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Officers' actions 'irresponsible': IPCA

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016

The actions of two officers during a car chase in 2015 have been reviewed by a police watchdog.

On August 13 2015, two plain clothed police officers in an unmarked car began the pursuit of a Mazda with three people inside.

The teens, two girls and a boy, were suspects in a series of crimes.

The chase lasted about 20 minutes, and the 16-year-old male driver went on the wrong side of the road several times, as well as driving the wrong way on the motorway.

Several officers, police cars, and a police helicopter were involved in the chase, and some officers abandoned the pursuit multiple times.

However, two of the officers continued to follow the fleeing vehicle.

Superintendent John Tims, district commander of Counties Manukau Police, said though the officers were right to begin the pursuit, their subsequent behaviour didn't comply with policy.

Fleeing driver policy states public and staff safety takes precedence over the immediate apprehension of the offender , and the two officers "repeatedly disregarded the policy, and the directions of the pursuit controller."

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) said the actions of the two officers were irresponsible, and showed extremely poor judgement.

"The apprehension of [the occupants of the vehicle] could not be justified when balanced against the mounting risks of this particular pursuit."

The findings of this report will be used by police to figure out appropriate disciplinary actions.

"While there was no death and or injury as a result of this incident, we still investigate any matter which may display a departure from police policy," Supt Tims said.

Fleeing driver policy has been revised since this incident.

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