The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Custody Officer used excessive force when restraining a detainee in Police cells, and officers did not provide the detainee with appropriate care while in custody overnight.
A woman was being held overnight in the Counties Manukau Custody Unit for a breach of her bail conditions. Around midnight she became agitated and when Custody Unit staff entered her cell, she was able to slip out through the open door and run down the corridor.
Custody Officers quickly caught up with the woman, one of whom forcefully took her to the ground, injuring her ankle.
Custody Unit staff say they spoke to the duty medical officer immediately after the incident, but the Authority was unable to reconcile who called the doctor, or whether the Doctor received the call.
The woman complained of pain overnight, but Custody Unit staff made no further assessment of her injury and the doctor was not called again, despite the woman requesting this.
When the next Custody Unit shift came on duty the following morning, they recognised the woman had suffered a serious injury, and an ambulance was called. The woman was taken by ambulance to hospital, where she required surgery for two broken bones in her ankle.
“When the woman slipped out of her cell, one of the Custody Officers used unnecessary and excessive force when he took her to the ground. This resulted in a serious injury to her ankle. She was not assessed again overnight, and she had to wait several hours until the next shift came on duty for her injury to be recognised. The care the woman received overnight fell far below the standard expected,” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.