Otago Daily Times

Pur­suit jus­ti­fied: IPCA

- Crime · Incidents · Christchurch · Police brutality

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

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