Po­lice hit brakes on car chases

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

VIC­TO­RIA Po­lice have pulled the hand­brake on po­lice pur­suits, telling of­fi­cers they can only chase peo­ple in­volved in se­ri­ous crimes.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Robert Hill says the new pol­icy strikes the right bal­ance be­tween pro­tect­ing life and the need to ar­rest of­fend­ers.

Po­lice can now ini­ti­ate a pur­suit only to pre­vent se­ri­ous risk to public health and safety or if a crim­i­nal of­fence has been com­mit­ted that in­volves se­ri­ous in­jury to a per­son.

The change was rec­om­mended in a 2014 coro­ner’s re­port and fol­lows a spate of re­lated road deaths.

“Since 2010, we’ve had 13 peo­ple killed on our roads as a con­se­quence of a po­lice pur­suit,” Mr Hill said yesterday.

“Last year alone we had two peo­ple killed and 28 peo­ple in­jured as a con­se­quence of a po­lice pur­suit.”

He said it was clear po­lice needed to re­think how to deal with flee­ing driv­ers.

Un­der the new pol­icy, po­lice can­not chase cars over prop­erty- re­lated or mi­nor traf­fic of­fences. Mr Hill said these crimes were the most com­mon trig­ger for a po­lice pur­suit.

It was also com­mon that those be­ing chased were af­fected by drugs or al­co­hol, fur­ther in­creas­ing the risk of a lifethreat­en­ing crash.

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