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Some Police Chases Criminal

Received: Thursday, 30 October, 2008, 2:21 PM

Some Police Chases Criminal
Candor Trust
Police chases, so often risk loaded due to the nature of the quarry, continue jeopardising the public and all concerned. In the last few days, a responsible motorcyclist in Kapiti allegedly found himself sandwiched between a chase vehicle and target car, suffering horrendous injuries.
A 52 year old motorcyclist was killed outright as the final result of a chase conducted in suburban Christchurch. It seems unlikely that left to make off without a speeding ticket, or whatever was the trigger, that he would have posed any great mortal danger to himself or others. But the media machine has begun to lay blame asking for witnesses, with wording that implies they'd be witnesses to lunatic riding.
Yesterday, three people were seriously injured in two crashes which involved a pursuit of an erratic and clearly aggressive driver on the Kapiti Coast.
And just over a week ago an innocent Christchurch nurse was nearly killed on her way to work, when an unmarked Police vehicle smashed into her vehicle at an intersection, whilst in hot pursuit of a moped rider.
Police need to realise that when their speedo rises in some situations so do the chances of a frivolous killing. Their primary role is to preserve safety and security - and current policy is creating a severe conflict.
The Trust has long pressured for an upgrade of chase policy and management, because many of these tragic incidents are plain unnecessary.
Victims families are faced with a hard if not impossible task in trying to hold Police accountable. A new policy is required that places a high order value on road safety over all other concerns. Chases are clearly occurring far too often in the wrong places, without sufficient justification.
The standard response when things going predictably haywire has been a piecemeal approach of conducting regular Independent Police Complaint Authority investigations, which inevitably go hard on issue minimisation, failing to produce positive outcomes for road safety.
In the wake of a Policemans untimely death, due to a chase not well managed, the NZ Parliament is to look at the issue. But looking has happened before and doesn't tend to save lives, in the way that properly defining and pursuing the issue to its rational conclusion would. The deaths and serious injuries are quota related, the quotas are not greatly safety related. And the answers to our chase toll are already well instituted overseas
Until Police or their political masters are willing to join civilised countries in seeing the adoption of a more restrictive chase policy as a first step to a total road safety culture, founded on the principle of active caring, it's foolhardy to expect the public to take up road safety as a cause. It is not OK to risk peoples lives for "successful" contacts.


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