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Home / Outcomes / 2024 Summaries of Police Investigations

Police officer investigated for use of Police dog on passenger in fleeing vehicle in Bay of Plenty

4 April 2024

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the use of a Police dog to apprehend a young person who was a passenger in a stolen car that failed to stop for Police. The incident was notified to the Authority as the young person was injured by the dog bite. The identities and age of the occupants were unknown to Police at the time.

When the stolen car was first seen, an officer tried to block the car with the Police patrol car by stopping in front of the vehicle. The car rammed the patrol car several times before fleeing. There was a short pursuit but it was abandoned due to safety concerns for members of the public. Police continued monitoring the car for about two hours, and observed the driver failing to pay for petrol and committing further traffic offences.

Police successfully spiked the tyres of the stolen car and, after a brief pursuit, it crashed into a ditch. The passenger fled from the vehicle, so a Police dog-handler released his dog to stop the passenger and the Police dog bit the passenger on the wrist. The driver also ran from the car and a different Police dog was used to help arrest the driver.

The investigation found the initial actions of the officer who stopped in front of the stolen car did not adhere with Policy, and Police have undertaken an employment process with this officer. Police found the dog handler was justified in using the Police dog to arrest the young person when he did not stop running when Police told him to.

The Authority agrees with the findings of the investigation.

IPCA: 23-19625

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