Police chase ends in multiple charges

A 30-year-old man who was reported for “concerning driving” on Manly Beach on the evening of Friday, March 1, ended up facing a number of driving charges after allegedly failing to stop for Police.

The Police’s first attempt to stop the vehicle, which a spokesperson says did not include spiking it, failed when the driver fled.

A chase ensued, which witnesses say involved high speeds along Whangaparaoa Road and adjacent streets.

At one point while failing to stop, the fleeing vehicle allegedly reversed into a Police vehicle, a Police spokesperson says.

The incident ended when the driver crashed on Glengarry Avenue. No one was injured in the crash and the driver was taken into Police custody.

Police say they receive complaints, on occasion, about driver behaviour at local beaches. They encourage members of the public to report dangerous driving.

Meanwhile, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) recently released its report into a fleeing driver incident last year, where spikes were deployed near Puhoi.

On February 28, 2018, Police attempted to pull over a stolen Mazda Demio in Manurewa. The driver failed to stop and was seen driving erratically and at excessive speeds, running multiple red lights before heading north on State Highway 1. A Police officer who was heading south from Warkworth noted the fleeing driver was heading towards the Johnstone Hill tunnels near Puhoi, where the road becomes a single lane without a median barrier.

The officer was concerned about the potential safety risk that the fleeing driver might pose to other motorists on this section of road. The officer was given clearance to deploy road spikes and set up on the shoulder of State Highway 1 near the intersection of Billing Road, north of the tunnel exit.

The officer deployed the road spikes as the stolen vehicle approached, however these were deployed too soon and a Suzuki Swift travelling just ahead of the offending vehicle was also spiked.

The Swift was impacted by the offending vehicle, which continued for a short distance before it crashed. Police apprehended the two occupants.

The female driver of the Suzuki Swift was pregnant and taken to hospital. She was not seriously injured and was discharged the following day.

The IPCA report found that Police were justified in commencing the pursuit and that overall, they complied with policy during the pursuit.

The report also found that road spikes were an appropriate tactical option to stop the fleeing driver. However it states that the Police officer should not have deployed the spikes because they did not undertake an adequate risk assessment and failed to comply with Police policy.

Waitemata District Commander, Superintendent Naila Hassan, says Police accept the IPCA’s findings.

“Police have reviewed this matter to evaluate what learnings can be taken from this incident,” the Superintendent says. “An employment investigation was conducted and the officer subsequently received further training around the deployment of road spikes. We have also apologised to the victim and expressed regret over what has taken place, while also offering her victim support.”

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