Police response to IPCA report into use of force
Police response to IPCA report into use of force during Henderson arrest
Please attribute to Superintendent Tusha Penny, Waitemata District Commander:
Police acknowledge the findings from an Independent Police Conduct Authority report into the use of force during the arrest of an offender in Henderson last year.
We also note the authority found the arrest of the male, who had outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court, was forbidden from driving and in possession of methamphetamine, was justified.
On the evening of 4th March 2017, a Police officer witnessed a male riding a motorcycle in a dangerous manner and called for assistance from the Police eagle helicopter after losing sight of the vehicle.
The motorcycle was observed by eagle driving at speed down the wrong side of the road and directed the Police officer to an address where the motorcycle had parked and where the offender was attempting to hide from Police behind a fence.
The officer, who was alone at the time and fearing for his safety as he was unsure if the offender had a weapon, drew his taser and shone its laser sights on the offender, who was actively hiding from the Police officer in the dark.
The Police officer told the offender to come towards him and kneel on the ground.
It was at this time that the offender indicated to the Police officer while on the ground that he had active warrants for his arrest.
While the Police officer was calling for backup, the offender got up and ran away.
He ignored multiple warnings to stop or risk being tasered as he ran in the direction of the parked police car.
Fearing that the offender may try to get in the Police vehicle and flee the scene, the officer tasered the offender in the back.
The offender fell to the ground and hit his head, knocking him unconscious and received medical attention quickly after the incident.
The offender was charged with resisting Police, driving in a dangerous manner, possessing methamphetamine and failing to comply as an unlicensed driver.
He pled guilty in court where he was sentenced to two years intensive supervision, 200 hours community work and was disqualified from driving for six months.
Superintendent Tusha Penny says Police acknowledge the IPCA’s findings and accept that there were other options available to the Police officer.
“Our staff are put in dangerous situations everyday where they are forced to make split second decisions to protect both themselves and the community.
“Ultimately, if this offender had listened to the Police officer rather than attempting to run off and resist arrest, then this would have been resolved in a much simpler manner.
“Our officer made an assessment based on the information available to him at the scene and feared this offender was going to potentially put members of the public at risk, however we acknowledge that with hindsight, there were possibly other options available to the officer.
“It is always preferable that incidents of this nature can be resolved peacefully, however offenders can be unpredictable.
Our staff are trained to deal with a variety of situations however they don’t always get it exactly right but in the majority of cases they are making decisions, in good faith and with the best of intentions.
“As is standard procedure, an internal investigation was also conducted and as with any incident of this nature, lessons have been learnt and we continue to provide further tactical communications training to our staff,” says Superintendent Penny.
Police also acknowledge the IPCA’s finding that the officer should have provided first aid immediately after the offender was tasered.
We note, however, that the officer involved immediately called for an ambulance after discharging his taser and assisted the offender to ensure his safety as soon as back-up Police staff arrived around 70 seconds later.