Police acknowledge the findings of an Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report into the use of force during a fleeing driver incident in Christchurch in September 2017.
On 30 September 2017 Police observed a ute in Linwood Avenue they believed to have been stolen. The vehicle failed to stop for officers and fled, and a pursuit was initiated.
Spikes were deployed and the ute entered Latimer Square, where it drove around the park a number of times before crashing into a Police vehicle.
The occupants of the vehicle were arrested.
While the IPCA found the decision to pursue the fleeing driver was justified, the Authority found the way the situation was handled once the vehicle came to a stop was not satisfactory.
The Authority found that while some level of force may have been required during arrest due to the behaviour of the ute’s occupants, other options could have been taken and there was excessive force used against the driver during his arrest. The actions of the officer were dealt with as a performance and training issue.
The Authority also found a dog handler’s use of a Police dog was unjustified in the circumstances. The actions of the dog handler were addressed by a supervisor.
Further training and discussion was also held with two other officers involved in the incident.
Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander, says that while the incident was an incredibly challenging and dynamic one, some actions taken by officers were unsuitable in the circumstances.
“The officers were dealing with a motivated offender determined to avoid arrest, and who was willing to risk the safety of others through his manner of driving.
“However as the Authority’s report has highlighted there were a number of areas where the officers’ actions did not meet the standard required of them.
“Our officers are committed to doing the right thing with the right intent in their work to protect the public and make sure people are safe. However we accept that during this incident there were issues with some aspects of their response.
“A number of the officers involved have received further training and guidance to assist when dealing with situations like this in the future. The message remains simple when asked to stop by the Police for unlawful behaviour on our roads – stop. The actions we take as Police are to make sure that everyone is our communities is safe and feels safe at all times.”