The inspector was also found to have tried to get another group across the lockdown border four days later.
The IPCA said the District Commander should have fully investigated the inspector’s actions and “advised the inspector of the extent of his role and discretion in such circumstances”.
It also found that although the inspector was trying to uphold police values, he did not make sure his actions were lawful.
Deputy Commissioner Chris de Wattignar said it acknowledged the IPCA’s findings.
De Wattignar said the inspector had no personal gain from his actions and did what he did out of empathy for a grieving whānau.
“Police dealt with millions of vehicle movements, along with thousands of people, successfully, during the period the Auckland border checkpoints were in operation. It was a demanding and challenging period for police staff who were called upon to make tough decisions every day.
“We acknowledge the officer did not make the right decision on this occasion, but this should be viewed in light of the hundreds of police officers who worked hard to ensure compliance with the health order in place at the time.”
However, de Wattignar said it was not for police to use their own discretion in such a situation.
“Police self-referred these matters to the Independent Police Conduct Authority and began an employment investigation.
“A criminal investigation was carried out by police and while we found that the officer acted in contravention of the Act, it was deemed not in the public interest to prosecute.”
The inspector resigned during the process of the employment investigation, he said.