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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Police behaviour in course of an armed stop

9 October 2019

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the actions of an officer in December 2018 during, and subsequent to, a vehicle being stopped by armed officers in which a young woman was a passenger. The armed stop occurred on Queen Street in Auckland. The young woman's father, who is a lawyer, complained on her behalf about a number of matters.

The Authority agreed with Police that the officer was wrong to deny the young woman the ability to contact her father for legal advice. He did so because he mistakenly considered the father might have a conflict of interest in providing legal advice to his daughter.

Other findings were:

  • Police were justified in conducting an armed stop of the vehicle as it had earlier that day been connected to an armed incident;
  • it was open to the officer to conclude that the young woman needed to be handcuffed when taken to the Police station because she posed a potential risk;
  • the young woman's detention was not unlawful. The officer had the power to detain and search her under sections 18 and 125(1)(d) of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 and it was reasonable to take her to the nearest Police station for a female officer to conduct an appropriate search in private;
  • the officer did not wave a firearm in, or near, the young woman's face as she originally alleged; and
  • there was no evidence to suggest that the actions of the officer or other Police were motivated by racist views.
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