A man died after a police officer ignored concerns about his welfare, an Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report reveals.

His body was found the day after a member of the public approached a police officer at a Hawke's Bay petrol station and told him there was a very drunk man nearby.

The officer was dispatched to a family harm incident mid-conversation and never took any action over the man who appeared drunk, despite an earlier report of concerns about the man.

"Although there was no apparent urgency and the identity of the intoxicated man was not known, the officer notified should have checked his welfare, or notified the Police Communications Centre for checks to be conducted by another unit," a police review found.


Police had been called to deal with the same man earlier that day - May 11 this year - after they were told he was suicidal and intended to harm himself.

On that occasion, officers took him to Hawke's Bay Hospital, but the man went home before seeing a psychiatrist.

Police officers then visited his home at about 2.40pm and arrangements were made for him to be seen by mental health professionals at home.

The National Poisons Centre contacted police an hour and a half later, saying someone had called them after drinking a substance.

Police searched for the caller after identifying the area where the call was made, but could not find him.

The next morning, a body was found in the same area where the "drunk" man had been.

It was identified as the same man who had been taken to hospital the previous day. A mostly-empty bottle of a substance and the cellphone used to call the poisons centre were found at his home.

The ICPA agreed with a police practice review finding that the officer at the petrol station should have taken action when told about the drunk man.


Police dealings with the man earlier in the day were appropriate, both reviews concluded.