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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police acknowledges and accepts the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) findings into the death of Joel Buckley.

Mr Buckley died in Hamilton after being fatally shot by Police on 14 July 2021.

Police received information via a phone call to the Emergency Communications Centre on 9 July 2021 advising Mr Buckley had made threats against others and was the owner of firearms.

On 12 July 2021 Hamilton Police visited Mr Buckley’s former partner to obtain further relevant information. Police continued to gather information from his former partner over the next two days.

On 14 July Mr Buckley became aware of the Police inquiries. A further risk assessment determined he should be located and arrested that day.   

On the evening of 14 July, Police staff, following a pre-prepared arrest plan, went to locate Mr Buckley at his home.

Mr Buckley arrived in his vehicle, and after a confrontation with Police, shots were exchanged between Police and Mr Buckley. Mr Buckley received gunshot injuries and died at the scene.

The IPCA found Police were justified in deciding to shoot at Mr Buckley to protect themselves and others. Police agree with this finding.

“This was a challenging and high-stress situation and Mr Buckley’s death was an outcome that no one wanted,” says Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird.

The IPCA made a further four findings in its report which are addressed below:

Finding One: Incorrect coding of calls made to Police on 9 July 2021 and Finding Two: Police failed to attend in a timely manner:

Police accepts these findings.

The Emergency Communication Centre employees directly involved were spoken with and the need to seek supervisory advice on how to code an event if unsure has been reinforced.

Further to this, all Emergency Communication Centre employees have been reminded of the responsibility to recode events if they identify a more appropriate code based on information received.

Police also accepts an outcome of the matter being initially incorrectly coded meant Hamilton Police staff did not begin making inquiries in the expected time frame.

Finding Three: Police returned two rifles to Mr Buckley and Finding Four: Investigation as to whether Mr Buckley was a fit and proper person:

Police acknowledges the IPCA’s findings in relation to the return of the two firearms.

“We have further work to do to understand the full circumstances which led to the return of these firearms,” says Director Operations, Arms Safety and Control, Superintendent Richard Wilson.

“Police does accept the IPCA’s overall findings in relation to firearms licensing, and in this instance, we did not act on information available to us about his suitability.

“A significant range of changes have since been implemented following the Arms Act reforms and further improvement work continues as part of ongoing investment in the firearms regulatory system, to ensure it is fit for purpose. These include a more thorough licensing application process for new and renewal licences and the establishment of the National Compliance Team to support early identification and intervention of existing firearms license holders who come to police attention.”


Issued by Police Media Centre