Tougher penalties needed for fleeing drivers - police
Thu, 14 Jan 2010 5:55p.m.
By Emma Joliff
Police have named the motorcyclist who died following a police chase in Wellington last night.
He was 28-year-old Leith Barnes from Timaru.
It is yet another fatality after a police chase, and the Police Association is backing calls from their Australian counterparts for jail terms for those who spark the pursuits.
Barnes died after his motorbike plunged down a bank in Newlands. A witness who saw him earlier estimated he had been travelling at 150kmph – and he was being pursued by police.
Pursuit police is about balancing the power of danger of leaving someone on the roads against the danger of trying to stop them, the Police Association says.
“The more quickly they force police officers to pull out of chases, the more we incentivise people to actually continue to run from police,” says Police Association president Greg O’Connor.
He admits it is a difficult problem to resolve.
A Christchurch motorcyclist died after sliding on wet leaves and hitting a parked car while being chased by police. In Palmerston North, a teenager died after he was fleeing police chasing him in connection with petrol theft and a domestic incident.
“Essentially there is no answer,” says Mr O’Connor.
Police say they make 3.5 million traffic stops each year, and the number of pursuits resulting from these stops is actually decreasing. They say in 99 percent of cases, pursuits don’t result in injury or incident.
In Australia, Victorian police are unanimously backing a call for mandatory three year jail terms for adults evading police for minor offences.
In Flemington, Melbourne, police are involved in a chase every three weeks.
“We believe the sentences issued by the judiciary with respect to police pursuits, generally do not reflect the serious nature of the offence,” says Detective Sergeant Trent Atkins of Flemington Police.
New Zealand’s Police Association says penalties here are too soft.
“A jail term, vehicle confiscation, sanctions that are meaningful – the word will get around the criminal community,” says Mr O’Connor.
He says there is currently a penalty of $10,000 for fleeing drivers, but it is almost never imposed.
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15/02/2010 10:26:28 a.m.
Your right kim the more harsher the penalty the less reason people would have to stop fines or imprisonment wont have an effect
20/01/2010 1:03:29 p.m.
Yeah Chris all we saying is that raising the fine's or chasing them is not the answer to the problems..
And as for you stealing Kim's TV it is up to you to stop for the police or not if they try to stop you...If you think that running away from the police because they might find Kim's TV in your car nobody is going to stop you... we are all different in how we react in a situation involving the police..
But chasing someone or raise the fine will not solve anything. All it does is killing more innocent bystanders or more money for the Government if they are lucky.
THat is why we pay the police to come up with ways to get these offender without hurting anyone or more scheme to get more money.
19/01/2010 9:00:44 p.m.
As a side note chris... i would gladly give up my tv is it meant that the cops didn't chase someone into crashing into your wifes car just after she picked up your three preschoolersPretty unlikey i know but hey..so was yours.
19/01/2010 8:55:37 p.m.
Hi chris, If you would point out where i have said that cops shouldn't chase people i would appreciate it. What i am saying is that raiseing fines and penalties makes no difference when it comes to stopping people from running. In fact it gives them more reason to try and get away. I guess i am just trying to suggest is that there needs to be a better way to discourage this behaviour because raising penalties will not save 1 life. Cheers
19/01/2010 6:25:46 p.m.
Fair enough Kim. Oh, by the way, I was wondering if I could pop around later and steal your TV. I realize this would be highly illegal, and a total breach of your rights as a private citizen, but so what...its ONLY a TV. Now, it is very important that nobody tries to stop me, as I might get hurt....or even killed. And that would make my family really sad.Totally rediculous scenario, I know, but that is what I'm hearing from you and Mr X: Criminals will always try to get away from the cops, so there's no point trying to stop them, as they may hurt themselves. Do you have any idea how wrong that sounds!
19/01/2010 1:04:53 p.m.
Cheers Kim. Constructive suggestions would be the better option rather than the private citizens put more money into the government when they already collected enough money from the public thru all so many hidden agenda.
Chris What happened if a member of your family was rush to the hospital life threatened in a private car and they have no time to stop for the police and was chase, but than they crash in the process are u still happy to tell the rest of the family the news..all I'm saying is that technology these days can be use wisely to eliminate the chasing act by the police which i'm sure the police have them at their disposal.
BUt I do Agree with u Chris just leave the fines as they are...
18/01/2010 8:10:50 p.m.
ctually Chris and robbie citizenX makes a valid point. Raising fines for this behaviour will not stop anyone from running, the only effect it will have is to bring in more money in fines. You two seem hell bent on having cops chasing people hard out all over town and damn the people that might get hurt. How about some constuctive suggestions rather than just critisizing others opinions. cheers
18/01/2010 8:27:31 a.m.
Oh dear, Citizen X appears to be another one of these mixed up people who think that Society needs to accommodate them, rather the other way round...what a curious way to look at the world. I'd wouldn't have any problem telling a family that their kid wiped him/herself out running from the cops. I would want to know why their child thought this kind of behaviour was OK. Personally, I think the fines should be left as they are, and instead there should be a high profile ad campaign, clearly stating that if you run from the police, there is a very good chance you could die. Great way to increase the nations IQ.
18/01/2010 6:53:41 a.m.
Well robbie y dont u go and tell that to the family who lost their loved ones that the police had to chase him because they were worried that the person who took off might go and change their reg....actually you don't have to answer that lol... i dont wanna hear how your life is worth a reg...
17/01/2010 4:43:03 p.m.
yet another intellect..we should just let everyone go and not chase them..why don't we just pull the police force off the road all together? Citizen X..what if some clever criminal changes the rego plates? whats your intellectual solution to that?..actually keep your answer to yourself lol
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