Yesterday (20th January 2008) around 7:45pm we heard police sirens all around our area for about 10 minutes.
We then watched as a young guy in a late model white Commodore sedan roared up Newdegate Street in Deakin, with a marked police car, siren and lights on, in hot pursuit. Both cars would have been doing at least 80kmh in this quiet, narrow, suburban street. We waited for the almighty crash at the top of the street, but were relieved to hear they managed to negotiate the T intersection without slamming into the traffic on MacGregor street.
I used to be an advocate of police pursuits (catch ’em and throw the book at ’em), but after witnessing first hand the scary speeds that the cars were doing in residential streets, I now feel that there is far too much potential for severe injury, or loss of life.
This is a really tough subject: if this guy was running from the police after a violent crime, should the police chase him no matter what? Should the police do the same if it’s a case of a stolen car, or possibly a traffic infringement? Should the police only continue a chase if it’s “safe” to do so, and who decides what is safe? If that was the case, word would get around pretty quick that all you had to do to avoid being caught is head into a subarban area, where the police would have to back off.
I had the feeling that this pursuit was really going to end one of two ways: that the police would relent because of how dangerous it was getting, or that it would end with a casualty. Neither result is good.
Hopefully, it ended with the unlikely result of a clean arrest with no injuries …