16 June 2011
The Police officer involved in a fatal pursuit near Hamilton in March 2010 has been found to have complied with law and policy, following an investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
However some aspects of the command and control of the pursuit by the Police Northern Communications Centre were undesirable.
The Mazda station wagon driven by 27 year old Israel Maki Tane Porter collided with a van on the afternoon of Saturday 27 March, following a pursuit lasting less than two minutes over a distance of about four kilometres. Mr Porter died of head injuries at the scene, and the six occupants of the van suffered minor injuries.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found the Police officer was justified in commencing the pursuit, after he observed Mr Porter’s vehicle exceeding the speed limit in a 50 kph zone and Mr Porter then failed to stop when the officer activated his lights and siren.
The Police officer also complied with other aspects of policy during the pursuit, including communication, the speed and manner of his driving, and the decision to abandon the pursuit in the interests of public safety.
However the pursuit controller at the Police Northern Communications Centre was briefly distracted by technical computer issues and did not take effective command and control of the situation. By the time the crash occurred he was not aware of the history of the pursuit or the known risk factors. Pursuant to the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988, the Authority has found that this failure was undesirable.
At one stage during the pursuit of Mr Porter, the Police officer was unable to safely operate the radio while negotiating an intersection. The Authority has restated a recommendation made in another fatal pursuit report in April 2011, relating to the implementation of hands-free communication technology in all Police operational vehicles.