Safety first: Cold call replaces high speed pursuit

SUNRAYSIA motorists evading police capture can expect a knock on the door and hefty penalties thanks to the introduction of new police chase protocols.

Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Nigel Hoyle outlines changes to police pursuits.Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Nigel Hoyle outlines changes to police pursuits.Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Victoria Police has ordered its members not to engage in pursuits unless there is a serious risk to public safety, after a review of its pursuit policy found there were safer, alternate methods to chasing offending drivers.

Mildura police highway patrol Acting Sergeant Nigel Hoyle has warned motorists fleeing police for “minor” offences such as speeding or talking on a mobile phone could expect to be hit with penalties far higher than what they would receive if they had pulled over when first requested.

“In some cases, they could be looking at a few years’ imprisonment for evading police,” he said. “(The charges) will have a domino effect – not stopping could be pretty life-changing.”

The changes to Victoria Police pursuit policy require officers to “thoroughly plan vehicle intercepts and consider all available alternatives to an immediate apprehension should the driver of a vehicle fail to stop when directed to do so”.

A coroner’s review undertaken in 2013 recommended the force redevelop its risk assessment policy and “never pursue a vehicle simply because it is fleeing”.

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