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Home / Publications and Media / 2019 media releases

Police use of a firearm during Whangarei pursuit justified

20 June 2019

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer was justified in firing a single shot at a man in a fleeing vehicle.

At the beginning of the night shift on Thursday 22 February 2018, Whangarei Police were briefed about a spate of recent burglaries and trailer thefts in the surrounding area. They were also given details of a family who were potential suspects and known to carry firearms.

Two officers advised their supervisor that they would equip themselves with Glock pistols due to the potential risk of encountering armed offenders.

At approximately 3am on Friday 23 February 2018, the two officers saw a Nissan pull out of an intersection in rural Whangarei. Concerned about the manner of driving, they activated their patrol car's lights and siren to signal the vehicle to stop but the driver accelerated away.

Police pursued the Nissan, during which time the driver rammed the Police car three times. Before the second ramming, the rear passenger presented what appeared to be a firearm at Police. The officer in the front passenger seat stepped out of the stationary Police car and fired a shot at him.

Authority General Manager, Warren Young, said "The officers reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of serious harm or death and the officer responded accordingly. The officer was legally justified in firing his pistol at the man in self-defence."

The Authority also found that the officers were not justified in arming themselves with Glock pistols at the start of their shift and their supervisor did not follow the correct procedure when they did so.

Public Report
Police use of a firearm during Whangarei pursuit (PDF 548 KB)

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