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Home / Outcomes / 2022 Summaries of Police Investigations

Officers investigated for forcibly coercing a man, who was using his cell phone, from the forecourt to the retail area of a service station, and for arresting his partner during the same incident

26 January 2022

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a complaint received in April 2019 that a Canterbury Police officer had forcibly moved a man inside the retail area of a service station and then arrested him, after the man chose not to cease using his cell phone on the forecourt when directed to by the officer. The man’s partner also complained that excessive force was used by another officer when arresting her.

The Police investigation made no criticism of the Police members involved. Police found there to be differing views on whether the use of modern cell phones on a service station forecourt posed a risk to public safety. Police determined the force used by the officer to guide the man inside the retail area was limited, and the officer’s handling of the situation was consistent with good practice.

The Authority believes Police had no lawful grounds to move the man inside the service station as he had not committed any offence.

The Authority also disagrees with the initial decision by Police to issue the man with a pre-charge warning for behaving in a disorderly manner. The evidence does not suggest the man was causing a substantial disruption of public order, we are of the view there was insufficient evidence to meet the ingredients for the charge of Disorderly Behaviour. Police accept our view and the pre-charge warning has been removed from the man’s record.

We also found the arrest and brief detainment of the man’s partner for obstructing the officers during the arrest process to be unjustified, as there is no indication that the woman had an intention to do so.

Police have subsequently accepted the Authority’s view on both matters.

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