December 8, 2023

‘Offenders have become more brazen’: Police update fleeing driver pursuit policy

Related video: The Government unveiled a new law change targeting drivers who flee from police in December last year.

Police have refreshed their fleeing driver pursuit policy, which will see them chase more vehicles. 

The refreshed fleeing driver policy strikes a balance between the safety of all road users and ensuring offenders are held to account, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said when announcing the changes on Monday morning. 

The changes will come into effect on Monday. 

Police last made changes to the policy in December 2020, and Coster said since then, 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,” Coster said.

“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 police have received from officers and community members calls for a different balance from the previous changes made in December 2020, Coster said. 

“Since then, offenders have become more brazen and are taking more risks in their driving behaviour,” he said. 

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,” Coster said.

Police Commissioner said the changes will provide “clarity” to officers and enables Police to address the changing trends of drivers who refuse to pull over when instructed but also 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.”

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