Commissioner Andrew Coster reveals police to change fleeing driver policy

Police have revealed they will be making revisions to the fleeing driver policy.  

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement on Tuesday following engagement with staff and stakeholders, they've agreed to update their policy next year after changes were introduced nearly two years ago.

Coster said during this time, police have seen a significant increase in fleeing driver events and a significant decrease in the proportion of offenders identified.

"However, our data also shows a decrease in the number of people killed during fleeing driver events," Coster said. 

Feedback on the revisions has been sought from police staff as well as key partners including the Police Association, Independent Police Conduct Authority, and Children's Commissioner.

"We know there is a desire for change and a perception that offenders are more brazen and more willing to take risks with their driving behaviour," Coster said.

"The revisions will bring us back to a more balanced position, while still prioritising the safety of officers and the public."

The policy changes will see the introduction of a Fleeing Driver Framework, which will provide clarity for staff on when a pursuit may be justified, including the weight given to the threat of further harm if the offenders are not apprehended immediately, Coster said. 

Police will reveal more information on the policy next year.

"We continue to work through details including implementing the amended policy and plans for staff training, with the framework expected to take effect before the middle of next year," Coster said. 

"Fleeing driver events are volatile, unpredictable, and high risk to everyone involved. I want to thank our staff for the work they do every day to keep our communities safe, and for the consideration and decisions they make."

Coster believes the updated policy will achieve more balance while accepting there is no perfect solution.

"Drivers who choose not to pull over for Police when instructed put themselves, our staff, and the public at risk," Coster said. 

"The one thing that will always remain at the forefront of this policy is an acknowledgement of that risk, and that safety must always come first."

It comes after Coster announced earlier on Tuesday that police would be more visible and have an increased presence in areas facing the most harm from retail crime. 

Coster said police will also broaden a gang-focused operation to intensify efforts to target prolific offenders.