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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

High speed by an officer during a pursuit

9 May 2019

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the manner of driving by an officer during a pursuit in Hamilton on 23 January 2018.

The officer witnessed the fleeing driver initially cut a corner and then drive in excess of 50kph in a 50kph area. He initiated a pursuit when the fleeing driver did not stop and accelerated away. The officer reported that in pursuing the fleeing driver, the officer had reached 130kph in a 50kph area. The fleeing driver drove through an intersection on a red light and collided with a member of the public's vehicle going through the intersection on a green light. The impact overturned that vehicle and both occupants received minor injuries. The fleeing driver crashed into a hedge shortly afterwards.

The Police conducted an employment investigation which found that the officer drove in excess of 100kph in a 50kph area and that he continued to pursue when the risks outweighed the known offending by the fleeing driver. The officer received a disciplinary outcome and was required to undergo training.

The Authority was of the view that a criminal investigation should have been undertaken immediately by Police. In the circumstances of this case, there was sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction for dangerous driving and prosecution was in the public interest. Police did not charge the officer with dangerous driving. The Authority did not agree with this decision and has confirmed to Police that in its view the officer should have been charged.

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