Chase vehicle is the police’s most dangerous weapon

Police CarThe Speaker of the ACT Parliament, the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury, has released a discussion paper which aims to rein in police car chases.

The paper reviews the the cases in which seven people have died in the past seven years in the ACT in connection with police chases. It also looks at the 163 similar deaths over the past 19 years Australia-wide.

Most of the 163 deaths occurred after chases for relatively minor offences: in 74 cases theft caused the chase, in 65 it was from traffic infringements, and only nine involved violent crime.

Over the same 19-year period, police in Australia shot and killed 92 people. As criminologist David Biles has comment, “the police vehicle is the most dangerous weapon available to law enforcement”. And the average number of people killed in police chases is on the up: from about 6 a year in 1990 to about 10 a year in 2008.

A WA study in 1990 examined 346 police chases over six months, and found none connected with serious offences such as murder, kidnap or armed robbery. A 1993 NZ study found that only 3% of people involved in police car chases were charged with serious violent crime.

Read full article by criminologist David Biles here »…

One comment

  1. You present a very interesting article, albeit a biased approach and one which does not fully explain the ultimate reason for these types of circumstances. Your underlying suggestion is that Police are responsible for the deaths of persons who have died as a result of high speed pursuits.

    Yes this does happen.

    You have intimated that those who have died have done so at the hands of the Police who engaged in a pursuit. Your article suggests, and even categorizes, the types of offences committed by people engaged in pursuits, such as murder, kidnap and armed robbery. This is a limited approach to your argument. If you are going to start basing your comments on crime and other related statistics, you should adopt the complete range of figures which are relevant to this type of issue. You cannot pick and chose to suit your own needs and then publish them.

    My questions to your organisation would be, have you considered the following when manipulating your published figures.
    1) Firstly, how are the authorities (Police) to know what offences have been committed by the offenders once they engage in a pursuit.
    2) How are the authorities able to initially identify an offender under these circumstances.
    3) How are the authorities able to ascertain if the offender has or has not taken drugs or alcohol.
    4) Why do offenders make a decision to engage in a pursuit with the Police and have any been interviewed to provide answers to support your comments.
    5) Have the Police policies been adhered to in the cases you mention.
    6) How many of the mentioned cases have been directly attributed to Police in a Court of Law or other Jurisdiction and what outcome was there.

    It is easy to gather and manipulate statistics to suit ones own needs and desires but without evidence your argument is flawed and irrelevant. Unfortunately, it is organisations like this one that have the majority of the community off side because you are so far from reality. Have any of your members interviewed the victims of these crimes to get and publish their side of the story. Your organisation is a bunch of Jonny Come Lately’s who sit behind a desk and spend your working day complaining abouth others. REMEMBER THE VICTIMS OF CRIME……..

    Tim

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