Police response to IPCA report following pursuit in Auckland

Police response to IPCA report following pursuit in Auckland

Auckland City

Police acknowledge the findings by the Independent Police Conduct Authority that a second pursuit of an offender, who had cut off his home detention bracelet and was believed to be in possession of a firearm, should not have been commenced.

In April, 2016, a warrant was issued for Alaric Eccleston after he cut off his home detention bracelet. Despite actively searching for him, Police were unable to locate him.

On 8 September 2016 Police were alerted by Alaric’s former partner that he had just been at her address in Orewa taking off with cash and her vehicle. We also had information that he was possibly in possession of a sawn-off shotgun, was using methamphetamine and actively involved in violent offences, including robberies.

The vehicle was spotted by a Police officer a short time later on the Northern Motorway. When it was safe to do so a pursuit was initiated but abandoned a short time later due to the dangerous driving by Alaric who hit two Police cars which attempted to block him. The IPCA found that this pursuit was conducted in accordance with Police policy.

Eagle took over for some time following the vehicle as it moved through Auckland into Mt Albert however it pulled out to refuel. Police staff in both Waitemata and Auckland City were listening to the Police radio and positioning themselves as appropriate as the offending vehicle continued on the North-Western Motorway.

A second pursuit was initiated when Police considered it was safe to do so as the vehicle was heading back towards the North Shore. The offending vehicle then stopped on the peak of the Harbour Bridge, Alaric got out of the car and jumped off the bridge.

Police immediately called for Deodar who were on the scene in less than four minutes however Alaric did not survive.

Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus says we acknowledge that we had a number of vehicles pursuing the offender and that this was not in line with our policy. Police were concerned that Alaric was heading back to his ex-partner’s house and knowing that he had a violent history and was believed to be in possession of a firearm they wanted to do everything they could to safely apprehend him and keep his ex-partner safe.

“Every single staff member who was involved in the pursuit had the best intentions and this was a very fluid and complex pursuit. Our staff encounter dangerous situations everyday where they are forced to make quick decisions to protect both themselves and our community. A number of staff across Auckland were hearing what was happening on the Police radio and were all doing everything they could to help one other to apprehend a dangerous offender who they believed to be unpredictable, and a risk to members of our community, and in particular his ex-partner.”

“This incident had a tragic outcome and we acknowledge that there were things we could have managed better in the pursuit. An internal review has already been undertaken.” says Supt. Malthus.

Shelley Nahr/NZ Police