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IPCA finding into Blenheim pursuit welcomed

IPCA finding into Blenheim pursuit welcomed

Tasman Police District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles has welcomed the Independent Police Conduct Authority finding into a pursuit in Blenheim in March 2010.

About 9.45pm on Friday 19 March 2010 Frances Carol Stubbs, aged 20, had been stopped at an alcohol checkpoint in Alfred St, Blenheim. After an initial breath test indicated she had consumed alcohol, Stubbs was asked to pull over to the side of the road to undergo further breath testing.

Stubbs did not comply with that request and took off. The Police Officer involved pursued Stubbs in his patrol car.

Soon after Stubbs was involved in a collision with a car being driven by Penelope Rae Phillips, aged 51. Mrs Phillips died at the scene of the accident.

The IPCA report stated the Police pursuit lasted about 15 seconds, reaching speeds of 70-80kmh in a 50kmh zone and that the Officer involved complied with the law and Police policy.

The Officer held a gold licence and was driving a category B patrol car.

Superintendent Knowles said the IPCA had also addressed the question raised by the families of both the victim and the offender as to why the Officer had not removed the keys from Stubbs' car before conducting the breath test.

"The Officer had no legal authority to remove Stubbs' keys and I would not expect him to do so. The officer had not had the opportunity to conduct an evidential breath test so did not know whether Stubbs had broken the law.

"I have complete confidence my Officer conducted his duties in a professional and appropriate manner and I am pleased the IPCA supports this view," Superintendent Knowles said.


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