Officer praised for control of violence

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 15/07/2014

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Police are praising the actions of a Central Otago constable who brought down a violent 21-year-old man in Ranfurly.

Acting response manager Sergeant Simon Paget said the sole-charge constable was called to a rural property on the outskirts of Ranfurly about 10am on Sunday after receiving reports of a man allegedly smashing up the property.

Two men and a woman were at the property. "The officer was met by an aggressive and unco-operative man who fled back into the address when the officer attempted to arrest him."

The officer was told the man had discharged a firearm and, consequently, he withdrew from the scene to wait for police backup, Paget said.

However, he was then approached by a man who advanced on him and threatened him with a steel bar. The officer drew his Taser and the man dropped the bar and complied with instructions. But when the officer moved to handcuff the man, he resisted violently.

"After a lengthy struggle, the officer was able to bring the offender under control and arrest him," Paget said. "Full credit goes to the constable, who, when faced with a dangerous situation and a motivated offender, selected the appropriate tactical option and effected the arrest without injury to either party."

The man had been charged with wilful damage, discharging a firearm near a dwelling, unlawfully possessing a firearm, assaulting police with a weapon, resisting arrest and escaping custody.

Otago rural area commander Inspector Andrew Burns said Ranfurly had been a sole-charge station since the 1990s.

"Staff in these areas have tactical options training that they use when confronted with situations like this to ensure the safety of all involved. In this incident, the officer followed the correct response procedure, including a risk assessment."

The closest police officer was based at Omakau, but there were several avenues of assistance, including highway patrol staff, rural drink-drive staff, the wider Central Otago policing team and a constable at Middlemarch, Burns said.

Backup officers from Alexandra were sent to the Ranfurly incident, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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