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Police Pursuits: A Law Enforcement and Public Safety Issue for Queensland

NCJ Number
Gabi Hoffmann
Date Published
40 pages
The analysis and recommendations contained in this report are intended to encourage the Queensland Police Service (Australia) to adopt a more restrictive policy regarding high-speed pursuits.

The report is based on an analysis of police pursuits in Queensland from 1997 to 2002. The findings indicate that the Queensland Police Service (QPS) recorded an average of 630 pursuits a year, with traffic/driving offenses being the most common reasons for pursuits. Eleven people (3 fleeing drivers and 8 passengers) were killed in pursuits over the last 5 years; no police officers were killed. Eight of the 11 people killed were being pursued for traffic/driving violations, and 2 of the people killed were being pursued for being in a stolen car. Most people who were injured or killed were not the fleeing drivers. Up to 29 percent of the people injured in pursuits were police officers, and approximately 29 percent of all pursuits resulted in a collision. There was a significant decrease in the proportion of pursuits that resulted in collisions between 2000-01 and 2001-02. One in 10 pursuits resulted in police vehicle damage. This report recommends that the QPS adopt a more restrictive pursuit policy that, at a minimum, prohibits pursuits for traffic/driving offenses. It further recommends that the concept of "disengaging" or "following" be removed from QPS pursuit policy and explicitly disallowed. Lights and sirens should always be required in pursuits unless there are extraordinary reasons not to use warning equipment. Wherever possible, directions in relation to the initiation, conduct, and termination of pursuits should be written in terms of an "order" to ensure strict compliance with policy and procedures. Debriefing and ongoing training should be used to ensure that officers are aware of and know how to implement pursuit policies. Also, the QPS should review the adequacy of current methods and systems used to collect, store, and analyze pursuit data to ensure that the data provide accurate information on pursuits. 7 tables, 18 notes, and 28 references