Pur­suit law on agenda

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS McMA­HON

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.”

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