Police pursuits | The Jackal

13 Apr 2012

Police pursuits

On Wednesday, the Police reported:

From time-to-time, Police Officers encounter some truly bizarre incidents. This ironic work story started one day when the driver of the offending vehicle was forbidden to drive. Ignoring their ban, they encountered police later that day at a routine checkpoint. In a (significant) error of judgement, the driver decided to flee. A pursuit ensued which lasted less than a minute. The driver lost control and careered through a fence into the billboard. The patrol car was some distance behind the vehicle when it crashed and all police procedures were fully complied with. The driver was not seriously injured but was left with plenty of explaining to do. They made full admissions of responsibility and were convicted on traffic charges relating to the pursuit.

In the story above, it appears they actually knew who the offender was and where he lived, and so did not have to give chase. It's par for the course for police to say they were not in the wrong and didn't cause the accident. The other line they use is that they had just called off the chase when the accident occurred.

The truth of the matter is that many offenders would not have crashed without the police chasing them. The main problem is that driver training given to police officers is not adequate, and there are no refresher courses to ensure proper practice is always followed.

And the results? In December 2010, the NZ Herald reported:

There have been 2057 pursuits so far this year and 18 people have died - including two in less than 24 hours at the weekend.

Police are adrenaline junkies who love the thrill of the chase. With the majority of pursuits being for stolen vehicles, it would often be far more appropriate to rely on old fashioned policing techniques to track down the vehicle at a later stage, instead of initiating a high speed chase. It's only a car after all and not worth putting people's lives at risk.