'There's got to be a better way' – grandfather of police chase victim calls for changes

The grandfather of a young man who died in a police pursuit is appealing for officers to "find a better way" of dealing with drivers who don't stop

It follows a major report into police pursuits, which found there's been a big increase in them. Between 2011 and 2017 the number went up by 63 percent.

Over that period 38 people were killed when fleeing drivers crashed, 280 suffered serious injuries and 649 suffered minor injuries.

But the report has concluded police should still be allowed to chase. It says what they need is more training and stronger oversight.

Ihaia McPhee Maxwell  was 15 years old when he was killed after a police pursuit.

A stolen car, a chase and a crash that also killed his passenger - 12-year-old Meadow James.

And while he doesn't blame police - Ihaia's grandfather Dennis Maxwell says the chase had much too high a cost.

 "There's got to be a better way," Maxwell told Newshub.

The review was a joint effort between police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

It found the "existing fleeing driver policy can provide the necessary balance between public safety and public protection by the apprehension of offenders".

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says this means police can and will keep chasing.

"The finding, which I support, says the current approach is fit for purpose."

But Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft says this is wrong - calling for police to have a one year trial of stopping chasing young drivers.

"When the police know the person behind the wheel is suspected to be a young person then in my view they shouldn’t pursue unless there is a compelling reason to," Becroft told Newshub.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority's Judge Colin Docherty admitted it just reviewed the policy, rather than consider other options.

The report came out just an hour and 40 minutes before the Christchurch terror attack. It was overshadowed. But Maxwell says it is an issue that needs sorting.

"It takes three days to get to a burglary, so if we can get them by another means we should."

The police profile of an offender says: It is male, an average age of 24 and half are "persistent and serious" criminal offenders who have been in prison.

 But the report also shows 18 percent were under 17, just like Ihaia Maxwell-McPhee.

It's a complex problem with a big cost and no real solutions.