Armed Offenders Squad commander 'unjustified' in speeding 58km/h over the limit to get to briefing, IPCA finds

The Independent Police Conduct Authority says there was "very little" evidence of immediate risk.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority says there was "very little" evidence of immediate risk. Photo credit: Getty

An Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) Commander was unjustified in speeding to attend a briefing, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found. 

On January 20 last year, the Commander was recorded going 158km/h in a 100 km/h zone with his lights and sirens activated after he called a briefing in preparation of a search warrant.

The search warrant was to be carried out at the Motueka home of Mr X - a violent man with a history of possessing methamphetamine and a shotgun police believed he intended to use.

The AOS Commander paged his fellow officers about the job and drove from Blenheim to Nelson for a briefing he had scheduled for 1:30pm.

He was recorded speeding by a police camera - as were several other officers, who were travelling at speeds between 120km/h and 130 km/h.

While police are allowed to speed when undertaking "urgent duty driving", the IPCA has ruled this case did not warrant excessive speed as it was "based on assumption and speculation".  

The Commander says he needed to get to Nelson quickly in order to prepare for the briefing and be close enough to respond if Mr X left his house. The other AOS officers also believed this was a critical incident, justifying their speeds.

However the report says there was "very little" evidence of serious or immediate risk, and therefore the Commander could have completed his preparation for the search warrant on the way to the house, if he had instructed one of his officers to drive for him. 

He was also found not to have provided his officers with enough information for them to have made their own decisions on whether to speed. 

Police completed their own investigation into the incident and decided the commander would not be charged with any speeding offence, but acknowledged he was unjustified and his actions brought police into disrepute.