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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Pursuit in Waikato District not justified

4 May 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation in relation to the actions of Police officers who pursued a motorcycle in the Waikato District and collided with a member of the public's car.

The officers said they started the pursuit because the motorcycle was speeding and driving in a dangerous manner. During the pursuit, the Police car reached a speed of 129kph in an area with a 50kph posted speed limit. The Police car turned into a road and crashed into a civilian's car as it was driving out of an intersection. The officers said they were trying to avoid crashing into it by driving around the car when the civilian reversed, causing them to crash into the car's rear passenger side. No serious injuries were sustained by anyone.

The Police investigation reviewed traffic camera footage before the pursuit started. The footage showed that the rider of the motorcycle appeared to be driving over the speed limit but not excessively and he was not driving dangerously. The investigation found that the officers should not have pursued the motorcycle as this was not in line with Police policy. The investigation also found that the civilian car did not reverse or roll backwards, causing the officers to crash into it, as they believed.

The investigation recommended that the driver of the Police car be charged with dangerous driving causing injury and that both officers be charged with obstructing or perverting the course of justice. A Police review supported the charge of dangerous driving causing injury but concluded that there was not enough evidence to prove the officers conspired to pervert or obstruct the course of justice.

The Police driver pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing injury and the Court granted him a discharge without conviction. Police also dealt with the matters in a subsequent employment process. The Authority is satisfied that the employment process appropriately dealt with the issues in this case.

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