Police have acknowledged the findings of an Independent Police Conduct Authority report into the fatal shooting of Tangaru-Noere Turia in 2021.
On 25 February 2021, Police responded to a firearms incident in Papatoetoe where a shot had been discharged through a family’s living room. It had also been reported the subject of the report had earlier been seen carrying a firearm.
Responding staff became aware the occupant of the address was on active charges including firearms offences.
After cordoning and containing the address, Police observed Mr Turia handling his firearm on numerous occasions and made numerous attempts to engage with him.
When Mr Turia emerged from inside the address carrying his firearm, an Armed Offenders Squad member called on him to drop his firearm and soon after shot him.
First aid was provided at the scene, but Mr Turia later died from his injuries at Middlemore Hospital.
A thorough investigation was undertaken into the incident which determined there was insufficient evidence to support laying a criminal charge. This was further supported by legal advice provided by the Crown Solicitor, said Police.
While acknowledging this outcome, the IPCA found in its report that the Police conduct in shooting Mr Turia was unjustified.
Police note this finding and the Authority’s wider ranging commentary on issues surrounding the use of lethal force.
Assistant Commissioner Sam Hoyle says the report highlights a need for greater clarity in Police policy and training about thresholds for the use of such force.
“Our staff respond to a wide range of fast-changing incidents in any given day. Many of these involve a very real risk to the public and can require split-second decision making.
“Staff are well trained to respond to these sorts of incidents, and it is important they have all the tools, including robust policy and the appropriate legislative framework, so that they can be backed to keep our communities safe.”
A review of training and policy relating to the use of lethal force will be undertaken to ensure staff are adequately equipped to make decisions.
“In reflecting on the Authority’s commentary, we note that there is a risk that officers will feel unable to act in situations if they fear they will be too finely judged.
“It is also important to point out the Courts have been reluctant to apply too fine a judgement to decision-making around the use of force in defence of self or another person.”
Police do not consider that an employment investigation in this case would lead to a different outcome to the criminal investigation.
Assistant Commissioner Hoyle says Police staff take any incident surrounding the presence or use of firearms in our communities incredibly seriously.
Police acknowledge further findings of the IPCA’s report, including that the initial response to the unfolding incident was well managed, but further consideration should have been given to evacuating or notifying neighbours.
- An IPCA report finds Police officer not justified in shooting Tangaru-Noere Turia
- A criminal investigation and legal advice found insufficient evidence to support charges
- The Authority’s report raises a range of issues requiring clarification for officers in situations where lethal force is required to defend themselves or others
- Police commit to undertaking a review of training and internal policy around the use of lethal force