Man and woman arrested in Somerset Place, Nemingha after police pursuit along Armidale Road, Tamworth

A MAN and a woman have been charged after police were forced to smash windows to drag them from a car following a high-speed pursuit in Tamworth.

Oxley Chief Inspector Jeff Budd defended the force used by officers to subdue the 22-year-old man and 33-year-old woman, when the car was eventually stopped in Somerset Place in Nemingha. 

Police allege the pair were affected by a substance when they swapped seats when the car was travelling at 100km per hour along Armidale Road, while it was being chased by officers.

“This is exactly the type of behaviour that results in tragedies like we saw south of Wollongong where an entire family can be wiped out,” he told The Leader.

“We make no apologies for stopping this behaviour.

This is exactly the type of behaviour that results in tragedies like we saw south of Wollongong where an entire family can be wiped out.

Oxley Chief Inspector Jeff Budd

“It was dangerous and other motorists’ safety was put at risk.”

The incident unfolded shortly after 10am on Monday when officers tried to stop the grey Nissan, after it left a carpark opposite the police station and continued through several streets, including White and Peel and onto the New England Highway.

“At that stage police allege the male was driving and the pursuit continued towards Nemingha at a speed of 100km per hour in a 60 zone,” Chief Inspector Budd said.

Police at the scene of the arrest in Somerset Place, Nemingha, off Armidale Road. Photos: Gareth Gardner

Police at the scene of the arrest in Somerset Place, Nemingha, off Armidale Road. Photos: Gareth Gardner

“Police will allege they witnessed the male and female swap seats while driving the vehicle at that speed, which almost caused a serious accident.”

Police will allege they witnessed the male and female swap seats while driving the vehicle at that speed, which almost caused a serious accident.

Oxley Chief Inspector Jeff Budd

The car stopped outside several houses in Somerset Place. Police allege the pair wound the windows up and locked the doors, while the vehicle was still in drive.

“Police were concerned the pair would take off again and smashed the windows to drag the offenders out,” Chief Inspector Budd said.

“The male offender was violent and aggressive to police and was struck with a baton, he ended up in a wrestle with police on the ground and was subdued with capsicum spray.”

The pair were taken for blood tests and searched, and police allege were found in possession of a “quantity of what we allege is the drug ice”.

A large hunting knife was also seized, which police allege was tossed from the car during the chase.

Marjorie Shoobert witnessed the arrest and said they “dragged the young fella out of the car, bashing him with the baton, as they got him on the ground”.

Police at the scene of the arrest in Somerset Place, Nemingha, off Armidale Road. Photos: Gareth Gardner

Police at the scene of the arrest in Somerset Place, Nemingha, off Armidale Road. Photos: Gareth Gardner

“I said please get off him, there’s no need to do this … and in the meantime this guy was saying, ‘I surrender, I surrender’,” she said, adding her son had called an ambulance for the man who they believed had been injured.

Another witness, who did not want to be named, said he pulled over on Armidale Road because of the “dangerous manner” of driving.

He said he thought “they were going to drive into me”, but then minutes later saw the pair pulled from the car, but didn’t see any weapons.

“I just thought it was excessive, I understand police have got to do a job, I understand that,” he said. 

The pair suffered minor injuries during the arrest, police said. 

Chief Inspector Budd said officers were “verbally abused by nearby residents” at the scene and he was “aware of the social media outrage” suggesting police brutality. He dismissed the reports and said police used reasonable force to subdue the pair.

“This type of behaviour had the potential to cause serious harm or worse kill a member of the community and police took every reasonable action to prevent such a tragedy occurring,” he said.

“I have high praise for the officers involved who took swift action to arrest the pair.”

The pair are facing several charges, including police pursuit and drug possession and were still in custody on Monday night.