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Home / Publications and Media / 2019 media releases

Officer justified in drawing his firearm during a vehicle stop

1 October 2019

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found it was reasonable and appropriate for an officer to arm himself with a pistol and conduct a 'high risk vehicle stop' in Hastings on 21 July 2018. The officer believed the vehicle matched the description of a car that had recently been stolen along with 10 firearms. However, after searching the car Police discovered it was not the stolen vehicle.

The man involved in the vehicle stop complained to the Authority, saying the officer was aggressive and pointed a gun at him for a long period of time. However, the Authority determined that the officer held the pistol pointing towards the ground during the incident. The officer said the man was agitated at being stopped and was belligerent to him.

The Authority found that the vehicle stop and the search were lawful, as the officer had reasonable grounds to suspect the man was driving the stolen vehicle which could have contained the stolen firearms. The officer complied with his obligations under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, other than not reporting the warrantless search.

The man also complained that Police had not apologised to him for the vehicle stop, and had not offered him victim support.

Police advised the Authority that they would consider providing support to people in these circumstances, but it was likely support was not considered in this case because of the confrontational way in which the man had responded to the incident.

"The Authority accepts that any incident in which a firearm is drawn in the presence of a member of the public, whether aimed or not, would likely be distressing for that person. The Authority notes that in this case, a supervisor attended and explained the reasons for the officer's actions to Mr X" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report

Police use of firearm when stopping a car in Hastings (PDF 453 KB)

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