A Police officer who fired shots at an offender who drove his vehicle at him while trying to evade arrest has been found to have been justified in his actions by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA).
NZ Police today acknowledged the IPCA findings that the officer was legally justified and acting in self-defence in deciding to fire at the offender during the incident on January 31, 2019.
On the day of the incident, Police were notified that a man had fired multiple shots during an altercation with a person at a property on Potter Ave in Northcote. He then fled the scene in a vehicle, Police said in a statement today.
No-one was injured in the incident but the offender went on to drive extremely recklessly on the motorway, weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road and narrowly missing other motorists, Police said.
Knowing that the offender was putting himself and members of the public’s safety at great risk, a responding Police unit used their vehicle to try to block the offender’s car and bring it to a stop at an intersection on Great South Road.
The officer got out of his car and pointed his glock firearm towards the man, challenging him to surrender, but the man accelerated towards the officer from less than two metres away, Police said.
The officer was forced to move out of the way and fired three shots at the man in an attempt to stop him, fearing he would be run over.
The IPCA accepted the officer was justified in doing so in self defence and had no other tactical option available to protect himself or slow the vehicle.
The shots fired did not hit the offender and he was apprehended a short time later.
“This was an extremely volatile and dangerous situation where we had a person who was known to have used a firearm fleeing police, and he posed an extreme risk to the public on our roads,” said Waitematā District Commander, Superintendent Naila Hassan.
“This highlights the fast-moving, and often dangerous nature of Policing. Our staff go to work every day to keep the public safe, often putting themselves in harm’s way to do so.
“Police fully support the IPCA’s findings that he was justified in his actions.”
The offender was charged in relation to the incident and in October 2019 was sentenced to two years’ and three months’ imprisonment.
NZ Police said the officer involved remains a highly valued member of New Zealand Police.