A Mercedes-Benz driver pulled over and confronted at gunpoint by police in Hastings went into shock and repeatedly told a police officer to "f**k off''.
The driver, who was not who police were looking for, complained to the Independent Police Complaints Authority over the July 2018 incident. The driver said that he was not asked for relevant information in a respectful manner; "officer A" was aggressive and pointed a gun at him for a long period of time, the officers did not apologise, and he was not offered victim support after this incident.
In a report released on Tuesday, the IPCA found that police, who stopped the car because it was similar to a vehicle that had been stolen five days prior, were justified in stopping the vehicle but had subsequently erred in not reporting the search of the vehicle properly.
The report said on July 16, 2018, police received a report of a burglary at a house in Taradale, Napier. Information about the burglary and the items stolen, including a silver Mercedes-Benz and 10 firearms, were passed to all officers in the area.
Five days later, on July 21, police had not located the stolen Mercedes and firearms.
At about 1am, Officer A was "patrolling" in his police car in Hastings when responding to an incident, Officer A started driving with his emergency lights on.
As he was driving, he saw a car travelling in the opposite direction, which he thought matched the description of the stolen Mercedes.
The Mercedes stopped when lights flashed behind it, and Officer A parked about five to 10 metres behind it, slightly out to the right-hand side.
He armed himself with his Glock pistol, removing it from a locked box by the front passenger seat.
At about the same time the driver of the Mercedes, "Mr X", got out of his car.
Officer A got out of the Police car holding his pistol and stood behind the open driver's side door. Mr X was standing on the road. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Officer A was pointing his pistol at Mr X, or at the ground.
Officer A, as well as other officers who arrived shortly after, spoke with Mr X on the footpath beside the road. Police searched Mr X's car but did not find any firearms. Police established that it was not the stolen Mercedes they were searching for. An inspector arrived and spoke to Mr X, at which point he was allowed to leave.
Officer A subsequently served Mr X with an infringement notice alleging that Mr X had committed three traffic offences while driving the Mercedes.
Despite the incident leaving the driver shaken, no victim support assistance was offered - something which he also complained about. The IPCA, however, ruled that the incident was not one that would have led to such an offer.
Authority Chairman, Judge Colin Doherty said: "the authority accepts that any incident in which a firearm is drawn in the presence of a member of the public, whether aimed or not, would likely be distressing for that person".
Eastern District Commander, Superintendent Tania Kura said police agreed with the IPCA's decision that the officer's actions were appropriate and reasonable given the circumstances.
"I'd like to acknowledge the officer and his colleagues for their work that night.
"While on his way to another job, the officer observed a vehicle that closely matched the description of a car that had been stolen along with 10 firearms.
"As noted by the IPCA, the officer reasonably formed the belief that an incident involving the driver of the vehicle could be life-threatening, given the potential presence of a number of firearms.
"The officer astutely assessed the potential risks involved in stopping the vehicle and took the appropriate steps to protect himself and others from potentially serious harm."