IPCA finds Tauranga Police officer used excessive force

By Te Kāea
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A Tauranga Police officer has been subject to disciplinary proceedings following the release of an Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report which found the officer had used excessive force on a 14 year old boy.

Two Ambulance Officers filed the complaint claiming the Police used excessive force on the boy while trying to restrain him.

According to the statement released by the IPCA, “on 25 August 2013 Police were notified that a 14-year-old boy had run away from Tauranga hospital. This was the second time the boy had run from the hospital that evening after he was admitted earlier that day following a suicide attempt that had caused injury to his wrist. The same Police officers who had located the boy earlier in the day were assigned to find him a second time. Just before 8pm the officers found the boy collapsed on Cameron Road. As a precaution they called an ambulance so the boy could be assessed before he was taken back to hospital. The two ambulance officers arrived and the Police officers accompanied the boy into the back of the ambulance for treatment. The ambulance officers complained to the Authority that excessive force was used by Police in restraining the boy.”

Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers said, “under the Mental Health Act the officers were justified in apprehending and detaining the boy. However, the actions of one of the Police officers escalated an already volatile situation and did not accord with good policing practice.”

According to the statement, the Authority noted that as a result of the Police investigation into this incident, the officer involved has been subject to disciplinary proceedings. However, due to the conflicting evidence the high threshold required for criminal prosecution was not met in this case.