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21 Feb 2018 18:12
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  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    Police sticking with car chases

    New Zealand police don't need to be chasing fleeing drivers, says a road safety advocate following the deaths of two people in Auckland.

    New Zealand police aren't considering ditching car chases despite calls for them to copy Australian measures aimed at reducing pursuit deaths.

    The pursuit policy has come under fire following the deaths of two people in Auckland over Labour weekend.

    Five people died on the country's roads over the long weekend - two when the car they were in crashed into a tree on St Lukes Road following a chase that started on the Northwestern Motorway.

    Car review website editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, says police are following "last century" policies that often resulted in needless carnage.

    He said between 2000 and 2011, there were 19 deaths associated with Queensland police chases, but no one had died since restrictions came in six years ago.

    "These fleeing drivers aren't going to stop and think about what they're doing, so it's up to the police to use their heads instead," Matthew-Wilson said.

    Police could use surveillance cameras, helicopters, road spikes, or simply notify other police cars and quietly pursue the fleeing vehicle at a distance. Texas police had also successfully used electronic tracking launchers, which fired a GPS tracker onto a fleeing vehicle, he said.

    In a statement, assistant commissioner of road policing, Superintendent Sandra Venables didn't directly respond to the call for chases to be scrapped.

    She said the policy was updated last year and had been reviewed seven times since 1996, each review making the policy safer.

    "On each occasion police must strike a balance between the responsibility to protect life and the duty to enforce the law, however it is really up to the driver to take more responsibility and make better decisions," she said.

    Police officers would never hesitate to abandon a pursuit which was putting people at risk, Supt Venables said.

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