A police officer was rightfully sacked after he used excessive force on a drunk partygoer who snatched his police hat, a tribunal has ruled.
The long-serving Christchurch officer, a senior constable who can be identified only as 'Q', was accused of being "heavy handed" when he put the "small, young woman" in a choker hold and ejected her from a nightclub.
An Employment Relations Authority determination released on Wednesday concluded he was justifiably dismissed.
The officer was a member of a specialist police unit but his relationship broke down with his senior officers.
After becoming critical of his bosses, he was given a formal written warning for being insubordinate.
He was removed from his specialist unit and told to carry out general police duties, which he also took exception to.
His career effectively ended on May 9, 2010, when he entered an unnamed nightclub on general police duties, accompanied by another police officer and two military police.
Authority member Rosemary Monaghan heard how a woman, referred to as 'V,' removed the senior constable's police hat from his head.
"The authority was told such pranks are not uncommon, and that tolerance is the best approach," the determination said.
"However, Q (senior constable) took the matter seriously and sought to speak to V (woman) about it outside the club."
The senior constable colleague complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority about his conduct two days later.
She alleged that the senior constable placed the woman in a "headlock/choker hold, dragged her into the nightclub's hallway and yelled at her, then dragged her outside."
The senior constable denied the excessive force allegations.
He said the woman's behaviour had been unruly and that he used an approved technique to restrain her and eject her from the nightclub.
The officer complained that he was prejudiced because delays meant he was unable to obtain any CCTV footage of the incident, which he believed would clear him of any wrongdoing.
But after an investigation, the senior constable was sacked on October 14, 2011.
The authority agreed with the decision, saying the finding of excessive force was one that a fair and reasonable employer could reach.
Ms Monaghan concluded that the senior constable exercised poor judgement during the incident while his attitude to the woman was "disparaging and belittling."
"He considered the hold he used to be necessary and appropriate, when it is at best doubtful that the hold he used was the minimum restraint necessary in the circumstances," she said.
"He believed it was necessary to show anger in order to control V, but that was a poor exercise of judgement.
"He was unable to see that his actions appeared heavy-handed."
Costs were reserved.