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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Force used when detaining a young person was justified

10 June 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint alleging that Police officers used excessive force on a 13 year old boy when he was detained.

Police had been called by the boy's caregiver because of concerns about his behaviour; he was agitated, violent, and causing damage to the house where they lived.

On arrival at the house, Police found a knife in a bag the boy had in his possession which was removed from him. However, due to the boy's behaviour the officers decided to place him in handcuffs, remove him from the house, and place him in the Police car for his and others safety to await the arrival of specialist services. The boy became aggressive and the two officers struggled to get him to the car. During the struggle, the boy alleges that one of the officers choked him, causing him to lose consciousness. This allegation was not supported by witnesses and denied by the officers involved. There was no other evidence to support the allegation. However, the officers did not report the use of force, as required under Police policy.

Police report that the handcuffs were used for a short period of time and removed from the boy as soon as he was calm and no longer a risk to his or others safety.

Following its investigation into this matter, Police concluded that the officers' use of force was appropriate and the allegation of choking did not occur. Police also took steps to address the reporting requirements with the officers involved.

The Authority agrees with the Police findings and actions taken.

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