The suggestion to implement a no-pursuit policy for young fleeing drivers by the Children’s Commissioner would not make anyone safer on the roads.

The police have the harrowing task of keeping our communities safe. Allowing young drivers to run wild would not yield the best outcomes for communities or innocent bystanders. We need to support the judgement and processes of police as to whether to abandon a chase.  The Children’s Commissioner’s unrealistic policy would give delinquent youth a green light to flee. Young drivers need to be held accountable to stop them continuing this behaviour. If they are not able to be pursued they would get off scot free.

It would be near impossible for a police officer to determine at night, from a distance, and at speed, whether the individual evading them is a young driver.

A two-year review into police pursuits released by Police and the IPCA revealed that the median age of the drivers who flee from police is between 24 and 26. There is no explicit assertion that young drivers are prominent fleeing drivers and the review does not identify a no-pursuit policy as a practical option. What it does find is that the majority of those fleeing from police are male. More than half of them are serious, persistent offenders, with an overwhelmingly high rate of them either disqualified or suspended from driving.

The number of fleeing drivers keeps increasing every year, despite the number of abandonments rising dramatically. This is why New Zealand First has put forward a member’s bill for harsher penalties for fleeing drivers to provide the right legislative tools to prosecute fleeing drivers and provide a necessary deterrent to this senseless and dangerous act.

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP