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Police accept report findings

Police accept report findings


Police accept the findings of today's Independent Police Conduct Authority report into a fatal fleeing driver incident in Christchurch early last year, and say the tragedy would have been avoided had the driver chosen to stop.

The Authority found Police were justified in pursuing forbidden driver Fabian Jesse Mika, 25, following an alleged aggravated robbery in Christchurch on 22 February 2013, but that the pursuit should have been abandoned earlier when he began driving at high speed on the wrong side of the road.

The Authority however found the subsequent fatal crash was caused by Mr Mika.

After Police abandoned the five and a half minute pursuit, Mr Mika increased his speed prior to crashing, causing the death of a 15-year-old passenger, and injuring other passengers. One of the surviving passengers estimated the vehicle had reached speeds of up to 150km/h before just before the crash.

Canterbury District Commander, Superintendent Gary Knowles, said Police accepted the Authority's findings that the pursuit should have been abandoned earlier.

"Police accepts that while some aspects of the pursuit were ultimately found to be unreasonable and unjustified, the crash was clearly caused by Mr Mika, who ignored all reasonable requests to stop, resulting in the tragic death of one passenger and injuries to others."

Superintendent Knowles said Police also accepted the IPCA's recommendation relating to strengthening the Police fleeing driver policy. Work was ongoing with the Authority to ensure the policy captured lessons learnt from all such incidents.

"Fleeing driver incidents are among the most challenging situations that Police face. They are fast-moving, unpredictable, high pressure situations that require quick decisions and the public expect us to get it right. We take that responsibility very seriously and are always looking for ways to manage these difficult situations more effectively.

"However, the decisions made by those who choose to ignore their own safety and that of everyone else's to evade Police also play a significant role in these situations, which in this instance has ended with the needless loss of a young person’s life.

"Police face the challenge of maintaining a balance between keeping the public safe while upholding the law. That doesn’t include handing the roads over to those who think they can do as they like and put other innocent road users at risk."

ENDS

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