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Home / Publications and Media / 2023 media releases

Use of Police dog to arrest a youth in Hamilton justified

15 August 2023

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police dog handler’s decision to use his dog to apprehend a 15 year old male was justified.

In the early morning of 6 June 2022, a member of the public phoned Police after hearing a gun shot outside their home. They provided camera footage to Police which showed an unknown person in the driver’s seat of a silver coloured station wagon firing a handgun out of the driver’s window.

About 15 minutes later, a Police dog handler saw the vehicle being driven at high speed. The vehicle fled from Police and later came to a stop after it drove over road spikes.

The dog handler says he saw five people get out of the vehicle and run away. He yelled for them to stop, and warned he would release his dog if they failed to do so. The five occupants continued to run away, and the dog handler released the dog. The dog bit a 15 year old youth on the arm. The other occupants surrendered without incident. Police took the youth to hospital where he was admitted for treatment. Police did not locate the firearm.

The Authority has concluded that the use of the dog was a proportionate use of force in the circumstances. Authority Chair Judge Kenneth Johnston KC said: “In this case, the officers had reason to believe at least one of the occupants of the vehicle was in possession to a firearm. The dog handler made a sound assessment of the risks, and releasing the dog was the most appropriate tactical option available to him.”

Public Report (PDF 385 KB)

Use of Police dog in Hamilton justified
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