Stolen cars ‘not worth police chase risk’

Felix the Cat 25 August 2007 19

From the Daily Telegraph

SUSPECTING that someone is driving a stolen car is not a good enough reason to start a police pursuit through the streets of Canberra, a review has found.

The review follows a string of accidents, some fatal, involving police chases in Canberra in recent years.

It also said the benefit of chasing an offender for traffic or driving offences would hardly ever outweigh the risks.

[ED] – Its not good form to just reproduce someone elses story in full. Feel free to link and provide your thoughts in the body of the story instead.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
19 Responses to Stolen cars ‘not worth police chase risk’
Mike Crowther Mike Crowther 9:24 pm 06 Sep 07

When a vehicle speeds away from a Police stop, how are the police to know whether the driver is running because the car is stolen, or because it has a dead body in the boot? Should we allow the perpetrators of any crime to escape because the police aren’t allowed to catch them? Unless there is some way to endow our police with ESP, they need to be supported in their efforts to rid the road of menaces. There are people in our community who have absolute contempt not only for you and your property, but for the safety of your family. Often for an offence that, in this town, attracts little more than a good behavior bond they will happily drive at high speed into oncoming traffic, through red lights and along footpaths. This problem will not be solved by appeasement. An eye to the pathetic sentences handed out to those responsible for the last two Police chase fatalities may serve as an indication as to where the real problem lies, and it isn’t with the Police.

JD114 JD114 4:31 pm 27 Aug 07

The finding by the review only goes to highlight the creeping dumbing down of the judicial and government processes. It is obvious to any blind freddie with a drinking problem and only four working brain cells that if the unsavoury elements in town were given an inkling that escape from the cops would be as easy as ‘step on it dude’, the ramifications across the broader spectrum of society would end up being much much worse than the occasional and slight risk to life limb and property that the current guidelines entail.

Perhaps in future such reviews need to have the following clause inserted into the terms of reference: “Furthermore, it shall be a requirement that the person conducting this review will firstly have more than three working brain cells and secondly he or she will think beyong his or her initial prejudices and feelings and think of the bigger picture.”

Maelinar Maelinar 8:56 am 27 Aug 07

This just highlights that the police just need to review their tactics. Bring on caltrops.

Thumper Thumper 7:51 am 27 Aug 07

Here’s a novel idea, anyone caught stealing a car goes to gaol for two or so years.

Do not pass go.

Special G Special G 6:55 am 27 Aug 07

Don’t you people see. If the Police just backed off and let these people go about their daily business there would be a lot less problems.

el el 8:24 pm 26 Aug 07

Yep. The police don’t ‘decide’ to start a pursuit. They assume that by turning on the sirens/christmas lights the idiots they’re trying to pull over will pull over.

SGS SGS 7:33 pm 26 Aug 07

Couldn’t have said it better myself Scott.

What I do seem to find funny is they way the baddies who start the pursuit aren’t given anywhere near the same level of grief as the Police who are just trying to do their jobs. Whenever a pursuit goes bad, it always seems to be the Police who are at fault… Do we forget that someone was actually breaking the law… Like i said in my first post… damned if they do, damned if they don’t…

I don’t think there’ll ever be an answer to this debate.

Scott Scott 1:23 am 26 Aug 07

Police forbidden to chase criminals? What sort of a bunch of wankers are running the show in Canberra.

How about these guys instead criticise the judges that continue to grant bail to the desperate and dangerous re-offenders in our society!

jemmy jemmy 10:39 pm 25 Aug 07

I was in WA when that whole debate about stealing/chasing was going on. They said one point in favour of chasing was that often the perps had oustanding warrants for other things, catching two birds with one stone sort of thing. I have no idea how accurate that statement was though.

asp asp 10:31 pm 25 Aug 07

smack, One would not necessarily need unmarked vehicles. Both marked and unmarked could be used. In both cases, they would need to remain a distance back and hopefully, if the offenders do realize there being followed, they will try to act cool. After all, any speeding or evasive action would only make police more suspicious. But yes, it is certainly not a complete answer. And in the US, it rarely works for the tough and serious crims. But it has been very successful in dealing with drunk drivers and joyriders, situations like the one in which Clea Rose was killed.

DJ, you bring up an interesting point. Immobilisers are great, but has anyone else seen Mr Minit and Key King advertising that they can now replace immobliser keys for major car brands. I have to say this is quite concerning. If it takes a special code and $150 to order one from the company, the chances of someone getting one that can open my car is slim. But depending on how Minit and Key King do it, who knows?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:16 pm 25 Aug 07

I trust that the police have had enough training to know when it is and isn’t worth the risk

Human beings are completely and utterly shithouse at assessing risks at the best of times. Throw adrenaline, machismo and childhood memories of being Batman into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

DJ DJ 9:15 pm 25 Aug 07

Why not make it harder for the minority who steal cars? In Western Australia I was unable to register my car without an engine immobiliser fitted. I don’t know what the statistics are as a result but why not bring it in in the ACT? Can’t steal it, can’t use it….

smack smack 8:31 pm 25 Aug 07


whilst I dont entirely disagree with point, it is one that is much eaiser said than done. An unmarked Police car is just that, unmarked. It is not covert. It is quite easy to identify an unmarked Police vehicle if you know what to look for, and some members of the community, who regulary deal with Police know this too. So if you suspect you are being followed by an unmarked, you speed up a little, act a bit evasive and according to the pursuit guidelines (I had a read) if Police are still following you, then they are in a pursuit and will turn on the lights and siren.

That said I’m sure many of the Pursuits are instigated by marked Police vehicles. They would have to stop the pursuit and hope that an unmarked could find the vehicle again, which I would not imagine to be easy.

The community expects that Police drive around in marked Police vehicles, which provides a presence in the community and act as a deterent to some who may commit crimes.

Im sure the Police would, if they could, follow a suspect until the offenders stop the vehicle. An easy fix to this problem would be to put all Police in unmarked vehicles but would we, as members of the community be happy? I think not.

A helicopter would be ideal, but very expensive.

If Police didnt pursue for traffic offences, I would take off my number plates, speed around, never stop when signalled to by Police, they couldnt purse me and I would never get a dam ticket again.

My two cents.

asp asp 7:22 pm 25 Aug 07

I believe that unless someone is in immediate danger, the more sensible method should be to use covert pursuit of suspects. In many jurisdictions in the US and UK, Police now follow at a distance of in unmarked vehicles until the persons stop anyway, at which time they are arrested. This greatly reduces the risk to the community and to police and more often than not, requires less resources and time.

In any case, all ACT Policing vehicles should be equipped with a 20mm M61 Vulcan (, to bring a quick end to a pursuit if suspects do run:)

Special G Special G 7:03 pm 25 Aug 07

An ACT funded Police helicopter which is in the air at all times except when refueling and changing pilots would enable it to follow the offending vehicle and offenders making it much safer. Maybe Mr Rose and friends could foot the bill.

TAD TAD 6:52 pm 25 Aug 07

I agree no more pursuits.

Police should shoot at the cunz instead

GnT GnT 2:19 pm 25 Aug 07

The Canberra Times has the views of Clea Rose’s family here.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 1:52 pm 25 Aug 07

Just to be perfectly clear, SGS is not me.

And as far as I’m concerned, suspecting that someone is driving a stolen car is a very good reason to chase them. I trust that the police have had enough training to know when it is and isn’t worth the risk to chase someone, and would therefore know when to abandon the chase if necessary.

SGS SGS 9:50 am 25 Aug 07

This is bound to raise some interesting discussions… It really seems the Police are damned if they do and damned if they don’t…

While I agree 100% that the death of an innocent person can ever be justified, what is going to happen if the bad guys know that all they have to do is not stop and they’ll get away.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site