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Home / Outcomes / 2023-summaries-of-police-investigations

Police dog deployed in Wellington District to stop a fleeing driver

9 May 2023

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into a notification where a Police dog handler deployed his dog on the passenger of a stolen car to stop them from fleeing.

On 28 July 2022, the dog handler noticed a stolen car displaying an incorrect registration plate and driving over the speed limit in Naenae. The officer followed the car, and it abruptly came to a stop. The passenger of the car got out and opened the bonnet of the car. The officer stopped next to the car, on the opposite side of the road, and told the passenger to stay where he was. The passenger enabled the car to be restarted, got into it, and the driver drove off.

A short distance later, the car again came to an abrupt stop and the passenger again enabled it to be restarted. Another officer parked his patrol car in front of the stolen car, to stop the driver from leaving but the driver drove around the patrol car, colliding with, and damaging it. The dog handler switched on his warning lights and siren and commenced a pursuit of the driver of the stolen car.

The stolen car broke down a third time and the passenger ran to the bonnet. The dog handler called to the passenger to stop and show his hands, but the passenger failed to comply with the instruction. The dog handler then deployed his dog to stop the passenger and the driver. Both the passenger and driver were successfully apprehended. The passenger sustained minor bite injuries and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

Police undertook an investigation into the use of the Police dog to apprehend the passenger. The investigation found that that force was justified to arrest the passenger and prevent the driver from fleeing. We agree with the Police decision.

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