TODAY |

Police defend actions in Whangārei arrest, after footage emerged online of police dog biting alleged offender


Police have defended the actions of officers during an arrest on Sunday where a man was bitten by a police dog in Whangārei.

A Police car at the scene of an investigation. Source: 1 NEWS

Footage of the final moments of the incident were posted online, showing a man screaming in pain as he is bitten by a police dog while attempting to flee police.

This evening, police released a statement outlining their version of events.

"In the early hours of Sunday 17th November, a Police dog handler was pro-actively patrolling in known areas where there is currently an increased risk of crime.

"At around 3am, the officer spotted a suspicious vehicle in Otangarei and signalled for the vehicle to pull over.

"The driver of the Audi vehicle allegedly failed to stop for Police and a short pursuit commenced.

"The vehicle came to a stop a short time later on William Jones Drive and the officer was able to block the Audi with his Police vehicle.

"The officer, who was alone at the time, requested back up and approached the vehicle, however the two occupants refused orders to exit the vehicle.

"The occupants appeared to be reaching for weapons inside the vehicle and the officer subsequently used pepper spray on the two men," the release reads.

Another officer arrived at the scene and the passenger was arrested. However, police say the driver resisted arrest and then fled causing a chase to ensue.

"The alleged offender was apprehended by the dog handler with the assistance of their Police dog, who bit the man’s arm, however he continued to resist arrest while on the ground.

"Once the alleged offender was safely apprehended, immediate medical assistance was given to him for treatment for dog bites.

"A search of the vehicle at the scene by police allegedly uncovered a quantity of methamphetamine and weapons including a machete," the statement continues.

Police say the alleged driver, a 31-year-old male who had an active warrant for his arrest, was charged with a number of offences including failing to stop, driving while disqualified, refusing to give blood specimen and possession of an offensive weapon.

He is due to appear in the Whangārei District Court tomorrow.

A 28-year-old man is next due to appear in the Whangārei District Court on November 25 facing methamphetamine charges as well as possession of an offensive weapon.

Acting Inspector Rob Huys supports the action taken by the officers involved in the arrest.

"This was a volatile, unpredictable situation involving an offender who allegedly possessed a weapon, displayed concerning behaviour and attempted to flee from Police in his vehicle and then again on foot.

“The officer did what was necessary to successfully apprehend the alleged offender with the assistance of his police dog and I applaud him for his actions at the scene.

“As is often the case, the footage on social media only shows a small part of the entire incident and doesn’t illustrate the alleged offender’s actions before being apprehended, nor does it show the risk faced by our officer at the scene."