4 May 2017
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Napier Police staff involved in a 70 kilometre pursuit that commenced on 7 March 2016 generally complied with Police policy.
The pursuit began at about 11.06pm when an officer signalled the driver of a Toyota Hilux to stop and the driver accelerated away.
During the 86 minute pursuit, Police abandoned the pursuit twice and laid road spikes on the road on about 16 occasions. About 14 minutes into the pursuit the fleeing driver collided with a vehicle that had pulled over and stopped at the side of the road.
Due to the successful use of road spikes to systematically deflate the Toyota’s tyres, the Toyota was travelling at a speed of 30kph or less for the last half of the pursuit.
The pursuit came to an end at 12.32am on 8 March when officers used their own vehicles to box in the slow moving Toyota causing it to stop. The fleeing driver and his passenger were both arrested at the scene.
Police notified the Authority of the pursuit due to its duration and the amount of times that road spikes were used.
Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers said: “This was an unusual pursuit that covered a significant distance within a narrowly defined area. Whilst there was a high use of road spikes, these were well coordinated by Police central communications centre (CentComms) staff and frontline officers.”
Police were justified in commencing the pursuit of the Toyota. The incident was well managed by CentComms who sought to limit the number of Police vehicles involved, manage risk and position other units so that road spikes could be used.
The communications provided by the frontline officers to CentComms was regular and detailed. However, the only officer who saw the Toyota crash into the parked car should have informed CentComms immediately so that the victim of the crash, and his family, could have been dealt with in a timely way.