People who drive like maniacs while evading police are playing Russian roulette with all of our lives.
Two recent high profile pursuits in three days is just the tip of the iceberg in WA, with statistics revealing there were almost three pursuits every day in 2015. From just 322 pursuits in 2010, this figure has more than tripled to 1,029 last year.
With a significantly higher number of offenders choosing to do the wrong thing and evade police, we must act now to stop these reckless drivers before they seriously injure or kill more innocent people.
The last thing my Members want to see or deal with is another tragic outcome like the one we saw on Saturday night. Police officers are ready and willing to do something about it, but it will require intestinal fortitude from Government and courage from the Commissioner to support and facilitate this new initiative.
Pursuits should and will continue, with the assistance of tyre deflation devices and occasional air support, but what’s missing is the option for police to forcibly stop offending vehicles.
The current WA Police policy requires police officers to abort pursuits when they become too dangerous. Thanks to do-gooders and disclosure, offenders are acutely aware of the termination provisions, which they breach at the earliest opportunity to ensure free reign.
Overseas policing jurisdictions have used proactive intervention for many years to bring police pursuits to a swift end. Techniques such as boxing-in, pit manoeuvres and road blocks are regularly utilised.
We saw last week how a well-executed, textbook manoeuvre brought an hour-long pursuit to a successful conclusion and there should be more of it.
Lawfully continuing this type of action in WA will need the support of Parliament, with legislation allowing proactive intervention to take place, while protecting police officers in the process. WA Police will also need to provide additional driver training and modify vehicles to ensure that offenders can be taken out during a pursuit at the earliest possible opportunity, once appropriate risk assessments have been undertaken.
If supported and enacted, this will be an Australian first that will send a very strong message to the idiotic drivers who evade police and put everyone’s lives at risk.
We know that pursuits are inherently dangerous, even more so with most offenders under the influence of illicit drugs and driving stolen vehicles. Allowing police officers to end pursuits sooner, in certain circumstances, will significantly reduce the risk to other road users.
Frustratingly, most recidivist offenders are already on bail or have warrants outstanding and they are well aware that a mandatory term of imprisonment awaits.
Advocates of political correctness may want to stop reading now to avoid choking on your cornflakes: This initiative will increase risk for offenders, but like most of the silent majority, I couldn’t care less if a person who evades police is injured. The blame sits squarely on their shoulders for any injury caused to themselves or others, as they choose not to stop and can pull over at any time.
The outspoken minority are quick to point the finger at police when something goes wrong, however, full responsibility rests with the driver of the fleeing vehicle.
The use of these tactics will ultimately reduce high-speed pursuits and deadly carnage on our roads.
Damage will be caused to police vehicles and those being pursued, but if it saves innocent lives, it will be a price well worth paying.
My Members and the community have had enough of these thugs wreaking havoc and destroying lives, so it’s time to turn the tables and take back our streets.