Police will no longer pursue drivers who are speeding, acting suspiciously or fleeing for no apparent reason in a major shake up of controversial chase procedures.
An internal police email leaked to Stuff advises staff not to pursue fleeing drivers unless the threat posed “outweighs the risk of harm by the pursuit”.
The revised policy, which has not been publicly announced, was emailed on December 10, stating the need to “change a culture that is decades old”.
Between 2009 and 2018, 67 people died during police pursuits.
So around one every six weeks or so.
Around 3,000 people in total died on the rods over those nine years so around 2% were connected to police pursuits.
Frontline police say chasing suspected drunk drivers, car thieves and suspicious vehicles will now be a thing of the past because the suspected crime does not justify the risk.
It will be interesting to see the effect of this new policy as it becomes widely known. It might results in fewer lives lost in crashes connected to police pursuits but it might also lead to more people dying due to drink driving.
If you’re a drunk driver you now know you can not get caught be merely slamming the accelerator at a checkpoint.
The email said a pursuit would only be justified when the threat posed by those in the vehicle prior to signalling the driver to stop and the need to immediately apprehend the driver and/or passengers “outweighs the risk of harm by the pursuit”.
So unless the vehicle is known to carry say armed offenders, then they won’t be pursued.
I hope this new policy will lead to fewer people dying on the roads. But it may result in more dying, as drivers become more reckless knowing the Police are toothless to pursue them.