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Police Acknowledge IPCA’s Findings Into Masterton Incident

Police acknowledge the Independent Police Conduct Authority’s findings that an incident in Masterton where officers entered a property to make an arrest was unlawful.

On the evening of 12 March 2019, six officers arrived at an address to arrest a man for an alleged breach of bail, burglary and assault.

The man refused to come outside, and officers witnessed the man retreating from the door.

The officers then became concerned the man was attempting to flee and entered the property to make an arrest, believing they had reasonable grounds within the law to do so without a warrant.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell says officers are often required to make split-second decisions to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

“Our own internal investigation determined the officers genuinely believed the person they sought would leave the address if they did not enter the property immediately, and had concerns about the ramifications this might have for other individuals if this happened.

“Our staff come to work each day to keep our communities safe, and we work constantly with our staff to ensure this is done safely and within the law.”

Police also acknowledge the IPCA’s findings into a separate incident in Dunedin in 2019, where officers entered and searched a man’s property without a warrant.

The IPCA ruled the officers did not have reasonable grounds to believe the man would leave the address to avoid arrest or would destroy, conceal, alter or damage evidence if entry was not affected immediately.

Police are working to issue a practice note nationally for staff to ensure the legal requirements for entering private property without a warrant are understood.

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