Home » World News » Police chases/fleeing drivers: Pursuit policy ‘rephrased’, not changed
Police chases/fleeing drivers: Pursuit policy ‘rephrased’, not changed
December 18, 2020
Police will only chase fleeing drivers if there is a threat before the start of the pursuit and if there is a need for the driver to be apprehended immediately.
Police stress there has been no change to pursuit policy, but it has been rephrased so officers can follow it more consistently and accurately.
It comes after a leaked internal police email advised staff not to pursue fleeing drivers unless the threat “outweighs the risk of harm created by the pursuit”.
Figures show there were more than 30,000 police pursuits initiated between 2008 and 2019, resulting in hundreds of crashes and the deaths of 79 people.
A joint thematic review by the Independent Police Conduct Authority and police found the pursuit policy was sound, but wasn’t always being used as it should be.
The policy has been revised in line with the recommendation but there has been no change to criteria for starting a pursuit, a police spokesperson says.
“Fleeing driver events are highly volatile and high-risk so police is focused on ensuring that our practice is what the public expect and deserve – one that puts safety first and foremost.”
Figures show pursuits are most likely to happen overnight between 10pm and 6am, and crashes are more likely at night.
The majority of fleeing drivers are young males, many of whom are driving stolen cars.
The policy now reads:”A pursuit is only justified when the threat posed by the vehicle occupant(s) prior to the pursuit commencing, and the necessity to immediately apprehend the driver and/or passenger(s), outweighs the risk of harm created by the pursuit.”
Wellington road policing manager Inspector Wade Jennings suggested frontline police in the district should change their mindsets on pursuits, in an email obtained by Stuff.
The spokesperson says the rephrasing encourages staff to use the right mindset and approach towards pursuits.
“We want to ensure our officer’s mindsets are focused on their TENR (Threat-Exposure-Necessity-Response) risk assessment when they are making decisions,” they said.
“It is about reminding them to think about threat, exposure, necessity, and response before they even signal a driver to stop.
“And that the TENR decision-making process is continually used to guide all subsequent decisions.”
Fleeing police: The toll
Last year, the Herald compiled a list of many of those killed as a result of pursuits.
The list includes drivers who have fled police and died in crashes or who have been shot by police at the end of the pursuit.
Some names of the dead have been suppressed and cannot be published. Others have not been released.
February 2008, Timaru Vianne Shead, 18, passenger
March 2008, East Tamaki Ritchie Nehua Angell, 20, driver
May 2008, Dargaville Dion Martin, 18, driver
July 2008, Featherston Peter Kotsifakis, 18, driver of stolen car
July 2008, Titahi Bay Sergeant Derek Wootton, 52, killed while attempting to lay road spikes
October 2008, Christchurch David Fowler, 52, motorbike rider
March 2009, West Auckland Robert Alaiula, 14, passenger of stolen car
December 2009, Palmerston North Martyn Dillon, 22, stolen motorbike
January 2010, Wellington Leith David Barnes, 28, motorbike
February 2010, Picton Chase Glen Neary aka Buckton, 21, motorbike
February 2010, Murchison Ricky Allan Forbes, passenger
March 2010, Puketaha Israel Maki Tane Porter, 27, driver
May 2010, Palmerston North Jason Luke Downes, 25, driver
June 2010, Christchurch Troy Peter Mackay, 22, driver
July 2010, Christchurch Tama Regan Dobson aka Wikiriwhi, 27, driver Shannon Daoudihemira Smiler, 26, passenger Karleane Marie Magon, 20, passenger
August 2010, Christchurch Deidre Jordan, 67 Norm Fitt, 73 The friends died when their car was hit by fleeing driver Phillip Bannan at a red light
September 2010, Onehunga Jaycheree Makakea, 20, passenger Joseph Tawhai, 20, passenger
October 2010, Te Puke Harley Kendrick Sean Wilson, 21, driver, stolen car Michael Adam Kaui Keepa, 25, passenger
December 2010, Mangere Api Kao Aue, 33, driver
December 2010, Flat Bush Georgina Cherish Stone-Te Haara, 20, passenger in stolen vehicle
January 2011, Auckland Southern Motorway Timoti Mohi, 15, driver of stolen car
April 2011, Taipa Luke John Bowman Yates, 22, driver
July 2011, Pukekohe Caine Christopher Burgess, 20, driver stolen car
September 2011, Hobsonville Sina Naraghizadeh, 18, stolen car
October 2011, Manaia Robert Seifert, 36, driver
July 2012, Gisborne Dylan Kingi, 28, driver Peter Bunyan, 27, passenger Holly Gunn, 25, passenger
November 2012, Katikati James Dean Miles, 18, stolen car
February 2013, Hamilton Rocky Joe Kohatu Hepi, 17, stolen car
February 2013, Christchurch Ethan Dallas Takitimu-McKenzie, 15, passenger in stolen car
May 2013, Mangere Dominic Stehlin, 19, driver – unlicenced and forbidden Viane Gaga, 18, passenger Uesetini To’o To’o, 18, passenger George Lomia, 20, passenger
November 2013, Wanganui Ayla Nelson-Boyd, 21, driver
January 2014, Greymouth Judd Hall, 26,passenger
August 2014, Papatoetoe Steven Te Pania, passenger
July 2015, Hamilton Nathan William Nolan, 29, motorbike rider
May 2015, Wanganui Calum John Meyer, 25, driver
January 2016, Featherston Hoani Korewha, 15, passenger in stolen car Pacer Willacy-Scott, 15, passenger in stolen car
January 2016, Papatoetoe Eden Nathan, 16, passenger in stolen car
May 2016, Porirua Female – name suppressed , 21, passenger
August 2016, Rotorua Moana Matthews, 17, driver
September 2016, Mt Roskill Vinal Kavit Naidu, 31, motorbike rider
January 2017, Manukau Eden Hoey, 32, driver
March 2017, Bulls Hayden Tahau, 26, motorbike rider
April 2017, Mangere Rahiri Iehu-Moetara, 27, passenger
July 2017, Mangere Male, 57, motorbike rider
July 2017 Male, 33, details not published
August 2017 Shannon-Dean Ford, 39, driver
August 2017, Hamilton Conrad Tuhua, 18, driver
September 2017, Hamilton Shane Hohepa-Lennane, 27, passenger
September 2017, Gisborne Ryan Glen Chrisp, 22, passenger
October 2017, St Lukes Connor Talaimanu, 29, passenger Sharina Storm Meuli, 25, passenger
October 2017, Otara Morrocco Tai, 15, passenger in stolen car
March 2018, Nelson Johnathon Tairakena, 25, driver Phillip Jamie Stretch, 33, passenger Carmen Marie Yanko, 53, innocent driver hit by fleeing car
May 2018, Palmerston North Ihaia McPhee Maxwell, 15, driver, stolen car Meadow James, 12, passenger
May 2018, Wellington Bailey Patmore, 15, in boot of stolen car
May 2018, New Plymouth Phillip Allan Taylor, 32, driver of stolen car
November 2018, Christchurch Alexia Chrissy-Marie Noble-Hazelwood, 18, passenger
December 2018, Christchurch Dennis Tunnicliffe, 25, driver Renee Percy, 35, pregnant passenger
January 2019, Christchurch Glen Mcallister, 16, believed to be driver of stolen car Craig Mcallister, 13, believed to be passenger Brooklyn Taylor, 13,believed to be passenger
February 2019 A man police had been trying to locate because of fears for his safety was killed after crashing into a truck while fleeing officers in Hawke’s Bay. During the pursuit the man crossed the centre line and collided with an oncoming truck.
The following people died during or following police pursuits but were not involved in vehicle crashes:
January 2009, Auckland Halatau Naitoko, accidentally shot by police during pursuit of Stephen Hohepa McDonald
March 2011 Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, shot by police following a pursuit
July 2013, Auckland Northern Motorway Caleb Dean Henry, 20, shot by police following pursuit
September 2016, Auckland Alaric Eccleston, 31 – jumped off Harbour Bridge during pursuit
March 2018, Puhoi Jerrim Toms, 26, driver shot by police following pursuit (not a crash)
February 2019, Kawerau Astin Cruz Hooper, 29, shot by police after pursuit