Southland Police say they’re concerned at the “reckless and dangerous behaviour” displayed by some local motorists, including instances of drivers failing to stop when signalled.
“We want the community to know this is happening,” says Southland Area Commander, Inspector Mike Bowman.
“This type of reckless and dangerous behaviour poses a significant risk to our staff, the public and the driver.”
Insp Bowman said fleeing drivers present a high risk to everyone involved and can result in irrevocable consequences.
“Police do not want to see anyone needlessly die or be injured on our roads – including fleeing drivers,” he said.
In 2016, Police amended its fleeing driver policy, empowering the officers in pursuit to make a decision to pursue based on TENR (Threat-Exposure-Necessity-Response).
“Southland Police are committed to our roads safer and will always assess the risk of pursuing fleeing drivers.”
Instead of pursuit, Police can follow up with other investigation techniques, witnesses, officer knowledge and avenues of enquiry to identify the vehicle and driver so they can be held to account, he said.
“Police in Southland are continuing excellent work in investigating and handling fleeing drivers.”
“An example of good decision making in Southland is the Police response to an incident on 27 January where a driver failed to stop for Police but thanks to officers on the scene was arrested a short while later.
“The one thing Police want everybody to understand, is if they’re signalled to stop by Police, they should pull over and stop.
“It is not worth putting your life, your passenger’s life, or anyone else’s life at risk.
“Police in Southland are actively ensuring that drivers that flee are being investigated and put before the court,” said Inspector Bowman
If you fail to stop or remain stopped for Police, you could be prosecuted for:
• Failing to stop for red and blue flashing lights – $10,000 fine
• Dangerous or reckless driving – $4500 fine, 3 months’ imprisonment and mandatory 6 months’ disqualification
Police also have the power to seize vehicles for 28 days in these types of incidents and there are additional powers requiring the registered owners of vehicles to provide details of passengers and drivers of fleeing vehicles.
“Family members and friends also need to step up and try deter this kind of behaviour – otherwise risk losing loved ones to dangerous driving,” said Inspector Bowman.
People in the Southland community can call Police on 111 if they are witnessing dangerous driving or 105 after the fact.