4 May 2017

Driver caught up in pursuit not checked on - IPCA

2:21 pm on 4 May 2017

Police failed to check on a driver whose car was badly damaged when it was hit by another vehicle officers were pursuing, an investigation has found.

Police car in Wellington

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released its findings on the "unusual" pursuit of a stolen Toyota through Napier in March 2016.

The late-night pursuit, which lasted nearly and hour and a half, involved seven police cars, had to be abandoned twice, and used road spikes 16 times.

The authority found that the pursuit "generally complied" with police policy, but criticised some of the officers involved over their treatment of a driver whose car was hit during the pursuit.

The man's car sustained "substantial damage", and he and his passenger were uninjured but "very shaken", the authority said.

However none of the pursuing police cars stopped and the police communications centre was not informed, even though the lead police car was aware of the collision.

Even after police were informed, they did not attend the scene and did not visit the man and his family until late the next day.

"Officer A should have told [Central Communications] the Toyota had hit another car and either stopped himself or ensured that other officers were immediately dispatched to deal with the incident," the authority found.

Police said they accepted the officer should have notified other police about the crash straight away.

"Lessons would be learned" from that aspect of the pursuit which caused "avoidable stress for the victim", they said.