The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that police had lawful grounds to detain a family during a search in Auckland.
However, the length of time the family was held was unreasonable and the manner of their detention was unlawful.
In the early hours of February 9, 2019, police were advised of a robbery, involving a firearm, at a bar in Pakuranga.
They were subsequently made aware of an attempted car theft in a nearby neighbourhood.
Soon after, the police helicopter noticed two males, one of whom had a firearm, and two females in the backyard of a house across the road from the site of the alleged car theft.
The Armed Offender Squad was deployed. They called four family members out of the house and detained them. They eventually established that the family had not been involved in the robbery.
However, one of the family members had seen someone run through their backyard and had gone outside with the firearm to see if anyone was there.
The Authority found police had lawful grounds to detain the family. However, being held for lengths of time ranging between approximately an hour and 13 minutes, to an hour and 48 minutes was unreasonable. Additionally, placing the family in the back of police cars was unlawful.
“They should have been detained on the premises. We were also concerned as to the treatment of the mother and daughter,” said Authority chair Judge Colin Doherty.
“Police did not take immediate, active steps to determine whether or not the family had been involved in the robbery. The delay in doing so and length of time they were held, was unreasonable. Additionally, the manner of detention was unlawful.
“We were also concerned as to the treatment of the mother and daughter. Having been roused from their beds, they were not properly clothed and were not offered anything with which to cover themselves.”