Some failings in David Cerven shooting - IPCA

David Cerven (Supplied)
David Cerven (Supplied)

Police were justified in shooting dead a Slovakian man in a central Auckland park, but they were found to have created the situation themselves.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released its report into the August 2015 shooting of David Cerven, who police had suspected was involved in three aggravated robberies.

Mr Cerven died at the scene.

About 25 minutes before he was shot on August 2, Mr Cerven called police to tell them to meet him at Myers Park in the CBD to talk about the robberies.

The first four officers who went to the park were unarmed and began talking to him. However, Mr Cerven didn't follow their instructions to come down from the hill he was on, show his hands or lie on the ground.

He then told officers he had a gun.

Two armed officers entered the park, their firearms ready to use, and approached Mr Cerven, yelling at him to get on the ground. Mr Cerven didn't comply.

"Instead, he took his hands out of his pockets and appeared to clasp them together, making it look like he had a firearm in his hands. Both officers simultaneously fired a number of shots at Mr Cerven, who died at the scene," the report says.

IPCA chair Sir David Carruthers says police "believed Mr Cerven had a gun, feared for their lives and in the circumstances, according to law and police policy, were justified in shooting him".

But he says the two officers' focus was on the risk Mr Cerven posed to the unarmed officers rather than "a complete assessment of the situation".

"In acting as they did, the two officers did not give sufficient weight to the risk members of the public were exposed to, or whether it was necessary to immediately engage Mr Cerven."

Sir David says instead, they could have:

Moved closer to Mr Cerven and covered the unarmed officers while they continued to talk to him and tried to negotiate his surrender

Take over negotiations from the unarmed officers

Delay the arrest of Mr Cerven by continuing with negotiations until the park could be properly cordoned and Mr Cerven contained

Finding out whether AOS was going to be, or had been, called.

The two officers didn't tell the communications centre what they were planning to do either.

In failing to do that, it meant the communications centre or the four officers didn't know what was going to happen and it wasn't approved by the dispatcher.

"As the four other officers were unaware of the plan, they had limited time to retreat and take cover."

Auckland City District Commander, Superintendent Richard Chambers says while the officers used their training in a "highly volatile, challenging and fast-moving situation", Mr Cerven's death "was not what anyone wanted".

He says the IPCA findings are consistent with a police criminal investigation. A coronial inquest is still to take place.

Police say they've kept in contact with Mr Cerven's family in Slovakia during the investigation.

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