The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer involved in a vehicle collision in Auckland on 19 December 2017 breached the Police's 'Fleeing driver' policy, and his driving was not necessary in the execution of his duty.
The collision occurred when the officer briefly drove the wrong way up Hobson Street (a one-way traffic system) when leaving the Auckland Central Police Station. The officer was looking for a Subaru that had just been involved in a pursuit which Police had abandoned. The Subaru came around the corner from Cook Street into Hobson Street at speed and through a red light, and collided with the officer's patrol car.
Both vehicles were significantly damaged, but there were no injuries. The driver of the Subaru was arrested and charged with failing to stop and reckless driving in relation to the earlier pursuit.
The officer said he had been 'urgent duty driving' at the time of the crash, because he was searching for the Subaru. The Authority did not accept this, because:
"The officer was driving against the one-way system, not above the speed limit or the natural flow of traffic. He was not undertaking urgent duty driving as described by policy when he left the Police station and should not have driven the wrong way up Hobson Street to search for the Subaru. There was no reason at all for the officer to attempt to locate the vehicle after the pursuit had been abandoned" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.