Waatea News Column: Change of Police chase policy long overdue

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New Police Minister Poto Williams is doing exactly what I predicted her appointment would do, focus less on the get tough on crime rhetoric and focus more on failing social policy, so the announcement this week that Police have reviewed the wording of their deeply flawed police chase guidelines should surprise no one.

Between 2008 and 2019 there were 30 000 Police chases resulting in hundreds of crashes and 79 deaths.

If the point of social policy is to save and protect lives, the Police chase rules are the equivalent of gasoline on fire.

Many Police are poorly trained for driving cars at that speed.

Time and time and time again we see evidence of the Police HQ calling for an end to the chase, but the revved up Police Officer behind the wheel is too in the moment and ignores the request to end the chase.

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Many young people behind the wheel react in panic when the sirens go on and their underdeveloped frontal lobes go into flight or fight mode.

There are better ways and safer ways to apprehend someone if they are driving dangerously than the wild west chase culture that has crept into the Police force.

The loss of life and damage the Police chase policy has caused is a deeply failed one because many of the reasons why chases are started in the first place are over very minor traffic infringements.

We don’t allow citizens carte blanche when it comes to self defense. If you overstep proportionality to protect yourself or someone else, you will be charged with assault, likewise, the Police shouldn’t have powers to chase if that chase will lead to death or damage for simple traffic infringements.

The immediacy of threat will be the decider for a Police chase now, not the ‘Respect my Authority’ mindset that it has been.

First published on Waatea News.

15 COMMENTS

    • Dirnk driving TV commercials tell us that drunk drivers drive lose control and veer off the deserted rural road they’re weaving along and land upside down in stream. Police need only set up observation posts near a stream, make a cup of tea, and wait.

        • That’s just silly.. I can see how you go your moniker… The original question was a silly one as well, so it’s no surprise that the rest of it got so childish… Drunk drivers are much more likely to lose control at lower speeds, so engaging them in a race scenario would be the height of stupidity. This is what they have the helicopters for.. Track the escaping vehicle, so that they can be cornered in ways that don’t endanger everyone a car chase would go near.. I am getting seriously bored with people making up bullshit scenarios, simply to be able to argue the toss.. That defines petulance.. Nine years of a corrupt and incompetent government have destroyed our ability to debate like grownups, it seems…

          • This country simply cannot afford to have the police deploying helicopters every time they see an idiot driving a car. Last year the three Auckland-based helicopters cost about $7.6 million – and that’s just for one area.

            Auckland’s Eagle helicopter unit alone attended 16 incidents a day, at a cost of $2323 an hour – some no doubt potentially life-saving, some on fools.

            There is no bottomless pit of tax payer money available for expanded police helicoptering, even if Marama Davidson thinks that tax is love.
            Nor do the dynamics of fleeing- driver situations necessarily render helicopter pursuits practicable.

            • They tried to introduce the helicopter to Chch but the complaints changed their mind. The fact it saved at lest 2 lives and a number of criminals were caught was not enough to out weigh those coplaining of the noise.
              If they stop police chases the result of running should be a minimum 2 years no matter what the crime was .

      • Ethnic Jedi, Tea drinking is cultural appropriation, and between you and me, given the current sensitivities in our relationship with China, police may be better sipping water – which can be bought from China, but could also upset every Cantabrian who has witnessed it being given away for free, and they have enough to worry about with the Ranfurly Shield.

        Better if they just sit and meditate. Oops. That’s also cultural appropriation. Read the glossies with pictures of celebs and go slightly mad ? Old ladies do that, but better mad cops than commie-lovers. There was a time they could have just munched Central Otago apricots, but they are now genetically altered disappointments too.

        This could be an issue for the ten million dollar woman’s Think Tank – good old Helen. Oops. Didn’t a copper once drive too fast to get her to a bloody rugby match ? More cultural appropriation. Abolish cars – most are unnecessary anyway.

    • If they turn around at a check point police cannot pursue them if they don’t stop. Actually police can’t stop them if the driver doesn’t want to regardless.

      And no, it’s not Vietnam 1968 with helicopters filling the air just waiting for that moment to tail them. And lets not forget Auckland is the only place to have a single chopper on most of the time anyway. Nor do such helicopter squadrons achieve much if, for example, the pissed driver abandons their car at a underground shopping centre carpark.

      So better for the drunk to risk what is merely a fine for not stopping, if police can identify the driver that is, than getting nicked drink driving. But the entire policy only works if the drunk driver doesn’t take someone out escaping.

      Somehow having optional drink driving laws seems self defeating and utterly pointless!

  1. My friend’s husband says that kids will steal more cars now for burn ups, or whatever else they do, wreck them, and then steal a replacement, and all our insurance premiums will go up.

    • WAAAAHHHHH WAAAHHHHHH. Stupid second hand ideas are right as they agree with my emotions.

      Get a grip Snow White, they still going to arrest car thieves and arsonists.

  2. Yes to solve the problem of car chases we don’t want to actually police, we want to take a leaf out of NZTAs book when the road toll went up, not do their actual job but employ more PR consultants.

  3. The intent as all good social working thinking goes is fantastic, the reality will be quite another thing. But law abiding motorists will pay by virtue of been law abiding.

    However, it will not take fuckwits very long to realise that you don’t need a license, you don’t need a roadworthy vehicle, hell it doesn’t even need to yours and they sure as shit don’t need to sober to quite literally drive what you want how you want and sweet fuck all can be done about it.

    And it will take criminals even less time to register the enormous advantage this gift from the police gives them.

    So from a road safety and crime perspective, no good can come of this.

    • X-ray, Agree with much of this, but good will come for the insurance companies raking in more loot from undeserving law-abiding persons, the one’s who are constantly at risk from disgusting drunks and rotten kids.

      This policy change isn’t entirely the fault of the NZ Police, it’s a global issue – like all the gender stuff, and the bad white men blather – and it has been framed here as racist, which is a political winner, although how on earth cops can discern the colour of a driver’s skin on a dark night, or with all the tinted car windows, beats me. Ditto ascertaining a miscreant drivers’ age.

    • *Yawn* tiresome Boogeyman horseshit.

      If you think this give the police carte blanche to do nothing you are a idiot.

      But what the hell ahh, you and snow white are so happy to believe in any old conspiracy theories, because actually listern to facts is too hard. And your emotions are always right.

      Grow up.

      79 people died for no reason. A fine in most cases will make people stop in the future, once they realise they now not only getting a fine for warrant overdue (example – as you seem a bit dim and might think that’s all they will hand a fine out for) but an extra one for failing to stop. And guess what the police do arrest people when they don’t pay fines.

      Well done Poto, glad you listened to the reality of the situation, and made an informed decision. Rather than listern to the whinny idiots whose think their emotions trump facts.

      • Yawn… For someone who clearly thinks they are very smart and likes to think they quote facts, you don’t.

        Poto didn’t do anything. Nor does any other Minister of Police get involved in police policy or the day to day running of the police. There is a very big independent gap to ensure politicians have nothing to do with policing, for good reason.

        Secondly failing to stop for police is a fine only already, unless its a repeat offence. Always has been. Not made much difference to the hardcore has it?
        Police sometimes arrest for unpaid fines but not always
        I don’t think there is a single documented case of someone not stopping for police for having an expired warrant of fitness. But when they are doing shit they are likely to be locked up for or even just drink driving, they don’t stop. And then there’s those who don’t stop because they just like pursuits.

        We are entitled to our opinions but if you are going to lord it over other commenters here how clever you are and how dumb we are, at least get it right!

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