Otago Daily Times
Pursuit justified: IPCA
CHRISTCHURCH: An Independent Police Conduct Authority inquiry has found a pursuit of a van which had rammed a police car was justified even though permission was not granted for it.
Police were called to reports of a man sleeping in a van outside a preschool in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston in 2018.
The van was also of interest to police in relation to a hit and run incident which had occurred seven weeks earlier.
When officers approached the vehicle to talk to the man he told them to go away before ramming into their police car.
A initial pursuit began — it ended 92 seconds later but police continued looking for the van.
Officers asked to start a second pursuit and did so — without getting permission from the communications controller.
During the second pursuit, the man rang 111 and told the dispatcher to make the police officers ‘‘get away from me’’, and that he wanted to end his life.
The van collided with another patrol car and the man struggled with officers, which led to a police dog being used in his arrest.
Police provided him with first aid at the scene for a bite to his lower right arm and later took him to hospital for treatment.
An authority inquiry found officers were justified in pursuing the driver, but should have communicated better.
‘‘The pursuit controller acknowledged officers should not have engaged in a pursuit until permission had been granted, but also said he should have been quicker to grant it: ‘I should have got out the permission granted but then the circumstances took over’,’’ the report said.
Permission for the second pursuit was not given till 1min 42sec after it was asked for.
It also found officers should not have continued looking for the van after the first pursuit.
Police have acknowledged the authority’s findings.
The driver, who was 21 at the time, was convicted of a number of offences in relation to the incident, including operating a motor vehicle recklessly, failing to stop for police and resisting police. — RNZ