Pursuit law on agenda
THE LNP will consider changing the police pursuit policy if they win the next election.
The State Opposition has called for “an overhaul” of the policy, as Townsville continues to be plagued by car theft and the eventual dangerous driving of young criminals.
Shadow Police Minister Tim Mander said community safety would take priority before any changes were made.
“The LNP is keen to investigate whether it is time to make changes to the pursuit policy,” he said. “However, any changes to the laws would need to ensure the public’s safety remains at the forefront.”
Mr Mander said the current policy left police with their hands tied behind their backs.
“The police pursuit policy is a kick in the guts to our hardworking police, who have been disempowered from apprehending offenders just because they are driving a car,” he said. “As the police union would say, it’s basically a no- pursuit policy.
“That means criminals are getting away with committing crimes and they know the police are restricted in what they can do about it.
“The current policy has been in place for six years. It needs an overhaul and it’s time to back our police to keep Queenslanders safer – particularly in a place like Townsville, which has seen dramatically increased rates in recent years.”
Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor said police pursuits were complicated and could change rapidly, with senior officers taking control of the situation.
“We know that the Townsville community for some time has been victim to property offenders, particularly around breaking into houses and stealing cars,” Mr Taylor said.
“The stealing of cars crime is a very worrying trend, as we’ve seen the people who steal the cars have little to no regard for their own safety and the safety of others.
“When they get behind the wheel they have little driving skills at best. They can be quite a danger on the road.”
He said police were getting smarter with catching criminals in cars.
“We are getting a lot smarter at the way we look at people in stolen cars and we’ve been quite successful in North Queensland in regards to identifying and acting tactically to detain offenders.
“The last thing we want is one of our members to lose their life chasing a stolen car. While we want to get the offenders, we don’t want to risk community members’ lives or the life of the young person being chased.
“It’s a very complex area and it needs to be conducted in a mature fashion.”