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Home / Outcomes / 2022 Summaries of Police Investigations

Canterbury District: Review of incident where a detainee was released from Police custody then assaulted his partner

12 April 2022

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint that an offender seriously assaulted his partner soon after he was released from Police custody.

The offender was arrested for driving offences in his partner’s car while intoxicated. Concerns were raised with Police about the offender returning to his partner’s address while still intoxicated.

After the offender was processed for his charges, he was lawfully held in Police custody for an additional hour for detoxification before being released on bail. The offender then took a taxi to his partner’s address and assaulted her. Police charged the offender with that assault, and he ultimately pleaded guilty.

Police determined the detainee was appropriately released once he was no longer intoxicated to the level he could lawfully be detained for detoxification. However, staff should also have issued a Police Safety Order (PSO) under the Family Violence Act to give the parties time apart and reduce risk of a confrontation. The decision not to issue a PSO was based upon a mistaken belief officers had no power to do so.

Police apologised to the complainant and provided further training to the staff involved. The incident has been included in the Police national training refresher on family violence for wider staff awareness.

The Authority was satisfied the Police investigation was thorough, and the actions taken were appropriate.

IPCA: 21-7776

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