When is a high speed pursuit not a high speed pursuit?

By 2 August 2005 131

Following on from our story on 21 year old Clea who is currently in a very bad way in Canberra Hospital after being hit by a stolen car in the small hours of Saturday morning the Canberra Times has a detailed article on the incident and what exactly it was the police were doing.

Luke Bicevskis told the ABC that the cars had been travelling at 80-100km/h when they had gone through the bus interchange and Jeremy Pavlovic said the police car had been very close behind the Commodore.

“They [the Commodore] just zoomed through there with absolute carelessness because they were in a hurry to get out because the AFP car was that close,” he said.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that the miscreants in the stolen car should be held accountable to the full extent of the law. However if the authority figures had chosen a different course of action the kids would be up for a minor car theft charge and a 21 year old woman would be getting on with her life this morning. Some quality time in the room of mirrors would at least be in order one would think.

But the institutional dishonesty of the police still claiming there was no high speed pursuit (a statement I suspect is clinging to a very subtle interpretation of what constitutes a “high speed pursuit”) is what concerns me the most. Police complain about a hostile media, but when can we trust them for anything but the good news?

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131 Responses to
When is a high speed pursuit not a high speed pursuit?
Maelinar 11:35 am
02 Aug 05

methinks society is progressing to the point that all cars need to be fitted with remote control immobilisers.

problem solved for a myriad of issues..

Smackbang 11:44 am
02 Aug 05

“… The Commodore took off really fast and I think the only reason it would’ve is that the AFP car was that close and the sirens were blaring.”

Maye it should have stopped?

I just think that maybe we’re too quick to judge the police. These idiots were probably driving irresponsibly before being pursued, and probably would have continued to do so had the pursuit ended. They are the ones at fault here, first and foremost.

Whether the police should have acted differently is an important question, but let’s not kid ourselves that they caused this accident.

I don’t think you can say that had they acted differently the woman woiuld not have been injured – these reckless fools could have just as easily caused an accident were they not being chased.

gingermick 11:49 am
02 Aug 05

And why do we accept Luke Bikevskis version of events and not the coppers?

Evictor 11:54 am
02 Aug 05

They move the benchmark for what a high speed chase is so that they can ‘honestly’ say that ‘we weren’t involved in a high speed chase’. IF they were chasing that car through Civic at 80 clicks then they deserve to be held accountable. What exactly does a high speed pursuit achieve?

Thumper 11:56 am
02 Aug 05

Begs the question. Would have the outcome had been any different? Would these little hoodlums have driven slowly and stopped at a pedestrian crossing, bearing in mind that they had no problem in stealing a car.

The Police did not cause the accident. It was the kids that stole the car.

F*ck I wish people would take some bloody responsibility in their lives. From reports they were so young they should have been home in bed.

johnboy 12:01 pm
02 Aug 05

All joyriders are a huge safety risk

but if they’re cruising for girls they are going slow.

and if they’re hooning then they tend to do it out on the parkway where at least if they stuff things up it’s their own delinquent parents who will be shedding the tears.

“And why do we accept Luke Bikevskis version of events and not the coppers?”

At any time when comparing conflicting accounts one needs to ask “Who gains from lying”

Given the absolutely rotten record of the police in being honest about these things and no established benefit to Luke Bikevskis in lying I know where i’d be placing my bet.

johnboy 12:08 pm
02 Aug 05

The Pratt has rather helpfully pointed out that the CCTV network should have some record of this incident and could usefully be employed to clear up the discrepancies.

only the guilty have anything to fear.

Tool 1:22 pm
02 Aug 05

Think about it people, how could the version of events as described by ‘my fifteen minutes of fame’ Bicevskis have happened?

If the vehicles have turned in from London Circuit, they would have been travelling at what maybe 20-30km/h tops, then to suggest they have accelerated to 100km/h over the remaining 400m before meeting the next intersection?

Perhaps we should have checked the sobriety level of this clown before we take their comments as gospel.

As noted before, what is there to gain from lying – I am sure the coppers hold slightly more credibility as they are the ones who are going to be in the Coroners Court should the poor girl pass away, not some ‘hero’ bystander…………

johnboy 1:31 pm
02 Aug 05

And the other bystander, Jeremy Pavlovic, was similarly motivated in your view?

Ralph 1:36 pm
02 Aug 05

Is that you vg? We’ve been pining for you.

Tool 1:38 pm
02 Aug 05

I just don’t know why, even after a media release by the cops that it wasn’t a high speed chase, that people think there was. I for one believe a cop who is willing to put his name to that claim in the media as opposed to some guy who I have never heard of and likely never will.

The whole concept seems not impossible but improbable. Would it be more believable if “joe Smith from nowhere said the cops weren’t speeding’ as opposed to ‘Superintendant lala’? Me thinks that is what people believe.

johnboy 2:13 pm
02 Aug 05

Excuse me?

They were following a car travelling at 80km through a defacto pedestrian area.

What sophist definition of “High Speed Pursuit” are you applying in order to swallow that press release Tool?

Tool 2:25 pm
02 Aug 05

And my point is that you are referring to ‘one’ press release, whilst I refer to another.

Who is right, who is wrong? It is a sad day when people are openly talking about corruption by suggesting the coppers are openly lying, and lying on record…

Thumper 2:31 pm
02 Aug 05

Children, settle…..

For one we don’t know the full facts. Lets wait and see.

And for as much as I don’t want to agree with him, the Pratt has the most logical suggestion to date regarding the cameras.

johnboy 2:33 pm
02 Aug 05

I wasn’t referring to a media release, i was referring to your comments.

“I just don’t know why, even after a media release by the cops that it wasn’t a high speed chase, that people think there was.”

I’m reasonably sure that a very narrow definition of truth could be applied to the police statements. But I know how the PR game works and in my view that sort of narrow language to a non-technical audience constitutes deceit.

Police PR, the world over, needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

I suppose all PR does, but credulous fools think the police work to a higher standard that I can’t say I’ve observed.

Jazz 2:33 pm
02 Aug 05

i’ve been chatting to someone else who witnessed the impact. Granted, this is totally hearsay but She doesn’t recall the police being anywhere near fleeing car when the girl was hit. Hardly what you’d call a high speed pursuit.

Tool 2:39 pm
02 Aug 05

Ah Johnboy, I agree with you but can I say this, when we are dealing with the wasted death of a young girl with her whole life ahead of her, I cannot see a PR stunt neing pulled. You should know the cops are a public servant organisation just like everyone, image is everything, and if you can deflect bad publicity by putting an individual to blame it will happen, and it hasn’t happened…

At the end of the day the car shouldn’t have been in the interchange – period!

Love your work Jazz!

johnboy 2:56 pm
02 Aug 05

And the kids shouldn’t have been driving it.

But if everything was done by the book then i’d say, based on the outcome, that the book needs looking at.

bulldog 3:29 pm
02 Aug 05

No point speculating on what may or may not have been a chase; it seems it will be cleared up one way or another.

What’s disgusting is that we have 13 – 15 y.o. kids who are stealing cars, then running from the cops and finally running an innocent down.

Kids don’t wake up one morning and decide this is how they want to spend a day. I want to know who taught kids of that age how to drive? Who taught them how to steal a car? WTF?

The parents and guardians of these kids have blood on their hands as well. This only thing outweighing the tragedy of this event is the outragious actions of these children.

Maelinar 3:34 pm
02 Aug 05

methinks society is progressing to the point that all cars need to be fitted with remote control immobilisers.

problem solved for a myriad of issues..

johnboy 3:35 pm
02 Aug 05

The more adventurous kids in my year were stealing cars and joy-riding from about year 10

let me tell you there was a lot of screaming engines doing 60 in first gear while the figured things out.

most of them have gone on to be fine upstanding members of the community for what it’s worth.

gingermick 4:30 pm
02 Aug 05

Johnboy, you always been anti-copper? Or is there a little incident in the past?


johnboy 4:36 pm
02 Aug 05

Never had that sort of incident.

I’m not anti-copper, in fact some of my best friends are in the police force

But police forces are given great powers and need to be ver carefully scrutinised as a result. And in Australia the record is pretty poor for their ability to keep themselves clean.

And my personal experience of the honesty of the force in their public communications has been a poor one.

mister z 5:22 pm
02 Aug 05

I think we should separate out two things in the statement by Bicevskis – (a) his estimate of the vehicles’ speed; and (b) the proximity of the police. I would say the first is likely to be more unreliable, but even if it is it doesn’t really change his assessment of the second.

vg 5:37 pm
02 Aug 05

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story

sk8erboi 8:08 pm
02 Aug 05

Damn, now the wallopers have more ammo for that “speed kills” rubbish.

Special G 9:01 am
03 Aug 05

Western Australia have imobilisers fitted to cars as part of registration. If you don’t have one no rego. It is a good system that should be in place here.

I have seen Police pull heaps of people over coming out of Pitts car park. Any one of those cars could have caused a similar incident if the driver had decided to run.

Most people are law abiding and if hailed by the Police stop. There are those out there that don’t care. They also don’t care if they steal your car or break into your house.

How pissed were our star witnesses? I know Luke and he doesn’t mind a drop.

Johnboy, you seem a bit cranky over this one.


johnboy 10:03 am
03 Aug 05

I’ll confess that watching the process of the Met in London launch a vilification campaign against a man they’d executed in cold blood has got my blood up, for all that it’s a different force in a different country there are cultural similarities.

My own experience of police media (who are not sworn officers, probably for good reasons) here in the ACT has been such that I trust them not at all.

gingermick 10:09 am
03 Aug 05

Yeah. I have to agree with you re the police media. My dealings with ‘Sandy’ have not been rewarding.

I keep an open mind on the possibility of eye-witnesses being drunk/drugged, cop haters, or famewhores(or any combo thereof).

Vader 10:31 am
03 Aug 05

There are two completely separate issues here: firstly the actions of the alleged offenders, and secondly whether the police were engaged in a high speed pursuit at the time of the incident.

Nobody here is going to voice any support for the alleged offenders. What they did was wrong, and I hope they get put away for a long time if they are found guilty.

Now we come to the actions of the police.

Were they involved in a high speed pursuit through the bus interchage? I don’t know – I wasn’t there, and don’t know any of the witnesses to know what their credibility is.

IF the police were involved in a high speed pursuit at the time (and it’s a big IF), then this would definitely be regarded as a contributing factor in the incident. I say “contributing factor”, not the whole reason for the incident. Ultimately that responsibility has to lie in the hands of the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle.

However, a high speed pursuit through a built up area like Civic (let alone through a pedestrian rich area like the interchange) would be exceedingly dangerous, and should have been called off immediately, even if it meant the escape of the offenders. The risk to human life is simply too high when measured against a property offence (stealing a car).

IF there was a high speed pursuit in progress, then the police are also guilty of lieing to the public.

I guess the truth will come out at the trial.

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