Dangerous Pursuit

Video: dangerous police rider pursuit

Video of a dangerous UK police pursuit of three unregistered trail bikes through city streets has again put police pursuits under question.

The officer pursued the three riders who rode at almost triple the speed limit, on footpaths, through red lights and the wrong way down streets because the bikes were not registered and therefore not insured.

Seems like a flippant reason to endanger the life of the rider, other road users and pedestrians.

It follows three rider deaths in the past year in Australia after high-speed pursuits were started, but then called off.

In the UK pursuit, West Midlands Police caught only one of three riders, Owen Guest, 20, by using a stinger to deflate his Kawasaki’s tyres.

He was charged with dangerous driving and driving without a licence or insurance.

He was given 14 months in a young offenders institute, suspended for a year, and ordered to abide by a curfew and do 80 hours of unpaid community work. He was was also given a two-year driving ban and his bike was crushed.

The video does not show at what speed the riders were illegally riding their bike before the pursuit started, but it seems they went wild once they were pursued.

Dangerous pursuits

A leading police study has found the three most pressing issues for police reform around the world are use of force, policing of violence in families and high-speed pursuits.

A 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology study found deaths in custody at police stations are declining but “deaths in custody” as a result of high-speed pursuits were rising.

While less than 1% of police pursuits results in a fatal crash, 38% of the people killed are innocent bystanders.

It’s much worse in the USA where one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. Of those deaths, 1% are police, 55% suspects and 44% bystanders.

Most police procedures acknowledge the judgement of the officer at the scene to begin a pursuit.

However, continuation of a dangerous pursuit is then deferred to a senior officer at the station or headquarters.

They have to make a quick judgement based on how dangerous the pursuit is to the community versus the lethal risk to the community of letting a serious offender escape.

This must be backed by information, not just mere suspicion.

Queensland police figures show only about 3% of pursuits involved imminent threat to life or a suspect escaping after a homicide.

Police have a duty to not only prevent and control crime, but more importantly, they have a duty to protect the community and that includes from their own reckless behaviour and judgement.

Click her to read about a police and media pursuit that encouraged a motorcycle rider to perform stunts for the cameras.

Police pursuit pursuits
TV chopper captures pursued rider performing stunts

Restrictive practices

Despite criticism from police unions, most pursuit policies around the world, including the USA, are becoming more restrictive.

In many jurisdictions, pursuits are only allowed if there is a serious risk to public safety or in relation to a major crime involving death or injury.

However, there is an issue about making these pursuit policies public. Some say they should be public to show transparency while others believe it would give criminals clues on how to evade police.

Those who support pursuits point out that the number of people evading police is rising as a result of more restrictive pursuit policies, despite higher penalties for evading police.

Making the issue more complex is the degree of the pursuit.

Should there be an upper speed limit for police? Should police be allowed to break other road rules in the pursuit?

There have been incidences of police driving at more than 200km/h in a pursuit and on the road side of a major highway.

Another issue is whether police should be criminally culpable in the instance of a death resulting from a pursuit.

To a degree, technologies such as CTV, helicopters and number plate recognition cameras, negate the need for pursuits, anyway.

* What do you think about police pursuits? Leave your comments below.

  1. ,”Video of a dangerous UK police pursuit” – actually dont see anything that dangerous – public get out if the road, as they should when they hear a siren, police apprehend the guy – no one crashes and no one injured – bit of a beat up. I’m hardly any police forces fan but in thus case cops have no choice then to persue

  2. Saw a video of the end of a long dangerous pursuit in the U.S. recently. Cops not catching him and the driver (a car in this case) taking horrible risks with innocent bystanders and road users. As he fled down one straight stretch of road a cop appeared on the side of the road, leveled his shotgun and literally stopped the driver dead. Pursuit over.
    I must admit to mixed feeling on re-watching the clip but finally decided that regardless of why drivers flee they all seem to share the attitude that there is no consequence for their behavior so let’s go for it! Allowing deadly force would I suggest, bring in the concept of consequence whilst removing a deadly menace from our roads. Interestingly enough, police here in Victoria are able to shoot at cars in certain circumstances… times are changing.

  3. You don’t know what it’s like in the UK. These guys on stolen trail bikes harass other road users, pedestrians, everyone. Throwing fireworks at people, running into them, lobbing bricks at cars, snatching purses and mobile phones. You can look up Bikelife Halloween rideouts for examples. It was terrible a couple of years ago, when word got round that the police weren’t allowed to chase riders without helmets. After a LOT of restive public pressure (most of it coming from normal motorcyclists who are registered and road-legal) the authorities finally put this sort of crime higher up on their list of priorities. We, the public, want these people dealt with. Your perspective on this matter (blaming the cops) is baffling – maybe you’re getting out of touch. 99% of us are just normies here, remember.

    1. Hi,
      So why was he not charged with any of those offences?
      You can’t assume someone has committed an offence.
      Police powers should be questioned, monitored and kept in check by the community in a robust democracy.
      If not, then you end up with a police state.
      Cheers,
      Mark

      1. If the bike had no plates you would probably assume it was stolen. The thieves have taken to assaulting riders with hammers and acid and using grinders to cut chains in Broad daylight. I think most UK riders would applaud this. And I might point out over here each time one of these. Thieves /ureg/unlic idiots kills or hurts themselves it is added to the stats for us all

    1. If the rider dies that’s arguably just Natural Selection at work. It’s the maiming and killing of innocent parties that’s the problem.

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