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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police accepts an IPCA report that found officers had used reasonable force when restraining a person in Police custody who fell unconscious.

Police also acknowledges that there were several areas to improve in the decisions made by officers while managing the man referred to in the report as Mr X.

The man was known to be challenging to manage and presented a violent risk as well as a health risk. 

However, Police accepts the officers involved should have taken additional steps to ensure the health and safety of Mr X.

“Police’s use of force in this instance was found to be reasonable and officers involved gave Mr X medical attention as soon as they became aware that he was unwell,” says Canterbury District Commander, Superintendent John Price.

“Every day Police officers face difficult decisions and need to balance their own health and safety alongside the health and safety of those they are dealing with, and Mr X’s volatility will have been front of mind for officers making decisions around hygiene and dignity such as showering him and providing a change of clothes.

“However, we endeavour to treat every person we interact with in alignment with our values of respect and professionalism, regardless of who they are or what they may have done.

“We acknowledge that in this case officers didn’t meet the high standards of care we expect from them. We have reinforced custody suite training and will take the opportunity to learn from this incident and ensure it does not happen again.”

Police also acknowledges the IPCA’s finding that there was confusion over which agency was responsible for managing Mr X after he appeared in court and had been remanded into custody.

Since the incident Police and Corrections are continuing to work together to ensure the systems in place at the Te Omeka custodial suite are appropriate, clearly documented and understood by those working in the area.

Learnings from this incident will be considered as part of Police’s national custody review.


Issued by Police Media Centre