9 May 2013

IPCA says pursuit justified, but flaws in procedures

9:37 pm on 9 May 2013

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Authority into three deaths following a pursuit in Gisborne has found it was justified, but there were shortcomings in police procedures.

In 2012, a car driven by 28-year-old Dylan James Kingi crashed on Nelson Road after the pursuit had ended. He died at the scene with passengers Peter John Bunyan and Holly Kay Gunn.

The officer lost sight of his car and ended the pursuit after following the wrong vehicle, before Mr Kingi's Mitsubishi failed to take a bend and crashed into a power pole.

The IPCA report found that the officer's speed of 127km/h in a 50km/h zone was excessive. However, it said the dispatcher mistakenly thought that the pursuit was taking place in a 100km/h zone, so did not call it off.

The report also found the officer did not comply with police policy on siren use and reporting speed limits. The officer was alone in the patrol car and driving with one hand at times while operating a radio.

The IPCA recommends that police continue to rollout hands-free technology for all operational police vehicles.

Eastern district commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle said on Thursday that police accept the watchdog's findings and have reinforced the policy on pursuits to staff.

He said the officer concerned has been given refresher training on pursuits and been recertified. The communications centre is reviewing its practices for handling control of fleeing drivers.

However, Mr Hoyle said Dylan James Kingi was well over the drink-drive limit that night, had four previous convictions for drink-driving and was driving without a licence.