Veteran Ford Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Searching for a new home
Police Car Chases
Ok this is fairly topical at the moment with the fish and chip wrappers having a fair day out on the subject.
For those of you who have been recently abducted by aliens and therefore haven't heard this is the brief story:
A number of youths in a stolen vehicle were pursued by police in Melbourne last week. The pursuit was called off after they ran a red light at a busy intersection and had reached speeds in excess of 130 km/h. Sometime later they were spotted by another police car which flashed it's warning lights at them and a short time later the people in the stolen car were involved in an accident that left a number of them dead.
The debate has centred around the issue of whether and to what degree police should pursue vehicles given the risks involved. A side issue has also raised it's head because a number of police have been killed in recent years in these type of pursuits.
To summarise the three positions being taken they are as follows:
1. The existing guidelines are sufficient as the pursuit must be authorised by a Senior officer and can be called off at any time especially if there is a risk to innocent parties (for example some poor bastard minding his own business going through a green light where the red is being run by an offender).
2. Following the statement of a senior officer in NSW that police get an adrenaline rush from the pursuit the counter view is that the guidelines probably aren't being followed terribly well (as presumably evidenced by the number and severity of these incidents over recent years) and therefore there need to be stricter guidelines.
3. The final view holds that these type of pursuits should be banned altogether as in many instances the potential end result (somebodys death) is not merited by the nature of the crime that has been committed. This view is supported to some degree by (US based) statistics that show most offenders seek to elude pursuit because they are over the Blood Alcohol limit, are unlicensed, are driving a stolen car or are worried by what their parents would say. The counterpoint to this view (as stated by a police Commissioner) is that banning pursuits would simply encourage offenders to drive away at a speed in excess of the speed limit in the knowledge that police would be unable to follow them.
It's a complex issue but one that has a potential impact on us all.
The question, from my view, comes down to one of protecting the common good, In very plain terms the questions appear to be -
1. Do we really want adrenaline charged officers (and I am sure this doesn't apply to them all) in 1700 Kg, high performance vehicles; chasing similarly adrenaline charged, frequently young and intoxicated / inexperienced people around our public streets ?
2. If we do; should this only apply to a certain range of the more serious offences where the risk might be acceptable to some degree?
3. With what guidelines ?
The floor is open ...........