Police chases

Kate Newton from the Dom Post reports:

The Government is hinting at tougher penalties for fleeing drivers – a day after the seventh fatal chase since December.

Police Minister Judith Collins will meet Police Commissioner Howard Broad today to discuss police recommendations for vehicle pursuits, after two separate reviews.

The meeting comes after Troy Peter MacKay, 22, died in Christchurch yesterday when his car hit a tree during a pursuit.

Officers had spotted him weaving dangerously through traffic at speed. He died on the way to hospital. Two female passengers had moderate injuries.

He was the seventh person to die in a police pursuit since December.

There is a difficult balancing act in deciding whether to pursue. If you reward people for fleeing the Police by not following them, then you encourage more people to flee, and the victims of their crimes don’t get justice.

If you pursue someone at dangerous speeds, then the chances of innocent victims being caught up in a smash are enhanced.

I would generally support increased penalties for the offence of fleeing in a vehicle from Police. Maybe even automatic jail time, so that there is an incentive not to take off just to avoid a cannabis charge or a dic.

One other solution is to have more use of Police helicopters – but they are damn expensive, and our narrow roads can make it difficult.

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