RLC in the Media: Police rebuff Peter Dutton on pursuits

Redfern Legal Centre's Police Powers solicitor, Samantha Lee speaks to David Murray from The Australian about NSW's policies on police pursuits.

The Queensland Police Service says a restrictive pursuits policy is saving lives and protecting its officers, rejecting a recent call from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for a review to stop criminals fleeing. 

Pursuits are one of the most contentious issues for police ­nationally, and the issue was raised after Queensland constable Peter McAulay was struck by a suspected stolen car in ­September.

According to Mr Dutton, however, 

“The anti-chase law is dangerous and a green light for criminals to steal cars and joyride,” he said. “Premier Palaszczuk should review the laws. More people are going to suffer at the hands of these criminals.”

Queensland tightened its chase policy after a spate of 10 deaths in police pursuits between 2005 and 2008 which effectively stopped police pursuits unless it involved a threat to life or serious crime. There have been no deaths during pursuits in Queensland since the safe driving policy was revised.

RLC is also calling for a more restrictive approach to chases in NSW, saying officers have a “large degree of autonomy” with pursuits compared with interstate colleagues. 

“The RLC would like to see NSW follow the lead of other ­jurisdictions,” said Samantha Lee, head of police ­accountability.

Read the full article here. (David Murray, Police rebuff Peter Dutton on pursuits, The Australian, 18 November 2018).