Friday, 15 March 2019 - 12:02pm |
National News

Fleeing driver management sound overall but actions will improve practice

3 min read

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today welcomed the release of a joint review into Police’s management of fleeing drivers.

“The decision whether or not to pursue a fleeing driver is one of the most complex, difficult, and serious decisions our staff make.

“All too tragically, whenever drivers flee from us, their actions can cause crashes that seriously injure or kill people,” says Mr Bush.

“We know these are high-risk events with potentially devastating consequences.

These drivers are people’s partners, children, and friends. But drivers who flee are not only risking their lives and those of their passengers, but the lives of innocent people in our communities.”

“Today I want to reach out to all drivers who think that fleeing from Police is an option and say – don’t do it. It is not worth the risk to you, your family, or our communities. 

“We would not be here today if everyone pulled over and stopped when Police asked them to.

“Unfortunately, people are still making the choice to flee from Police.

“So we want to ensure our Police response to drivers who choose to flee is as safe as possible.”

Mr Bush says this is why there have been five major reviews of the Fleeing Driver Policy since its creation.

“It is also why Police partnered with the Independent Police Conduct Authority to undertake the thematic review Fleeing Drivers in New Zealand: a collaborative review of events, practices, and procedures.”

The review examined a collection of fleeing driver events to find common themes and issues, rather than looking at incidents in isolation. It identified what is working well and opportunities for improvement.

“The Review has shown that our staff generally manage fleeing driver events well, affirming the principles underpinning our Fleeing Driver Policy.

“However, there are clear areas we can, and need to improve. This includes improving how some of our staff conduct risk assessment, providing enhanced cognitive-based training for managing these complex and high-risk events, and improving communication between our frontline staff and our communications centres. 

“To address the findings of the report we’ve worked closely with the Authority to develop eight recommendations that will be supported by a substantial Action Plan. As Commissioner of Police, I am committed to ensuring all our staff have the training and resources they need to make the best decision at the time.

“Our officers come to work every day to keep people safe, it’s our job, and we want to make sure we are doing it to the best of our abilities.

“While the responsibility for fleeing driver events will always lie with the offending driver who refuses to stop, the safe resolution of these events is the only outcome Police want to see.” 


Notes to the editor:

The report is available here.

The Review looked at a sample of 268 fleeing driver events. Out of this sample, 159 fleeing drivers were able to be identified. The review found:

• Nearly all fleeing drivers were male.

• More than half were serious and persistent criminal offenders with multiple previous convictions. 

• Around half had been in prison before.

• One third had at least one previous conviction for fleeing police. 


Issued by Police Media Centre