10 November 2017
Currently, New Zealand Police officers are involved in on average 300 fleeing driver events (commonly referred to as “Police pursuits”) per month. Drivers who choose to undertake high-risk driving behaviour when failing to stop for Police, increase the risk to themselves and the public, including the risk of serious injury or fatality. While these events are challenging, dynamic and complex events, they only represent a small proportion (0.1%) of vehicle stops by Police each year.
Since July this year, the Independent Police Conduct Authority and New Zealand Police have been jointly undertaking a review of Police pursuits. The purpose of the review is to better understand the pursuit environment, and to identify any current issues with Police management of these events. The review will also identify areas of good practice.
The review is including:
· All Police pursuits notified to the Authority between 1 January and 31 December 2017 (estimated numbers 75). Most events notified to the Authority are those resulting in death or serious bodily harm. Police also undertakes its own investigation of these events.
· A ten percent random sample of all other Police pursuits occurring between 1 July and 31 December 2017 (estimated numbers 200).
All cases covered by the review are being analysed to identify common themes and issues and identify areas of good practice. A joint working group is meeting fortnightly to consider the results of that analysis.
Police are also undertaking a review of international literature and Police practice.
The Authority will continue, where appropriate, to report on the outcome of specific investigations. However, a more general review of all pursuits will enable both organisations to develop a better understanding of pursuits and the management of events. This will help to identify opportunities to improve Police policy, practice and procedures.
It is intended that a report will be made publicly available; anticipated to be in late 2018.