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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Collision of Police vehicles following offender's escape from custody

21 January 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the circumstances surrounding a collision between two Police cars in the Central Police District in May 2019.

The cars were attempting to intercept a stolen vehicle driven by a man who had escaped from other officers. One of the Police cars, an unmarked patrol car, was travelling towards the stolen vehicle and commenced a U-turn after the stolen vehicle had passed it. The unmarked patrol car was hit during the manoeuvre by a marked patrol car that was following the stolen vehicle with its warning lights activated.

Following the collision a pursuit of the stolen vehicle was commenced, during the course of which the fleeing man stole a second vehicle. A tyre deflation device was successfully deployed against this vehicle, which came to a stop after hitting another Police patrol car and colliding with a concrete post. The male fled from the vehicle on foot.

Later that day, the male was found hiding in the rear footwell of a third vehicle and detained.

The officers who had been escorting the male prior to his escape were found to have erred in their judgement. The Authority agrees with the employment outcome received by these officers.

Police completed a criminal investigation in respect of the driver of the unmarked patrol car, who was charged with careless driving. The case was dismissed at Court. No employment investigation was completed but all officers involved in the pursuit and subsequent criminal investigation had a debrief about the incident.

It was found that an officer had not fully complied with Urgent Duty Driving policy, but that, in general, Fleeing Driver policy had been followed. A number of learnings were identified, which the Authority hopes will inform future practice.

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