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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Unjustified Police pursuit in the Southern District

29 October 2020

Police commenced a pursuit of a young man who had left a family harm incident. His identity was known to Police when the pursuit started.

Even though there were risks to the public, Police continued with the pursuit.

The officers in the lead Police car decided to carry out a technique known as a 'non-compliant vehicle stop' with the aim of stopping the fleeing driver. The technique involves a Police vehicle forcing a fleeing vehicle from the road and should only be used in very limited circumstances. The Police car that was executing the 'non-compliant vehicle stop' failed to make sufficient contact with the fleeing vehicle and veered off the road, lost control and crashed into a nearby house. The fleeing driver crashed into an unoccupied and stationary civilian vehicle, causing that vehicle to tip over. The fleeing driver's vehicle also rolled, landed back on its wheels and then drove on, crashing into another Police vehicle parked in front of it.

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the pursuit.

The Authority and Police agree the pursuit should have been abandoned when it became dangerous to the public and the use of the non-compliant vehicle stop was excessive and unjustified. Police also acknowledge they should have obtained a legal opinion to consider possible criminal liability on the part of the officers involved.

However, the Authority and Police disagree about whether the pursuit should have been commenced in the first place. In our view, it should not have been because the identity of the fleeing driver was known and there was no need to immediately arrest him because he had left the family harm incident. Police have been advised of the Authority's view.

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