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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Excessive force during an arrest

22 March 2018

In late 2016 Police began a pursuit of a stolen car that appeared to have a number of young people in it. The fleeing vehicle was stopped by spikes thrown out by Police. The five young people in the car were all arrested. Some complained they were injured by police. A complaint was made to the IPCA that Police officers used excessive force during those arrests.

Police conducted an investigation which was reviewed by the IPCA at its conclusion.

The Police investigation determined that the force used by some officers was excessive. On the available evidence, it was not possible to identify the individual officers who used the force with any certainty. Accordingly there was insufficient evidence for any criminal charges to be laid. However, Police acknowledged that the force used was inappropriate and apologised to the young people for their actions during arrest.

The Police investigation also identified issues relating to how the pursuit was undertaken, including the number of Police vehicles involved and the tactics used. Accordingly Police are using this pursuit as a case example and an opportunity to hold debriefs and training with officers.

The IPCA agreed with the Police investigation outcomes and has recorded the complaint of excessive use of force as upheld.

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