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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Police justified in use of dog to prevent man attempting to escape

21 September 2021

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police were justified in the use of a Police dog to arrest a man who tried to run from officers in Dunedin.

On 29 April 2020, Police sought to arrest a man who was wanted for multiple offences and believed to be actively evading Police. The man had been involved in a pursuit, six days prior to this, when escaping Police custody after being arrested for breach of Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown restrictions. His driving was dangerous, forcing Police to abandon the pursuit.

The man was spotted by Police walking on Great King Street and despite officers identifying themselves and telling the man he was under arrest he turned and ran across a park.

A Police dog handler, who was present when the man was approached on Great King Street, believed the man posed a serious risk to members of the public if he were to escape and assessed his only available tactical option was to release his dog, which he did.

While the man avoided the Police dog's first attempt to restrain him, this allowed the Police dog handler to gain ground and take the man to the ground; at the same time the Police dog bit the man on his backside.

The Authority found the use of the Police dog to be justified.

"We believe Police made sound operational decisions based on the information and circumstances known at the time. They acted appropriately to prevent any member of the public being at risk of unnecessary harm," says Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report

Police justified in use of dog to prevent man attempting to escape (PDF 341 KB)
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