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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Wellington Police trespass on property and unlawfully arrest a woman

29 October 2020

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an allegation Police trespassed on private property and arrested a woman, who sustained a dislocated elbow as she was escorted to a nearby Police car.

Police attended the woman's address following reports of a potential out of control party. The woman spoke to the attending officers at her gate and told them to leave. She attempted to close the gate and an officer tried to push her back ,so she pushed the officer away. She was arrested for this action as an assault on Police. The attending officers said they relied on powers contained in the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 to remain on the woman's property.

Police found that the woman was entitled to tell the officers to leave her property. Additionally, no offence was being committed on the property which posed a risk to the life or safety of anyone or required an emergency response. Accordingly, the officers could not rely on any provision of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. The officers became trespassers when they failed to comply with the woman's direction to leave. Her arrest and any force used against her were unlawful.

Police apologised to the woman at the conclusion of their investigation and rectified their records to reflect no wrongdoing on her part. It was accepted by the woman that the injury she sustained was unintended and not as a result of the use of excess force during her arrest. Appropriate steps to address the officers' actions were taken as a result of the Police investigation.

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