NZ Police today acknowledged the findings of an Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report about the use of a Police dog in a stolen car case last year but say they disagree with the Authority’s assessment of the situation.
In August 2021, a Police dog assisted with the apprehension of a young person following a fleeing driver incident involving a stolen vehicle.
The stolen vehicle was abandoned, with Police staff, including a dog handler, deployed to the area in an effort to locate those responsible.
The young person was located but ignored repeated requests by the handler to surrender and continued to run from Police.
A Police dog was deployed, resulting in the arrest of the young person.
The IPCA found the use of a Police dog was unjustified.
“Police acknowledge the finding, however disagree with the Authority’s assessment of the overall situation,” said Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers.
“The handler considered the circumstances and risks prior to making the decision to deploy the Police dog, including the likelihood of the persons not being held accountable for their criminal behaviour and the likelihood they would reoffend.
“Those involved were given ample opportunity to surrender after being challenged by Police and failed to do so. The young persons were in a stolen vehicle, had failed to stop and were driving dangerously, creating considerable risk to the public.”
Police believe the dog handler was justified in deploying the Police dog given the circumstances.
“The IPCA’s report also found the dog handler likely used derogatory language towards one of the young people, which Police accept,” said Asst Commissioner Chambers.
For privacy reasons, Police are unable to comment further on where the incident occurred.