Sunday, June 28, 2009

Police Car Chases

News today of yet another fatal crash involving a police chase. Can I put it to you that the police should NOT be allowed to chase vehicles on our roads, no matter where or why?
In life today, it seems to me, there are many, many rules and regulations that attempt to avoid death and injury, and some of these rules are quite obscure and 'only' save a few lives here and there. If it's your life of course, then they are very good rules indeed.

Allowing police officers to chase car thieves and the like, however, does seem an outstandingly obvious area which should be tightened up. I don't care how many cars get stolen, it's still not worth a life (or lives) to catch the thief.
And I don't care how stringently the police say their drivers are trained, because the moment they set off in pursuit of an excitable teenager in a stolen BMW, everyone for miles around is in grave danger. Let them get away, catch them later using forensics or something, but DON'T chase them. Surely?

It's one of my pet topics, so I'll raise it again, but wouldn't it be interesting to see some really clear statistics on car chases. How many car chases per year involving the police are there? How many result in catching the thief? How many result in death and injury?

If the answer to that last question is more than one, then I suggest we make them stop doing it.

You're 14. You've fallen in with some bad mates. They have a few bottles of cider one night and decide to pinch a car. You end up in the back seat, lurching around, having a laugh. Suddenly there are blue flashing lights behind you. Your 'mate' driving the car panics and puts his foot down. Suddenly he's lost control and the car bounces off a kerb, and the last thing you see is the lamppost that's going to cause your death.

Or. You're out walking the dog. It's a pleasant evening, you cross the road to chat to a neighbour. There's squeal of tyres behind you and you turn to see a terrified teenager at the wheel of speeding car heading straight for you, closely pursued by the old bill. Your life is extinguished because the police were attempting to prevent the theft of an ageing banger.

So... maybe the cops should be issued with bubble cars, as above?

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