Another police chase ends badly

Skidbladnir 19 December 2007 123

According to the The ABC, the Clea Rose coronial inquest is due to publish findings today.
But in a bad case of unfortunate timing, the ABC are also reporting that a 17 year old male is in a serious condition after a bungled police chase last night.


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Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 1:12 pm 27 Dec 07

Well, I’d say judges get their fair share here. I just have to say Terry Higgins and these guys will start barking.

They did a good job with the 17-year old who ran away. The fact that he crashed into a tree was his own fault. I hope I made that clear in that topic.

vandam vandam 1:09 pm 27 Dec 07

DMD, Fair call in that Police need to be accountable, But lets be realistic here, No matter what Police do, there is always someone who camplains. It’s not very often you here a forum started about what a great job the Police did. There is a need to be accountable, but gees, What about other organisations that should be accountable, ie firies, doctors, government, judges, etc etc. The list goes on, however it always seems to come back to the cops.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 11:18 pm 26 Dec 07

It seems like that, Vicepope. But as you said, it’s alot different from immunization. The main part is that there are alternate measures to combating car crime. Plates, descriptions (which work only sometimes), backing off and following at a safe distance (like the case in the other topic), harsher penalties for evading police (which would probably stop most of the ‘aw, I don’t want a DUI – slam the pedal’ types) and I’m sure the law enforcement tactical geniuses have a few other tricks up their sleeves.

The other main part is that with vaccination, you are generally trying to save lives, not property. As other people have said, no car can ever be worth someones life, ever.

VicePope VicePope 10:06 pm 24 Dec 07

I agree that the coppers should be accountable – and they are, in a number of ways. (Professional Standards for the small stuff, Ombudsman oversight for a lot of stuff, Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner for corruption, inquests, evidence giving in criminal matters, being criminally charged, Legislative Assembly Committee hearings on pretty well anything). This is how it should be.

Where it gets icky is trying to work out how much collateral damage the community is prepared to put up for the sake of law enforcement. My previous post suggested it was difficult – it might be impossible. For example, if the police do a number of chases in a given period and, by catching perpetrators and sending a message to potential offenders, they reduce significantly the amount of serious crime (ie fewer people murdered, kidnapped, raped, robbed etc). Are we happy to accept some level of unavoidable by-product in the form of noise and fright, damage to property, personal injuries or death? If we want the police to go after only those villains who put their hands up when challenged, we might as well replace them with social workers.

The immunisation analysis might apply here. Immunise a million people and, say, 1000 will get sick, 100 will get very sick and 10 will die as a result of the immunisation. Is it worth doing if it saves 100 lives and corresponding sickness from the illness? The logical answer is that it is, but that’s cold comfort if it’s your child who dies. The police chase thing is just more complex because of the number of variables in it. If you apply the Current Affair/Today Tonight test, whatever the police do will be able to be portrayed as wrong. If they act, and someone dies, they will be abused for causing a death (largely ignoring the role of the idiot being pursued). If they don’t act, it’s a case of “Canberra, where car thieves/armed robbers/whatever thumb their nose at the law”. No win.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 7:42 pm 24 Dec 07

Vicepope, I know it must be hard to be a copper and I honestly do feel sorry for the amount of sh-t they have to put up with. I will always be the first to welcome more funding and more numbers to the Afp, because they bloody need it.

But, regardless of the difficulties of the job, they must always be held accountable to the public, simply because without that accountability, without the public having the right to criticize their actions, we lose an essential democratic aspect of our society. The guilt trips people try to push on critics always annoy me for this reason. Many pollies have hard jobs, even personal cost, yet none of us feel guilty for criticizing them – and we shouldn’t.

Okay, that’s it from the DMD newsroom this christmas. I’m about to eat a fat turkey and some prawns and boiled eggs and kaviar and god knows what else but it smells nice. Have a merry christmas all (except you, BigDave) and a happy new year. Have safe holidays too, so you’re fit to come back and have heated arguments whilst we should be getting work done (follow the last one BigDave). Cya’s.

astrojax astrojax 11:18 am 24 Dec 07

it may seem counter-intuitive, but if you investigate it, the numbers would stack up…

what does our proud local think of the concept, i wonder?

merry festive everyone – ‘m orf now. bon noel and eat chocolate (and don’t try to run from the law, huh??) ; )

BigDave BigDave 10:09 pm 23 Dec 07

Astrojax – Don’t think so.

VicePope VicePope 8:36 pm 23 Dec 07

This must be a terrible issue for those responsible for law enforcement. If you go after people who are demonstrably committing an offence, and they try to get away, only two things can happen. The police chase with a view to catching the offender but, in doing so, expose the ublic to considerable risk from both the pursued and the pursuers. Or the police note the event as evidence and think about going to catch the villain some other time. And this puts the maintenance of law and order in disrepute – if there is no chance of being chased and caught, more people may offend. As well, a criminal would know that all he/she has to do is put the foot down – and that, in itself, will lead to more accidents.

Any analysis that talks about whether a chase is worthwhile ignores two things. First, while the stolen car or previous traffic offence may be relatively trivial, there is still an offence. Second, it requires a matrix where no risk, some risk substantial risk and serious risk of collision has to be ticked off against the gravity of the possible offence in assessing proportionality, having regard as well to other factors (such as record, probability of other offences, driving skill of the offender and the police pursuer etc). It’s all too complicated to set simple rules.

The really nasty little problem is that any form of law enforcement carries some risk to the general public. Is society prepared to say that the risk of some collateral damage (in these cases, the death of an innocent person and the unbearable grief and sense of injustice of that person’s family) is worth it? If it’s not, then we might as well give up on the idea of systematised law and return to retribution by the victims.

handles handles 7:33 pm 23 Dec 07

Problem with all these theories, is that no one considers what evidence it takes to put the person before court.

Comment by vandam — 22 December, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

The nail hit fair square on the head!

vandam vandam 3:54 pm 23 Dec 07

All I can say is that with the Clea Rose thing, once that kid saw the Police, they had no idea what actions or streets he would take. As mentioned above. The kid saw Police even before the chase started. Police barely had enough time to catch up to the car, before it could be called a ‘Chase’. I think the Coroner’s decision is a good one. There are strict measures Police have to follow in regards to pursuits. And more often than not, they get terminated anyway. You know there are probably about 10 pursuits a week. your lucky to catch 1 or 2. The rest get away and remain unidentified.
Is what canberrans want is at least (only according to pursuits) 8 people getting away with serious crimes a week? The next thing will be why aren’t Police catching the offenders.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 1:33 pm 23 Dec 07

Maybe if you read my comments, you’d see.

“Vandam – perhaps a solution would be to make it a more serious offense to evade police, thereby giving that drunk driver a greater penalty than what he would have had he stopped?”

Shush BigDave. Waddle back to the fridge and help yourself to some ice-cream, but be careful – the cyclists might get it first!

Sands Sands 1:30 pm 23 Dec 07

I think we’ve established earlier that it’s not about letting them go, it’s about not pursuing the vehicle in dangerous conditions – ie, populated or suburban areas. If it’s an open wide freeway then I don’t think anyone has an issue. That’s my take anyway.

astrojax astrojax 1:24 pm 23 Dec 07

actually, dave, not pursuing [in peopled environs like near civic] would probably see such a small increase in incidence as to be negligible. if they only catch them after someone else gets hurt, what’s the point? and often enough the plice ‘know’ the offender and can apprehend them later, so probably in practice there wouldn’t be much difference.

the maiming and killing is, after all, usually associated with the panic of being pursued, not just the random driving about…

so you could be, to answer your question, a whole lot stupider…

BigDave BigDave 1:03 am 23 Dec 07

DMD is on another f**king planet as usual. Yeah, let’s not pursue. Let them go so they can maim or kill somebody somewhere else.
Does that work for you? How stupid can you possibly be???

Special G Special G 7:08 pm 22 Dec 07

How about this for a change in regulations to protect the innocent bystanders.

Police are given greater powers and bull bars. In case of pursuit they punt car off the road (providing safe for pedestrians) thus ending pursuit and catching bad guy.

This does two things:

1 – ends pursuits quickly with decreased risk to ublic albeit increased risk to offender.

2 – sends clear message to offenders that should they run they are putting themselves at greater risk than if they just stop.

DMD – Until someone invests a mobile EMP to disable cars have you got another option. You have spouted a fair bit about your dislike of the police and about regulation changes, but I am yet to see any options put forward.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 2:30 pm 22 Dec 07

I still think the regulations should be change, regardless of my personal convictions surrounding the coroners findings. High speeds pursuits are bloody dangerous and human life will always take priority over property. Even in America, they’re looking at alternate solutions. Why can’t we here, now the issue has been raised?

Vandam – perhaps a solution would be to make it a more serious offense to evade police, thereby giving that drunk driver a greater penalty than what he would have had he stopped?

vandam vandam 2:25 pm 22 Dec 07

DMD, even though that theory makes sense, the Problem Police have is that when they get to the address sometime after the idiot is home. All he needs to say is ‘Sorry guys I knew I should’ve stopped. I couldn’t stop thinking about, I’ve been drinking since I got home’ They do say that, then all you have is a fail to stop charge.

Problem with all these theories, is that no one considers what evidence it takes to put the person before court.

MRB MRB 1:40 pm 22 Dec 07

DMD, it was written in the CT the day after the juvenille gave his evidence. Naturally, as it was the CT and it wasn’t critical of police, it wasn’t plastered on the front page.
I still prefer to go on the evidence of the juvenille along with the video footage. Are you saying the young offender was lying? What on earth would he have to gain by lying?
Some witnesses said the police were doing 80-100km through the interchange, some said they were doing 20km. Under the circumstances of the night, including the consumption of alcohol, I would be very cautious in relying on witness accounts.
DMD, you obviously don’t agree with the finding of the Coroner. Like it or not, that is now a matter of public record. She was presented with all the evidence, including that of witnesses, and came to a finding. She clearly stated that the pursuit had nothing to do with the death of Clea Rose, and in fact commenced after she was struck. Therefore, your continued questioning of the actions of police is completely irrelvant. Time to move on.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 12:36 pm 22 Dec 07

But is it worth risking someone’s life for it?

sepi sepi 11:51 am 22 Dec 07

Taking down the number plate is useless for stolen cars.

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