The revised Police pursuit policy guidelines come into effect tomorrow. Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall, responsible for Crime Reduction and Public Safety, said the implementation of the revised policy emphasises Police responsibility to manage pursuits to maximise safety of the public and staff.
â€œPursuits are one of a number of situations where Police are required to make well-judged decisions,â€ said Mr Marshall.
Staff training in the new policy has already begun with most affected Police staff across the country already familiar with the new regulation and direction.
The new pursuit policy emphasises safety over immediate apprehension of the offender; assessment of the risks during a pursuit; clear lines of authority in the event of a pursuit; supervision by communications centres and revised abandonment procedures.
â€œStringent pursuit procedures guidelines have been established. Authority for the management of a pursuit is vested in the communications supervisor who has the authority to call for the abandonment of the pursuit. Pursuit vehicle drivers then have a clearly defined procedure to follow and report back to the communications centre.
â€¢ Safety is the overriding concern
The safety of the public and staff is to take precedence over apprehending a suspected offender;
â€¢ The commencement and continuation of pursuits must be justifiable
Officers are to determine whether a pursuit can be justified and, together with the shift supervisor in the Communications Centre, re-evaluate the safety risk throughout the pursuit;
â€¢ Pusuit Controllers at Communications Centres have authority to order that a pursuit be abandoned
While drivers of pursuing vehicles have ultimate responsibility for the control of their vehicle, Communications Centres are responsible for co-ordinating the overall management of the incident. Communications Centre supervisor directions, as lawful orders, must be complied with;
â€¢ Further procedures are to be followed when abandoning pursuit
When abandoning pursuit, whether according to the decision of the driver or at the direction of a Communications Centre supervisor, an officer must:
Acknowledge the direction to abandon or notify the Communications Centre that they are abandoning pursuit;
Immediately deactivate their lights and siren;
Immediately reduce their speed to under the posted speed limit;
Stop their vehicle on the roadside as soon as it is safe to do so;
Report they have stopped and give their location to the Communications Centre.
â€¢ Abandonment applies to all police vehicles involved in the pursuit
When a pursuit is abandoned, either at the decision of a pursuing driver or the direction of a Communications Centre, all police vehicles involved in the pursuit are to follow the abandonment procedure.
â€œSafety continues to be the overriding concern and this principle is incorporated in the new policy but as in many other areas of policing, a balance needs to be struck between apprehension and risk. We believe the new policy will make both Police staff and other innocent road users safer,â€ said Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall today