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A police officer has been charged with assault following an incident before Christmas when he used his baton while allegedly under attack.
The officer has been stood down from duty on full pay while the matter is before the courts.
It is understood he attended an incident in Lower Hutt on his own and used his police-issue baton to protect himself when he believed he was about to be set upon by several people at the scene.
The officer has appeared before the courts but strict suppression orders are in place preventing publication of the officer's name, age, rank and any further details about the incident.
Wellington police district spokesman Nick Bohm confirmed the Lower Hutt-based officer had been charged with assault.
He declined to comment on the specifics of the incident because the matter was before the courts.
However, he said: "When it is necessary to use force, constables must, according to the law, use only reasonable force.
"This includes force that is necessary and proportionate, given all the circumstances known at the time."
When police officers are charged with a criminal offence they are stood down from frontline duties until the matter is resolved.
Alongside the court case, police would likely be conducting an internal investigation to establish whether the officer should face disciplinary or employment action.
Confirmation of the charge against the officer comes just days after the Herald revealed that almost 70 police staff had been arrested in the past three years.
The charges laid against those officers included dealing LSD, assault, drink-driving and theft.
In February 2010 Henderson-based Sergeant Martin Folan was charged with assaulting five prisoners in custody over a four-month period. The 47-year-old was later acquitted on all five charges after a trial in the Auckland District Court, but resigned from the police months later before an internal investigation concluded.
Soon after, two more West Auckland officers were charged with assaulting drunk 18-year-old Josh Hart after arresting him at a party. Alan Douglas was convicted and fined $600 and Gareth Needham was convicted and discharged. Douglas resigned from the police last year.
The Lower Hutt officer will reappear in court later this year.
- Anna Leask of the New Zealand Herald