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Canterbury Police accepts IPCA finding

Canterbury Police accepts IPCA finding

Canterbury Police accepts the finding of an IPCA report that an investigation into an assault by an off-duty Christchurch Police officer on a youth in 2011 was flawed.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles says he will be offering to meet with the victim and his family to apologise for the shortcomings in the way the complaint was handled.

"There is absolutely no question that the actions taken by the officer against the 17-year old victim were unacceptable.

"I also accept that in this case the young man and his family have been let down by a poor process," he says.

"We have taken careful note of the issues raised by the IPCA and have made sure these are reflected in improvements to our processes for dealing with complaints.

"We have already made changes to the way we handle investigations into officers as a result of this incident.

"As District Commander I now have a more direct involvement in cases such as these, and more careful consideration is given to the application of prosecution guidelines when deciding whether or not to take criminal action.

"I am confident that things would be handled differently now."

Superintendent Knowles says the Police member who undertook the internal investigation has been spoken to in relation to the issues raised by the IPCA.

"I believe the investigator and the then Acting District Commander acted with the best of intentions to ensure the matter was investigated appropriately.

"I am satisfied there was never any deliberate attempt to protect the officer or to minimise the seriousness of the offending.

"However the investigator made a judgement call to pursue an internal investigation rather a criminal prosecution, when a criminal investigation would have been the correct call.

"It is also apparent that there was some mis-communication with the victim's family, and that the family may not have understood the scope of the internal Code of Conduct investigation."

Superintendent Knowles says the officer at the centre of the allegations admitted striking the victim and has been subject to disciplinary action as a result of the internal Code of Conduct proceedings. He remains a serving officer.

The IPCA report notes that it would not be appropriate for any further proceedings to be taken against the officer, and Superintendent Knowles confirms no further action is anticipated.

END

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