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86-minute police chase 'sound': watchdog

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/05/2017

An 86-minute long police pursuit that spanned 70 kilometres in Napier was well handled by officers, the police watchdog says.

In a report released on Thursday, the Independent Police Conduct Authority said police twice abandoned the pursuit last year and laid spikes 16 times.

The chase started after the driver of a Toyota Hilux sped away when police tried to pull it over at about 11pm on March 7.

It was the next day by the time police had managed to deflate the ute's tyres with spikes and then use a box manoeuvre to surround and bring it to a halt.

"The fleeing driver and his passenger were both arrested at the scene," the IPCA said.

Police said the man was sentenced to three months' jail and disqualified from driving for half a year on a number of charges including reckless driving and possession of utensils for methamphetamine

The IPCA only faulted an officer who failed to contact central communications immediately after seeing the fleeing vehicle hit a parked car.

In a statement, police said they accepted better communication about that crash would have reduced "avoidable stress for the victim".

"Lessons will be learned from that aspect of the incident," Superintendent Sandra Venables said.

IPCA chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the watchdog had looked at the case because of its length and the number of spikes used.

"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 staff and frontline officers," he said.

The IPCA otherwise found police were justified in the pursuit and that the incident was well managed to limit the number of police cars involved.

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