Crusher Collins is back

Judith Collins (Paul Henry)
Judith Collins (Paul Henry)

Police Minister Judith Collins is backing the boys in blue amid calls for a rethink in their pursuit strategy.

Her comments come after a number of crashes during police pursuits, the latest of which saw a baby hospitalised after car lost control in a pursuit near Kumeu. 

Ms Collins says there is too much focus on police,  who she says are just doing their jobs,  and not enough focus on the criminals.

"I was shocked to find out the other day that we've got 2300 of these of these situations of fleeing driver instances every year. I think the focus needs to be on the people who are actually offending, why they think they can get away with it," she told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

She says there needs to be tougher consequences for people who flee, such as having their vehicles crushed.

"What I want to do is to look at - are there other ways that we can look at how we deal with this, not just on the police side but actually on the penalties of offenders?"

Earlier this week the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) said there was "room for improvement" in how police approach fleeing drivers.

But Ms Collins says police can't just back down and give the roads over to criminals.

"What [the IPCA] is saying is, police shouldn't pursue these very dangerous drivers on the roads and frankly I'm not someone as a Police Minister who's going to suggest to police that they give over the roads to criminals and turn them into, if you get into a car suddenly you've got some sort of sanctuary against police. I'm not going to do that."

She says over the years "we've put all the blame on police who are trying to stop criminals do very dangerous things and the focus actually needs to be on what's driving behaviour in the first place."

She calls suggestions police do nothing "totally unacceptable" and is going to discuss the subject with police.

"We need to change the way we're thinking about it, I'm going to talk to police, we'll sit around and we'll do a bit of brainstorming but they are the experts in this and I'm actually getting really sick and tired of people blaming them for doing their jobs and I'm not going to sit around and not back them."