Community organisation condemns police car chase policy
People Against Prisons Aotearoa
Community organisation condemns police car chase policy following teen deaths
People Against Prisons Aotearoa, a community group opposed to police violence, is calling for police pursuits to be banned after three teenagers were killed in a crash. The car, which had hit road spikes laid out by police, crashed into a tree and caught fire with the teenagers trapped inside.
“Every death in a police pursuit is a preventable death. These car chases overwhelmingly cause far more harm than the offence which actually led to the pursuit,” says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “Police starting high-speed, deadly car chases cause horrific crashes which would never have occurred otherwise. These pursuits need to be banned before more kids die.”
According to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, the independent body charged with oversight of Police behaviour, 1 in 4 police pursuits ends in a crash. The IPCA has investigated police pursuit policy four times since 2000 and each time recommended these pursuits be seriously curtailed, but no policy change has been made.
“There is no public interest in police continuing to pursue fleeing drivers,” says Rākete. “The costs are just too high and too tragic.”
“The IPCA has repeatedly recommended that the New Zealand Police no longer pursues fleeing drivers, as police departments in other countries have done. The IPCA found ending police pursuits overseas does not affect crime rates at all,” says Rākete. “The Police are actively making our communities more dangerous and killing more young people for absolutely no reason whatsoever.”
“These families are now burying the burned corpses of their children because the police made a decision that did not value their lives. We can’t pass a law to make teenagers stop misbehaving. We can absolutely pass a law to end these deadly, pointless car chases.”