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Police Acknowledge IPCA Report Into Justified Use Of Force During Public Disorder

Police acknowledge the report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority which found that an officer was justified in using pepper spray during a public disorder incident in Kaitaia.

On 8 October 2022, Police were called to a fight outside the Awanui Hotel involving a crowd of about 80 people.

Three officers attempted to disperse the crowd, with one using pepper spray on a group of about five people who were refusing to leave.

The group then moved away, except one man who came towards the officer in an aggressive manner.

The officer pepper sprayed the man for a second time and then arrested him before giving him a formal warning for disorderly behaviour.

Following the incident, the man complained that the use of pepper spray was excessive and that he was not offered decontaminant treatment until they were back at the Police station.

Northland District Commander, Superintendent Matt Srhoj, says the officer used pepper spray because he feared for his own safety as well as those around him.

“The IPCA found the officer was justified in using this tactic in these circumstances.

“The man was provided treatment once back at the station, however we acknowledge we should have offered this sooner.

“As such, Police has recently distributed further guidance to Northland officers to provide aftercare as soon as possible following the use of pepper spray.

“I’m proud of our staff, who regularly put themselves in harm’s way to serve the communities they live in.”

The officer has since resigned from NZ Police for reasons unrelated to this incident.

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