Kapiti Mana Police say their response to an armed call-out in Cannons Creek on Tuesday night was appropriate given that two members of the public had been directly threatened with what they believed to be a firearm.
The call-out, which resulted in a 38-year-old man being admitted to Hutt Hospital for treatment to police dog bites on one arm, happened at 9.45pm after a call from two of the manâ€™s neighbours.
The incident has been reported to the Police Complaints Authority in line with standard procedure when a member of the public has been injured during a police operation.
Detective Senior Sergeant Oxnam says he canâ€™t provide too much detail as the man is likely to face court charges.
"However the complainants were frightened for their safety and the potential safety of others. Local police and the Armed Offenders Squad responded to their call as we would in any call where there was a suggestion firearms were involved.
"Itâ€™s potentially fatal for the safety of the public, an offender and police to decide whether or not a firearm is genuine or an imitation until police have taken possession of the weapon.
"The complainants believed it to be a genuine firearm and it was only after the man was subdued that police established the weapon was an imitation pistol."
Detective Senior Sergeant Oxnam says police were aware on the night that the man had a hearing and or speech impedient but there were varying reports on the degree of this disability, given that he had been able to have some interaction with a police officer in recent weeks.
"The situation facing us two nights ago was that a man was armed, had threatened two people, was capable of violence, alcohol was involved and he was in a block of flats in which other people were living, some of whom did not want to evacuate the complex," Detective Senior Sergeant Oxnam says.
"The range of tactical options were carefully considered. Police made repeated efforts to get a response from the man including loud verbal appeals, knocking on the door and continuing the appeals once the door was forced open.
"We were unable to see him or rouse him. The use of two police dogs is an accepted tactic to effectively apprehend an armed offender with least possible risk to police staff and members of the public."
Detective Senior Sergeant Oxnam stressed that both police and the public believed the man was armed and that he had demonstrated a threat to two people with that weapon.