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Why NZers cheer when cops chase teenagers to death on our roads

By   /  January 31, 2016  /  28 Comments

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Another teenager dead from inane Police chase policy and the usual bullshit apologies from the Minister of Police…

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Another teenager dead from inane Police chase policy and the usual bullshit apologies from the Minister of Police

Young people need to be reminded of the “absolute stupidity” and potentially devastating consequences of fleeing police, Police Minister Judith Collins says.

Her comments follow the deaths of three teenagers after two separate police pursuits in the past week.

…blah blah blah. Note it’s never the cops fault, it’s never their chase policy that needs to be scrutinised, it’s of course the adrenalin pumped up teenagers who are to blame.

Mixing alpha male power trippers  with spooked teens who aren’t thinking through the consequences sounds like a recipe for disaster.

And it is.

As Brian Rudman points out...

How many more people will have to die before the police hierarchy accepts that if their sworn duty is to protect and preserve life and property, then setting often young, adrenaline-filled officers to chase young adrenaline-filled youths in high-powered cars, is an exceedingly stupid way of carrying out that mission.

…look at what officials who have to critique Police actions have to say…

Independent Police Complaints Authority chairman Sir David Carruthers made this point in a finding relating to a May 2013 chase in Tauranga which ended with a passenger suffering a ruptured spleen.

He said police tail-gating the offender’s car at almost twice the 50km/h speed limit on the wrong side of the road, just two to three car lengths behind, “may have placed the fleeing driver under further pressure, leading him to take greater risks with his driving”.

In 2009, Sir David’s predecessor, Justice Lowell Goddard, produced a scathing critique of the pursuit policy, questioning “the value of pursuits that begin over driving offences such as speeding, careless driving or suspected drunk driving without observable, immediate threat to public safety”.

…and that’s the crux of this right? Having pumped up cops tailgating frightened kids in cars is madness which ends up in death and or terrible injuries.

So why do cops get away with this?

Because NZers love it when teens are killed in Police chases.

Years and years and years of indoctrination that the cops can do no wrong combined with a constantly negative view of teenagers equates to a culture who honestly argue that the teens somehow deserve death or serious injury because they ran off from the Police. We say ‘it serves them right, they should have pulled over’. We never ask, ‘why are cops with pitiful levels of chase driving training allowed to continue with chase policy that sees them kill more and more people’?

We never question the chase policy, only the spooked teens who run and we do that because as a culture we have all the maturity of cask wine when it comes putting aside petty hates for the bigger picture.

The science is clear. Frontal lobes in human beings aren’t fully developed until our mid 20s. That means young people react without being able to fully consider the ramifications of their actions. The are hard wired to react without thinking yet we have a policy that exacerbates this problem rather than take it into account.

The Police always claim that they stopped chasing by the time the accident occurs, but over and over and over again that turns out to be a lie. Once the ‘red mist’ comes over the chaser, they don’t hear the Coms department telling them to stop.

We should promote policy that protects civilians, our Police chase policy does the exact opposite ands we allow them to do it because we blame the fleeing teen driver not the pumped up cop.

 

 

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28 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    You assume Martyn that this individual was “spooked” – were is your evidence for that? What about if kids in cars joyriding around have an accident – is that the police’s fault as well. You’re trying to excuse here the actions of an individual who put themselves in the position of being pursued in the first place. Trying to nullify the consequences of a bad decision does not excuse the behaviour. If you want the police to stop pursuing, then change the law or stop people stealing and/or joyriding at high speed in cars. The former is possible, the latter impossible.

    • The Daily Blog Martyn says:

      If we look at the make up of teen brains, we know that the frontal lobes are not fully formed until a humans mid 20s – this has a great impact on the way teens deal with adrenalin and make choices in the heat of the moment – we are fighting biology here

      • Indeed. I remember some truly awful, stupid things I did up to my mid-twenties. One instance saw me miss a bus by centimetres with my hooning in a car. Plus other stuff I care not to get into.

        Young brains – not the cleverest of things.

      • mpledger says:

        And it looks like the kids in the Wairarapa were barely teens – just 14 and without drivers licenses.

        Those kids made some really terrible decisions but it shouldn’t cost them their lives – especially the passengers who probably didn’t have much say on the actions of the driver.

  2. Dave says:

    You headed this piece “NZers cheer when cops chase teenagers to death on our roads” No one cheers this. You are so out of line and your comments which are directed at every New Zealander are reprehensible.You owe every New Zealander an an apology. I for one will now not be reading anything you write, ever.

    • Dave – faux outrage, much?

    • Shona says:

      Wrong Dave. The vast majority of jealous mean spirited rednecked baby boomer males think it is really funny teens die. I am a baby boomer female I think it’s tragically sad. But i am a greenie /hippie and not rich so of course I don’t know anything. I have two sons I know exactly how provocative and dangerous the police response to young males in cars is. The appalling abuse of our incompetent police force when it comes to young men found me successfully taking on the police complaints system when my sons were teenagers. Anyone who thinks our police force is a responsible one is a fool.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Martyn’s right to show this up as some rich kiwis are unsympathetic to the young and not all are baby boomers either, they can be young national supporters that were advantaged by Planet Keys speculative economy.

        So are now insulated by the 99% who are suffering out there and these young are caught up in the new could care less society this greed brings.

        Saying all this aside;

        I was as a young 23yr old a newly travelled kiwi to Canada when in 1969 I witnessed a young couple killed in Nova Scotia after they were chased by police and crashed and died at the scene.

        Canada went soul searching for some years after repeat instances occurred and under the new liberal Government of Prime minister Perrie Trudeu finally changed the laws so that police would need to stop chasing drivers when they acted recklessly in pursuit.

        The world did not end because of this.

        Arguments surfaced about young drivers behaviour appeared also as we are now and also arguments about police chasing very fast car drivers may also endanger other drivers and pedestrians bought about the changes that must also happen here, so Martyn, hats off to you mate.

      • sgthree says:

        I too have two sons, but I don’t, as a result, know exactly how provocative and dangerous the police response to young males in cars is. My sons don’t steel cars, aren’t out hooning in the early hours of the morning, and the one that has had a speeding ticket pulled over when the policeman put his lights on. Both, as Martyn has said, have not yet developed their frontal lobes fully, yet both function rationally and have a respect for what is right and what is wrong. How can that be?

  3. Sunny says:

    Police chases kill teenagers. They also,place other road users at serious risk. Enough is enough. No more dead kids because if some stolen car, or non licence or whatever reason they are running. Plenty of other ways to make the consequences fit the “crime”.

  4. Afewknowthetruth says:

    A lot of people still hold onto the silly notion that the police exist to serve the general populace. The reverse is the case. The police exist to protect the property and perceived privileges of the scumbags at the top of the pyramid from the general populace.

    Therefore, as long as scumbags remain in control of western societies, ‘We should promote policy that protects civilians’ can never be implemented. Indeed, as NZ charges down the road towards overt fascism and becomes ever more corrupt, we should expect increasing attacks of all kinds on the general populace by the police.

    NZ is no longer a safe country.

  5. Mike in Auckland says:

    Few will cheer, most will simply shrug their shoulders and care not one bit, as they are only interested in their self indulgence and the latest gossip on Twitter. That is bad enough though, I see so many walk around every day, gazing at their smart phones, I wonder that we have not more hit by cars and suffering all kinds of accidents, with so many zombies wandering around.

  6. John says:

    They were killed because the driver was driving too fast; beyond his capabilities, (as well as beyond the speed limit, no doubt,) & most likely beyond the capabilities of a normal street car. End of story .

    If the Police have an accident whilst chasing a fleeing driver, THAT’s more likely to be their responsibility. But unless they’ve forced the fleeing car off the road or collided with it, I can’t see any reason in holding THEM responsible for the irresponsible action of the fleeing driver.

  7. Russ says:

    I don’t hear anyone cheering as per your headline. I do hear the usual voices immediately absolving the driver of any blame and crucifying the cops.

  8. esoteric pineapples says:

    “Years and years and years of indoctrination that the cops can do no wrong combined with a constantly negative view of teenagers”

    I would say there’s a bit of racism in there as well, as well as a general dislike of the social class from which such teenagers come.

    A coroners report on the death of two teenagers which was the lead story in the Dompost last week makes a good contrast with the death of two Featherston teenagers in Masterton’s main street last weekend.

    The two other teenagers from a well-known pakeha family died when driving at between 92 and 100 kilometres on a narrow stretch of road that runs west of Lake Wairarapa. The driver was 16 years-old, wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was driving the family’s big ute. The tyre of the vehicle dipped into the drain, the driver overcorrected and hit a tree on the other side of the road. All the blame was placed by the coroner and the article on the road and even the tree they hit. It was presented as if the situation regarding the driver was unexplainable from the driver’s own actions. And it would be a brave person in the Wairarapa who publicly pointed out that the driver and perhaps his parents both had an input into his death.

    The Featherston teenagers had stolen the car and hit an object on Masterton’s main shopping street. These teenagers came from the wrong side of the tracks. Although they were in the wrong for stealing the car, one can be certain little if any sympathy for them or their family.

  9. Michael says:

    Well Martyn & Frank, she was 16, of an age to know the difference between right & wrong, a member of PBG [Pretty But Gangster] had relationships with gang members, and was in a stolen car! How is any of that the police’s fault? She made a choice, a bad one that cost her her life – but she made a choice to be in a stolen car and get involved in a police chase with a 15-yr old driver. None of your comments excuse her behaviour nor nullify the consequences. Do you ever imagine that a death is the last thing the police want? That those officers have to live with their actions and consequences? No one wins here – but one person made a choice.

  10. In Vino says:

    My problem with this is that if you make it known that the police will stop chasing once you drive recklessly, you are making it mandatory for every teenager and even older idiots (instead of only the more reckless teenies) to just do something reckless to avoid being nailed by the police. I fear that this will result in more reckless actions, and quite possibly an equal number of casualties. Will you then agitate for police to stop calling cars to pull over on all occasions? Someone said that the world did not end in Canada, but I would like to see the stats before I join this crusade. (By the way, I am a secondary school teacher, and never rejoice in the death of a young person.)

    Before changing current policies maybe we need heaps more drones and CCTV watching every little move we make, so that those fleeing know that they will most likely be tracked down anyway…. (A better society?)

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Forget the ‘better’ surveillance …we already had Key lie to us about XKEYSCORE and the CORTEX programs and then went on to beef up powers for Police, GSCB and SIS.

  11. Pete says:

    It’s easy to simplify all of the tragic situations and put it down to “pumped up cops tailgating frightened kids”. It’s easy to put them all down to the development of frontal lobes.

    All of the instances are individual and all of the mental and emotional states of chasers and chased are individual.

    A community worker from the district of the latest deceased in such circumstances talked of ‘bored’ kids, the implication being that bored kids (idle hands and all that) end up in trouble. The TV news tonight showed little kids not being bored but being involved in sailing by and with their parents.

    The problem is deep and complex, as are the solutions.

    ————————

    We are in the re-establishment phase of Judith Collins. The complexity and humanity of such incidents are irrelevant to her at the moment except for the political capital to be gained. The hard-arsed, ‘crusher’ image is roused and sought tailor made for her to appeal to the red-necks and when the expected approval comes to her, the shark in her tastes the blood.

    ————————

    The Police are in a no win situation. That is individual police who took on the job to be of some service to their communities. If they were totally banned by mounting any chase at all in any circumstances “just in case something goes wrong”, it would be easy for them – no decisions to be made. Are there advantages in having strictly ‘by the book’ policing? Are there disadvantages? Maybe we take decision making off officers, give them a Paint by Numbers set of operating procedures. Now what would that mean in communities?

  12. WILD KATIPO says:

    Hmmmm….another fact not yet mentioned is the fact that Police at that range- 2-3 car lengths behind can simply take the registration plate number and also record make, model , colour , and number of occupants.

    Another unit further up the road is then free to use road spikes if practicable.

    As a matter of fact, Police cars don’t even need to be up close and personal to obtain those details… there are other ways, … in the case of a rural area it will prove more difficult… but still.. tracing the owners age, name, residence through that rego plate and pressing charges later on is still possible. And far safer, surer of results and economically sensible.

    In some cases chasing is authorized… but there would be a number where the risks outweigh the benefits.

    And having that rego plate number carry’s with it a number of charges, reckless and dangerous driving, resisting arrest, evading Police, endangering the public, – and more.

    And if the car is stolen… and the rego doesn’t record the rightful owner?…road spikes have a way of cooling any offenders flight from the law. And that way the public, the Police and the offenders are kept reasonably safe.

    The only downside is the increased manpower, timing and situational use of road spikes. Also the potential for clearing the public in order for them to be deployed.

    I’m not so sure about people cheering when a teenager dies, though…there would be a lot of people who will be in grief , and I think it would be more realistic to say that there would be a lot of people who are more likely to think ‘ Thank God it wasn’t my kid’….and feel dis-empowered on exactly what solutions there are and how to have them implemented.

    But there is a case for some over zealous Police Officers going that bit too far and being a causative factor in the deaths of these people for sure.

    No questioning that fact.

  13. Rae says:

    Let’s get something straight, NZers do not cheer about the death of teenagers, however, we do see the dilemma when they commit crimes, what do you want, the police to do nothing? I am not altogether sure how it could be expected for them, in the immediacy of the situation, to know that they were dealing with kids in a stolen vehicle, they may have known the vehicle was stolen, of course.
    Rock and a bloody hard place with these things, what would be the outcry if in the course of their spree they killed someone else?
    I don’t think you can judge too harshly here other than to tell the hideous Judith Collins to shut the fuck up and go crawl back under her rock.

  14. reason says:

    Some NZers definitely do cheer when teens or young people die in car crashes…..

    Cameron slater called a passenger who died a “feral” and wrote his death made the world a better place …………..

    John Key rung up Slater to support him ……. as less horrible New Zealanders were giving Slater a bit of stick for his trash attitudes and personality.

    This young person who died and the person cheering his death caused the hacking that lead to “Dirty Politics” being exposed …..

    I’m not sure what the moral or lesson from this is ……………

    But one thing is clear ………… The police will chase people who embarrass or show the truth about the nats as hard as they do with teens in cars …………… and John Key would cheer the loudest if they managed to hurt Nicky Hagar.

  15. […] Police chase policy. The Police say, ‘there is no alternative’, the politicians know NZers think the dead and disabled from police chases are the fleeing drivers fault and while no one does anything meaningful, more members of the public […]

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