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Police Accept IPCA Findings

Police accept the findings of the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), in relation to a fleeing driver incident that resulted in the death of Christchurch man Kenneth McCaul in October 2019.

The IPCA found that officers should not have initiated a pursuit of the fleeing driver, and that there were multiple occasions when the pursuit should have been abandoned.

“The death of Mr McCaul, an innocent member of the public, was an absolute tragedy which devastated his husband, family, friends and colleagues,” says Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price.

“I know that the coming week, marking the first anniversary of Mr McCaul’s death, will be an incredibly difficult time for his loved ones and my heart goes out to them.”

“The decision whether or not to pursue a fleeing driver is one of the most complex, difficult and serious decisions police staff face.

In this instance, the decisions made – both by the fleeing driver and by police staff - had the most tragic consequence,” says Superintendent Price.

In March 2019 Police and the IPCA released the thematic review Fleeing Drivers in New Zealand: A collaborative review of events, practices, and procedures.

The review made eight high level recommendations in relation to Police’s management of fleeing driver events, including improving how some of our staff conduct risk assessment, providing enhanced cognitive-based training for managing these complex and high-risk events, and improving communication between our frontline staff and communication centres.

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Progress towards implementing the recommendations from the review is published via quarterly reports, which are available on the Police website.

“One of the recommendations from the review was to research the motivation of fleeing drivers,” says Superintendent Price.

“Part of ensuring fleeing driver events are managed as safely as possible is us better understanding why they happen in the first place, and this work is ongoing.”

“But what we do know already is that whenever drivers flee from police, their actions can cause crashes that seriously injure or kill people.”

“I cannot reiterate this enough – when you are signalled to stop by police, please pull over immediately and stop.

Doing otherwise is not worth the risk to yourself, your passengers, and innocent members of the public like Mr McCaul.”

The driver in the fleeing vehicle, who was 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving and was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment.

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