Radically different views here. The Greens:
The Green Party is pushing for the Government to make police pursuit policy more restrictive following the deaths of three teenagers fleeing the police earlier this week.
Green MP Gareth Hughes said he has contacted Police Minister Stuart Nash to make his party’s wishes clear.
Hughes hoped that a new report from the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) on police pursuits, due out in February, will stir a conversation around police chase policy.
“No pursuit is worth the deaths of innocent bystanders or the potential offenders. Things just aren’t working and current policies are making it worse,” Hughes said.
So the Greens want a policy where anyone who wants to escape the Police can do so, so long as they are willing to speed.
And by letting all the offenders escape, how many more victims get created by their ability to carry on? They themselves may kill innocent people by being able to carry on driving dangerously.
NZ First takes a very different view. Here’s Darroch Ball:
We need to stop the “police blame game” when it comes to the rise in fleeing driver incidents and related deaths on our roads.
We need to stop focusing on police pursuits as being the cause of the problem and instead look at the individuals whose actions create the need for the pursuit in the first place.
The data shows us police have been abandoning more and more pursuits, but the number of those who choose to flee from police has continued to climb.
Over the past decade, the number of drivers who fled from police on our roads has almost doubled from about 2000 in 2009, to about 4000 when the final official count for 2018 is published. That is an alarming increase.
Some useful actual data. So the results of the Police changing their policy to restrict pursuits has led to more drivers fleeing the Police. This is no surprise.
Not only do the total number of incidents show an enormous increase over the past decade, the number of “police abandonments” has dramatically increased too.
In 2009, the proportion of car chases abandoned by police was about 25 per cent. In 2018, it was nearly 60 per cent.
Over that same period, those drivers have caused more than 400 deaths or serious injuries on our roads.
The offenders know that the more dangerously they drive, the more likely it is they will get away and face no consequences.
Fleeing drivers now understand that all they have to do is immediately begin to drive dangerously – wrong side of the road, excessive speed, putting the public in danger – and the pursuing police officer must abandon the pursuit.
The greater danger the drivers then place on the public and themselves, and the more crashes and deaths we see. It is a perfect storm.
Good to see some common sense from NZ First.
There also needs to be harsher penalties for the “failure to stop” charge, including mandatory community service. Additionally, there needs to be a separate offence of “failure to stop while driving in a dangerous or reckless manner”, which comes with much harsher penalties than what is currently in the law – including prison time.
Fleeing drivers need to be held to account for the danger they present to both police and the public.
They think they can just drive erratically and get away with it.
It’s a problem that is adding to the death toll on our roads and needs addressing urgently.
I look forward to NZ First introducing such a law change. If National back it, it can get passed.