The pursuit: question of life and death – step on it or back?


The Chase is a four-day Herald series in which police activities and fleeing drivers are viewed. Since January 2008 there have been more than 30,000 pursuits, hundreds of crashes and 79 deaths. The series runs from Monday to Thursday prior to a joint assessment of the activities by the police and the IPCA that will be released Friday.

The first joint evaluation of police policy, aimed at a better understanding of the pursuit environment, identifying problems and recognizing good practices, is not a "rubber stamp", says the police minister.

All activities that were reported to the Independent Police Conduct Authority last year, estimated at 75, are included in the evaluation that is carried out alongside the police.

It is because the number of fleeing driving incidents has risen above 4,000 last year.

While Police Minister Stuart Nash was concerned about the rising number of fatalities, he called them a tragedy that was "absolutely complicated" when innocent bystanders were killed, but those cases were still rare.

Police warned about 3.5 million drivers to stop serving refugees every year, which is about 0.1 percent in driving behavior, he said.

"The last thing the police want to see are people killed on the road – it doesn't matter what the circumstances are," Nash said.

"They abandon a number of activities if they think that this is not in the interest of the safety of the community or society in general."

Police Minister Stuart Nash. Photo / Mark Mitchell Police Minister Stuart Nash. Photo / Mark Mitchell

But the minister supported the way the police used their discretion.

Two-thirds of the members of the Police Association believe that according to a recent report, the status quo strikes the right balance between deterrence and public safety.

Former head of the Waitemata District Sergeant Stu Kearns, serious crash unit unit, said that more restraint could be used to reduce the number of activities.

But he said it was an issue that would never be fully resolved, and police forces around the world had a hard time suffering from those who worked to benefit from the rules.

"You also always get the argument, from some occupational critics, that when the police officer identifies the driver or license plate, they have to retreat, but a good number of them are stolen vehicles and you will never get the offender."

Kearns said with age and wisdom often came to a very good argument that a stolen car was not worth endangering lives.

"Nobody likes having their car stolen, but it is a property crime, not a life-threatening crime and does it really justify endangering a whole range of people for a stolen vehicle?

"I have witnessed the massacre and the sorrow [after a fatal crash] when I led the serious crash unit.

"What the public sometimes forgets is that the police do not strive for the purpose of that outcome."

If that result occurs, it could have psychological consequences that end the career, he said.

Kearns said it was a problem to look at driver training for young police officers.

"At the end of the day I have been in the situation where you want to get the offender at all costs, but sometimes those costs are zero when you have to consider the safety of the public and all staff who are in the car . with you."

Kearns said that the training for police officers who join the force is an area that needs improvement.

Investigation showed that the fleeing drivers stopped minutes after the sirens stopped and the police abandoned the chase, he said.

They would continue to "drive like an idiot" because the adrenaline was still pumping, they still believed they would get caught, he said.

The 2009 IPCA report noted that research had shown that the phenomenon known as & # 39; red-mist & # 39; officers might find it difficult to disable a chase when they once engaged if a state of excitement obscured their judgment.

"In addition, physiological factors such as the adrenaline rush associated with & # 39;
flight situations can influence the officers' judgment, the report said.

NZ Automobile Association, general manager of motorcycle affairs Mike Noon, said he was worried about the growing number of fleeing driver incidents.

With 2997 in 2015, 3323 in 2016, 3796 in 2017, the numbers went "the wrong way".

One issue to be considered was the large number of stolen vehicles, he said.

The Green Party spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman, said the police should make better use of alternative means of pursuit, which they compared with the use of lethal power.

Green Party police spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman. Photo / Doug Sherring Green Party police spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman. Photo / Doug Sherring

She said it was better to follow people down the line than to try to arrest a fleeing driver who was driving dangerously.

"It's not the only way to stop people," she said.

Public safety had to come first, she said, emphasizing that in many cases these were just traffic violations.

Many refugee teenagers would be afraid of being caught without a permit, she said.

Judge Andrew Becroft, Children's Commissioner, previously told the Herald that there are reasons why young people are more at risk than others.

"Significant evidence of brain development shows that teenagers' pre-frontal brain cortex is not sufficiently developed to allow them to objectively assess risks before and during their activities.

"This makes them more likely to flee from the police, even if they have committed only a small traffic offender, which means that not only young motorists, but all other road users, are at increased risk"

"To make matters worse, young people are extremely likely to have passengers in their vehicles when they are being chased."

An internal police investigation of 2010 noted that staff expressed frustration about the lack of deterrence for drivers fleeing the police.

"The same perpetrators constantly come to the police not to stop, many treat it as a game of cat and mouse that ultimately endangers the lives of all road users," the report said.

Nash said while this could be reviewed, he did not believe it was a conversation that should happen now.

Proponent of road safety Clive Matthew-Wilson said that there would always be a need for police activities, but that these should be limited to real emergency situations.

"If, say, a child has been abducted, the police must of course take immediate action," he said.

"However, FBI investigations have shown that it is often better for the police to withdraw and make the perpetrator think he has escaped and then quietly enter later.

"This minimizes the risk for the police, the public and the jerk that the police are trying to avoid."

Pursuits – the facts:

• Since January 2008 there have been 30,950 police activities.

• The number of activities has increased steadily every year over the past decade.

• 79 drivers and passengers were killed during those pursuits.

• Others were also killed, including innocent road users.

• Police figures show that chase is most likely between 10 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Crashing is more likely at night.

• The majority of drivers are young men and many drive stolen cars.

• In most cases, the driver was killed and there were a significant number of accidents in which several passengers were killed.

Read more from The Chase:

• To pursue or not to pursue, that is the question for the police

• Mother speaks after fatal chase – & # 39; we visit her grave every day & # 39;

• Fatal pursuit cop warned driver of & # 39; killing your friends & # 39; 48 hours before the crash

• Wanna Heroes – why drivers flee the police

• Fleeing driver – & # 39; I knew that if I drove irregularly, they would no longer chase me & # 39;

• Woman sentenced after pursuit & # 39; do not judge me & # 39;

• Young offenders play & # 39; high speed cat and mouse & # 39; with police

• Woman who survived the pursuit disaster causing her three-headed & # 39; begged & # 39; driver died