15 May 2019

Police should have charged cop who drove 160kmh - IPCA

10:39 am on 15 May 2019

An officer who sped through an 80km/h zone after a fleeing driver should have been charged, the police watchdog says.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) investigated the manner of driving by an officer after the pursuit was abandoned in Auckland in August 2017.

Its decision said the officer drove at more than 160km/h, despite the police helicopter being able to monitor the pursuit.

An employment investigation disciplined the officer for continuing the pursuit when the risk was too high.

The authority disagreed with a police decision and said a criminal investigation was warranted in the circumstances.

In a similar decision earlier this month, the authority also found a criminal investigation was warranted for an officer who drive at speed in a 50km/h zone.

Its decision said the officer witnessed a fleeing driver cut a corner, the officer started after the driver and reported that while in the 50km/h zone the police car reached 130km/h.

"The fleeing driver drove through an intersection on a red light and collided with a member of the public's vehicle going through the intersection on a green light.

"The impact overturned that vehicle and both occupants received minor injuries. The fleeing driver crashed into a hedge shortly afterwards."

The authority said a police employment investigation found the officer, who was required to undergo training and disciplined for the actions, drove at more than 100km/h.

The IPCA said there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction for dangerous driving and prosecution was in the public interest.

Authority members disagreed with the police decision not to charge the officer with dangerous driving.

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