A police officer who allegedly stole from a cordoned-off Christchurch building in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake "tainted" the force, police say.
The North Island constable was investigated for theft following allegations he took three pairs of sunglasses from a suburban shop.
Police issued a statement on Wednesday night, saying the matter was investigated as soon as it was brought to the attention of police, and the officer was suspended last year once evidence of his involvement emerged. He has since left the force.
Assistant Commissioner South Superintendent Dave Cliff said police received legal advice that there was not enough evidence to put the case before the court.
The officer's fingerprints were on record for elimination purposes only and could not be used lawfully for any other reason.
"As a result the decision was made, reluctantly, that charges could not be brought against the constable," Supt Cliff said.
As part of an internal disciplinary process, the officer faced a disciplinary hearing but resigned before the process was completed.
"I am satisfied that police investigated promptly and fully, and that we have taken every possible action against the officer. The officer was the subject of a full investigation and his police career is now over," Supt Cliff said.
He said the officer's actions had "tainted" the work of thousands of police officers to help the people of Christchurch.