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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Police deployment of dog following misidentification of suspect

27 October 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an allegation a Northland dog-handler mistakenly deployed their Police dog against the wrong man. The Police dog also bit the man's partner who tried to intervene, causing minor bite injuries to both of them.

There was no dispute of the facts of this case and Police found that the officer acted lawfully and in good faith, reasonably believing the man they had encountered was the person Police were seeking. This belief was reinforced by other officers also misidentifying the man and also his decision to run from Police when challenged. The dog-handler was unaware that the man's partner was nearby when deploying the dog and could not have reasonably anticipated her intervention. Appropriate steps to address the officer's actions and the concerns of the injured parties were taken at the conclusion of the Police investigation.

The Authority accepts the findings and the outcome of the Police investigation.

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