26 Oct 2016

Police use of taser on Hokitika man 'unjustified'

1:19 pm on 26 October 2016

A police officer who tasered a man in Hokitika twice in 2015 used unjustified force, a report has found.

Close up of the back of a police officer wearing a vest.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The 37-year-old victim, who had a history of mental illness, was tasered twice when fleeing the police, after making threats against members of the public earlier in the evening.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority ruled that because the man was running away, the use of force was not in line with police policy.

It said tasering the man when he was face down on the ground was a disproportionate use of force.

In its report released today the authority also said another officer failed to provide appropriate care for the man by not calling a doctor.

It has recommended that police review their taser policy.

Tasman District Commander Karyn Malthus said in light of the authority's recommendation, a review of aspects of the taser policy was under way.

"Our officers were facing a volatile situation with an offender who was considered violent, unpredictable, was running from police and therefore was a risk to the public and police," said she said.

Ms Malthus said police accepted one officer was "in error in regard to the decision to use the taser a second time" and the other officers made mistakes in not providing sufficient medical care and reviewing the incident.

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