A car was stolen in Gisborne, and officers located it at the end of an isolated, dead-end road. When Police searched the car, they found gang related tagging on the interior.
A dog handler tracked through isolated rural land. The dog led him to a stop-bank, where he heard a gang greeting. He located two persons with his torch whom he did not recognise and issued a warning for them to stop. One individual continued to move away from him. The police dog was released to stop that person. Both offenders were arrested.
Following the arrest, it was found that both offenders were youths. They were taken into custody and processed before being returned to their families. Following their arrest, two officers were required to complete a report to the Commissioner as the offenders were youths. The Authority found that this was not completed in accordance with policy.
A complaint was laid from the mother of one of the youths about both the use of force, inappropriate language from the arresting officer, and the way her complaint was handled by Police. The Authority could not determine whether derogatory language had been used and did not believe Police had deliberately discouraged a complaint from being laid.
The Authority also found that the use of the dog was lawful and reasonable under the circumstances. Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, says, “Although apprehension of the occupants of a stolen car by use of a Police dog will not be warranted on many occasions, we do believe that the officer here was informed in his decision and this apprehension was justified”.