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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegations of inappropriate conduct by Police officers at Canterbury District custody unit

8 May 2020

On 24 June 2019 the Authority received a complaint from a man who had been arrested for disorderly conduct and subjected to a strip search at a Canterbury District custody unit.

It was alleged that:

· excess force had been used by Police;

· the strip search was unnecessary;

· access to a lawyer had been denied;

· the individual had been left in a cell for an extended period of time;

· the individual was forced to accept a pre-charge warning.

The Authority found that the force used by Police was reasonable and that the strip search was justified because the arresting officer believed that the man was concealing something that could harm himself or others. Police acknowledged that a request made by the individual to speak to a lawyer was delayed unnecessarily. This has been addressed with the officer concerned and the Authority is satisfied with this outcome.

The length of time the man was kept in custody was not unreasonable and the Authority is of the view that a pre-charge warning was a suitable outcome in the circumstances.

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