A man whose daughter was killed in a car fleeing from police says it’s insanity to encourage further pursuit.
Two years after tightening rules on chasing getaways, police are now trying to relax them again.
Most of the drivers who didn’t call the police to stop have never been caught, but parents who killed their children in such high-speed chases said the price of arrest was too high.
Tony Jarvis’ daughter, Carlene Maygon, was a passenger in the car that fled the police. She died in 2010 at the age of 20.
“In the 10 years since I lost my daughter, 70 people have died. You know, not only 70 people have died, but 70 families have died,” Jarvis said.
“Not only did my daughter die, but I died that day, too.”
Jarvis said it would be insane to encourage further pursuits, especially given the death of a getaway driver in Dunedin just two days ago.
“Police know the decades of police investigations and the number of innocent people who have died, but when tragedy strikes over the weekend, they step up police investigations and hope for a different outcome. Is there? That’s madness.”
Police Chief Andrew Koster said the new rules balance safety and criminal accountability.
It also took into account the additional harm criminals could cause if they were not caught, the people said.
“There are risks to the public whether we pursue them or not,” he said.
“We strive to meet the public’s expectations of apprehending serious crimes and to perform our duties in the best possible manner, recognizing that we do not wish to increase the risk to the public.”
Sunny Kaushal of Dairy Farmers’ Group agreed that police need to be able to track escaped criminals.
“If a criminal has committed some crime and is on the run, the police must chase them. They must arrest them before they do something else,” he said.
“They are risks to the whole community.”
Police Association President Chris Cahill said the number of people fleeing has increased 106 percent since the number of chases declined.
There will likely be more deaths under the new rules, but there was no perfect getaway driver policy, he said.
“People are demanding that the police track these people further, and they should understand that this may result in injuries and deaths.
“When that happens, a lesson-learning approach needs to be taken rather than punishing police officers who are trying to get that balance right.”
But for Dion Stone, the trade-off was unacceptable.
His daughter, Georgina Stone-Te Hara, was also a passenger in a vehicle fleeing police in 2010. Like Carlene Magon, she was 20 when she died in an accident.
Mr. Stone wanted to know the different methods used to catch criminals.
“How much of that property would we want returned? How willing would we be to see him imprisoned for murdering another?
“The police either know who the culprits are and where they’re going and either pull back in some way or they need better tactics.”
Koster said the police will regularly review the results of the investigation and fine-tune the new rules if necessary.
Written by Soumya Bhamidipati RNZ.co.NZ