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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

High speed by an officer after abandonment of a pursuit

25 June 2019

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the manner of driving by an officer during a pursuit in the Auckland Central District on 11 August 2017.

The officer took part in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle during which all participating units were directed to abandon the pursuit as it was taken over by the Police aerial surveillance helicopter, known as Eagle. The officer concerned drove away from the fleeing driver in an attempt to set-up road spikes and was recorded as driving at a speed of 210kph in an 80kph area.

The Police conducted both an employment and criminal investigation.

The employment investigation found that in driving at such speeds the officer's conduct was a breach of the Police Code of Conduct and Values and Police policies. At the conclusion of the employment proceedings an appropriate disciplinary sanction was imposed.

The criminal investigation found that the officer was driving at excessive speed but Police were of the view that he had a defence in law to any criminal charge for doing so and decided not to prosecute the officer.

The Authority is of the view that the officer did not have a justification for driving at such an excessive speed and found that a criminal charge should have been brought against him by Police. In the circumstances of this case and particularly the speeds involved, there was a reasonable prospect of conviction for dangerous driving. The Authority did not agree with the Police decision to deal with the matter as it did and advised Police that in its view the officer should have been charged.

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