The sentencing of the man behind a 12-hour standoff in Napier, ended in chaos as 26-year-old Hemi Taylor had to be dragged out of the dock by court security. Now the Police Negotiation Team has revealed the full story of what happened in the early hours of June 25 on Alexander Ave, Onekawa.

The wanted man finally opens the door after nearly 12 hours of negotiation by phone.

He sees the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS), and police dog teams.

Hemi Taylor has a child with him. Not expecting to be confronted with quite such a reception, he refuses to submit to officers.

Advertisement

Concern for the safety of the child and Taylor's partner in the house means officers do not use other means to arrest him.

Taylor tells them: "I'm not coming with you, I want Pete, I want to speak to Pete."

Hemi Taylor at his sentencing. Photo / Warren Buckland
Hemi Taylor at his sentencing. Photo / Warren Buckland

*Pete (*not his real name) is off-site at another location but has been the one speaking with the man, building a rapport, convincing him to give himself up.

Taylor is a known methamphetamine user and wanted on violent weapons
charges. They need to tread carefully.

Pete is part of the PNT, specially trained in communication and influence tactics.

As Pete says, "It's our first option when we are trying to resolve a critical incident - communication is the first level of the tactical options available to us...It's where we start, and ultimately where we would like it to remain."

Members of PNT need to make that connection with people, and quickly, says national capability advisor Inspector Leairne Dow.

"Peoples' lives are in our hands, and this is what motivates the team," she says.

Advertisement

"Often these are people who are under levels of significant mental distress, perhaps also under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our people need to find a level on which to connect with someone in order to bring a situation to a safe conclusion."

Commander Hawke's Bay Police Negotiation Team, Sergeant Marie Marshall, Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland
Commander Hawke's Bay Police Negotiation Team, Sergeant Marie Marshall, Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland

PNT staff have a crucial role to play at the front end – often helping ensure that those
other tactical options aren't needed.

Their role is to change behaviour.

"Often people think this is about talking, but it's about listening intently to what people are saying and what they are not saying," Dow said.

"We need to build that rapport with people, and this can take a lot of time and patience."

Pete was heading home from work when he got a call about the wanted man.

He met with the Senior Sergeant and the Special Tactics Group commander, and put a plan in place.

It involved a careful assessment of not only the situation but the people involved.

Pete was in the command base and ultimately the one responsible for talking with the man.

With no landline phone at the address, another negotiator at the scene used a special one-directional speaker outside the property, instructing him to pick up a cellphone from the front steps, and speak with Pete that way.

"You lose track of time. I was called every name under the sun…it's perseverance and trying to understand where that person is coming from.

"At one stage he said 'yep I'll come out'," Pete recalls, "and he came out. He had his child and partner with him.

"He came out, and for some reason wasn't happy with the staff who were outside the property.

"So it was about trying to get that rapport and trust back. He said something like 'well if you're the one asking me, why don't you come down here'?''

At the scene of the 12-hour standoff with Hemi Taylor. Photo / Warren Buckland
At the scene of the 12-hour standoff with Hemi Taylor. Photo / Warren Buckland

So Pete swapped places with the negotiator at the scene and was able to help
bring the man safely into custody.

"It just comes down to helping people when they're in that time of crisis."

They have other "day job" roles within the police and operate on an on-call system. They work alongside a number of different areas, such as Search and Rescue.

PNT is always deployed to an emergency callout with AOS and frequently on jobs which are pre-planned arrest warrants or searches.

In Pete's police district, this financial year has been a busy one, with PNT being called on about once a week.

While the work of PNT often goes unnoticed by the general public, their role is crucial in ensuring safe resolutions for dynamic situations and minimising the need for further force to be used.

"Police are proud of the work members of PNT undertake and the critical
role they play in keeping people safe," said Dow.

On August 27, Taylor, who previously pled guilty to charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and discharging a firearm related to the standoff was sentenced to two years and five months for possession and 18 months for discharging the firearm, to be served concurrently.