A man whose daughter was killed in a car that fled from police says encouraging more pursuits is madness.
Two years after tightening the rules around pursuing fleeing vehicles, police are now moving to relax them again.
Most drivers who failed to stop for police have not been getting caught – but parents who have had children killed in these high-speed chases said the cost of an arrest was just too high.
Tony Jarvis’ daughter Karleane Magon was a passenger in a car that fled from police. She was killed in 2010, at 20 years old.
“Seventy people have died in that 10-year period since I lost my girl. Which you know that’s not just 70 people have died, it’s been 70 families have died,” Jarvis said.
“Not just my girl died, I died on that day.”
Encouraging more pursuits was madness, Jarvis said, particularly given the death of a fleeing driver in Dunedin just two days ago.
“The police know all these decades of police pursuits, the amount of innocent people that have died, and yet, in the face of a tragedy in the weekend, they’re upping their police pursuits and hoping for a different outcome? That’s insanity.”
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the new rules balanced safety and holding offenders to account.
They also factored in the further harm an offender could cause if they were not apprehended, he said.
“Whether we’re pursuing or not, there is a risk to the public,” he said.
The changes have been forced by the media’s never ending love affair with ram raiding clickbait. The public have been whipped into a frenzy of youth crime fear (despite there being less than 100 youth ram raiders, 80% of whom are known to welfare agencies) and have demanded ‘something be done’.
So things are being done.
The Police chase policy was modified after they found their toll trained drivers see red mist and continue pursuit even when it is dangerous and causes crashes.
Social policy that continues to kill at the high rate the police chase policy did has to be challenged and modified.
67 people died during police pursuits between 2009 and 2018.
You can’t have almost 70 people dying in a decade due to police chases and call that policy successful!
People shouldn’t die from social policy.
Right now however the public are frightened by youth ram raiders, so Police have to say they have changed their chase policy.
And that position will hold, right up until they chase some kids to death or they smash into innocent people.
Then the policy will be immediately reviewed.
This is window dressing policy to look like something is being done, which is what you can also say about the new powers being hyped as a means to shut down youth criminals…
Police Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister of Justice Kiri Allan said the laws are changing so police have more enforcement options when dealing with dangerous drivers.
- Increase the maximum driver licence disqualification period for a second offence of failing to stop or remain stopped, from 12 months to between 12 and 24 months
- Amend the Sentencing Act 2002 so a vehicle can be forfeited on conviction for failing to stop. Offenders could have their vehicle permanently removed, and would not get any proceeds from the sale back
- Allow police to impound a vehicle for 28 days if the owner fails, refuses, or provides false or misleading information about the identity of a driver from a fleeing driver event.
…this impacts fleeing drivers but being sold as a solution to the ram raids and being used to counter the ‘soft-on-crime’ narrative the Opposition have generated about predictable youth crime post a universal traumatic experience like Covid.
I will hazard a guess that most ram raiders aren’t driving their own car so threats of impounding or taking the vehicle they have stolen for their crime is not really much of a threat.
It’s less ‘soft-on-crime’ and more ‘modestly-helpful-against-crime’.
Our poorly trained Police will immediately fall into the same ‘red mist’ mindset when pursuing offenders and the evidence showing they stopped listening to HQ and were chasing right up until the offender dies will all be hidden from the public and only come out during coroner reports.
People are frightened, and angry most decisions made when people are frightened and angry don’t work well.
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