Smoko break enables escape

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 17:24 13/12/2013

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A man escaped from the Dunedin central police station during a cigarette break when a staff member went through a security gate that was usually locked.

After the escape on Wednesday last week, police described Tolu Maanaiama, 27, as potentially dangerous. He was recaptured later the same day "without incident".

Inspector Greg Sparrow, the area commander for the Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki area, said Maanaiama had been in the company of a staff member in a locked yard at the back of the police station, where he had been taken to have a cigarette.

"The man took an opportunistic decision to escape when another staff member exited through a security gate that is always locked unless in use," Sparrow said.

A review of the incident would consider whether it was appropriate protocol for Maanaiama to have been taken to the yard to have a cigarette.

"It goes without saying that the security of prisoners is critical. We are reviewing this incident to make sure we do what we can to avoid it happening again."

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