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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Police in Wellington District arrested a young person in a case of mistaken identity

16 October 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint where it was alleged that Police arrested a young person in a case of mistaken identity. Police were looking for a person who had committed an aggravated robbery the day before.

After a pursuit the person's car was found abandoned in a residential area close to a school. Police commenced with a search of the area and the school was placed in lock-down. A dog handler tracked to a young man close to the vehicle who had a similar description of the fleeing driver. There was uncertainty about his identity and Police arrested and handcuffed the young man believing he may have been involved in the incident. It was later determined that the young man was a student at the school and was not involved. Police took him home.

The young man was not released from his handcuffs until he was at his home address. Police found this action was an unlawful detention. Police also found they could have had better engagement with whanau to explain the situation. Police apologised to the young man and his whanau.

Police dealt with the matter through an appropriate employment process and the Authority agreed with the outcome.

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