Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says Police's refreshed fleeing driver policy, which comes into effect today, strikes a balance between the safety of all road users and ensuring offenders are held to account.
Since the last policy change in December 2020, there has been a significant increase in fleeing driver events and equally a significant decrease in the proportion of offenders identified.
"The safety of our officers, the fleeing driver and other occupants, and the public is of the utmost importance. Although equally significant is the need to hold offenders to account for their actions.
"The amendments to the fleeing driver policy bring Police back to a more balanced position in these volatile, unpredictable, and high-risk events.
"The feedback we've collated from staff and communities calls for a different balance from the previous changes made in December 2020. Since then, offenders have become more brazen and are taking more risks in their driving behaviour," Commissioner Coster says.
The revised policy includes the new Fleeing Driver Framework, which is a decision support tool to assist staff with determining if the immediate risk of safety posed by the fleeing driver justifies a pursuit or not.
It factors in the threat posed by the driver/occupant(s), or on the seriousness of an offence suspected to have been committed by them, and the risk of them committing ongoing offending, harm, or victimisation.
"The clarity our staff will obtain from the refreshed policy enables Police to address these trends when drivers refuse to pull over when instructed, while acknowledging that risk and safety of all involved must always come first.
"I want to express my thanks once more to our staff for their constant efforts to ensure our communities are safe and the considerations they make in often difficult and fast-moving situations."
Issued by Police Media Centre
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Source: NZ Police