined to comment when contacted by Stuff on Monday morning.

Blenheim is about a 50-minute drive from Rai Valley.

Google Maps

Blenheim is about a 50-minute drive from Rai Valley.

According to the police’s urgent duty driving policy, officers can drive in excess of the speed limit if they are responding to a critical incident, gathering evidence of an alleged offence, apprehending an offender, or providing security to an official motorcade.

A critical incident includes situations where force or the threat of force is involved, a person faces the serious risk of harm or police are responding to people in the act of committing a crime.

Drivers must take into account an array of other factors, including the road type, before deciding whether to commence or continue urgent driving, the policy says.

In October last year, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) announced it was pushing for the 100kmh speed limits on SH6 from Blenheim to Nelson to be reduced to 80kmh.

Between 2009 and 2018, there were 19 deaths and 87 serious injuries in 100kmh zones on that stretch of highway.

According to NZTA’s website, a member of the public caught driving more than 50kmh over the speed limit will be stripped of their licence for 28 days. They can also be charged with careless driving, reckless driving, or dangerous driving.

Feltham has been the Marlborough area commander since 2013.

Prior to that, he worked as a senior police officer in Wellington, where he was involved in the nationwide roll-out of mobile technology, including iPads and iPhones, to staff across the country.