Police pursuit review released

The joint review undertaken by police and the Independent Police Complaints Authority into police pursuits has been released. As expected, there was little to take from it. The report itself is quite detailed, stretching to 143 pages. Within the report are a few exciting tidbits but mostly it comes down to this.

Keep doing what we’re doing, but do it better.

The main recommendations are as follows:

  • Review training for drivers and improve the quality and frequency of training around risk management
  • Review the Eagle helicopter role in police pursuits
  • Improve comms centre technology
  • Review policy based on the report’s findings to ensure it is fit for purpose
  • Improve accountability by boosting the powers and national oversight of reviews following up police pursuits
  • Research fleeing drivers and explore their motivations

So this all looks a bit ho hum, but if you are really keen, check out the entire report here.

Positive things that I take out of it are that the police are finally acknowledging that there are other options available to them, some tried and true, and they are starting to listen to the front line staff who have to carry out these pursuits, putting themselves in danger every time that they do.

Some things that they are looking at are:

  • Possibly introducing dashcams or bodycams for frontline police. This is an excellent idea and has proven very successful in overseas jurisdictions. They don’t prevent chases but can help corroborate events, witness reports, offender identification etc. GPS location could possibly be included.
  • Possibly allowing ‘controlled collisions’ of vehicles that have been disabled with tire spikes and are travelling at slow speed. Previously this has only been approved for AOS and STG during an operation. This would greatly assist with bringing the offenders to a stop reasonably safely, preventing them from causing further harm.
  • Look at further increasing penalties for failing to stop offences (last increased in 2017, but not enough). This is extremely important, at the moment, potential jail terms only come into effect upon a third or subsequent offence. NSW penalties include maximum prison terms of three years for first offences and five years for a second or subsequent offence. All to often, failing to stop charges in New Zealand are simply recorded as ‘convicted and discharged’ in our system so no real deterrence effect is obtained.

So some good may come from this review. Police accept that they can do better, but no matter what changes are made, there will still be people, usually young males, who make the instant decision to attempt to flee, and at the end of the day they are the only people to blame for their subsequent demise.

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