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Southern Police accepts IPCA findings into historic crash

Southern Police accepts IPCA findings into historic crash

Southern District Police accepts the findings of an IPCA report on its investigations into a vehicle crash involving a former police officer and a civilian that occurred nine years ago on a rural road near Alexandra.

The report relates to a collision involving a police utility driven by former senior constable, Neil Ford, and a car driven by 17-year-old Shane Cribb on 14 July 2005 on Earnscleugh Road, Central Otago.

The IPCA found that there were multiple failings in the way the crash scene was initially managed by Police and in its ongoing investigations, which enabled the criminal conduct of two former police officers to go undetected. However, the authority found no evidence of a conspiracy among officers overseeing the investigation.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Andrew Coster says police acknowledge that there were several levels of failure at the time in the way the crash was initially managed and during the investigations that followed, which led to the wrongful conviction of Mr Cribb.

"The Police failures led to serious consequences for Mr Cribb, who was wrongly blamed and then convicted for causing the crash. Police let Mr Cribb down badly, and to go some way to resolving this, we have apologised to him and provided compensation.

"Police accept that without the persistence of those members of the public who supported Mr Cribb, Police would not have reinvestigated the case to uncover the truth about how the crash occurred.

"We also acknowledge that a number of poor decisions were made and that there was inadequate supervision and leadership in relation to this event. This was further compounded by an unacceptable lack of action over time," Superintendent Coster said. "It goes without saying that staff involved could have done many things better, and lessons have been learnt since then."

However, he says the events occurred nine years ago and there have been many changes in local policing since that time.

"Police staff in the community where this incident occurred have worked hard to repair and strengthen relationships. Today, nine years later, we have many excellent and dedicated staff based in Alexandra who serve their community every day with professionalism and integrity."

The Authority also noted that Police has improved its supervision and peer review processes since the incident.


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