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Home / Outcomes / 2022 Summaries of Police Investigations

Police officer investigated for excessive force during arrest

26 January 2022

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an officer’s use of force to effect the arrest of a man for disorderly behaviour in Levin in August 2019.

A criminal investigation determined the officer acted unlawfully and a charge of assault could be laid, but the decision was made not to, as it was not in the public interest to do so. Despite the criminal investigation findings, a subsequent employment investigation found the officer’s actions were lawful and complied with Police practice and policy. Police ultimately determined the force used by the officer was reasonable, and no disciplinary action would be taken in this instance.

The Authority disagrees with aspects of the Police’s findings. The Authority agrees with the decision not to charge the officer; however, Police should have provided the decision-maker with the findings of the criminal investigation earlier. The employment investigation lacked adequate legal analysis and relied too heavily on the officer’s subjective assessment of the threat posed by the man. The Authority is of the view that the Police employment investigation should have determined disciplinary action was required to address the officer’s conduct.

IPCA: 19-0609

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