Revealed: Shocking number of young Kiwis killed in police pursuits

Revealed: Shocking number of young Kiwis killed in police pursuits
Photo credit: Newshub.

Official police statistics show several young people have died and dozens have been seriously injured fleeing from police in the past three years.

Information released to Newshub Nation on 18-year-olds and under involved in police pursuits, reveals nine young people died and 36 were seriously injured in police chases from 2015 to June 2018.

One incident occurred in May, when a stolen car driven by 15-year-old Ihaia Maxwell crashed in Palmerston North while fleeing police. Twelve-year-old Meadow James also died in the crash and another 15-year-old passenger received serious injuries.

More recently a baby was rescued from a car police had pursued in Porirua.  

A review on police pursuits by the Independent Police Conduct Authority is currently under way and expected to be released later this year, a welcome relief to Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

"I don't think we've got the settings right and from my point of view as Children's Commissioner, I hope we bear in mind that the cohort we're talking about can make the most reckless and irresponsible decisions under pressure," he told Newshub Nation last month.

According to a 2009 report on police pursuits, 36 percent were initiated after a vehicle refused to stop due to a traffic offence, not punishable by imprisonment. Most were for speeding or not having lights turned on.

There has been a total of eight deaths (of all ages) following police pursuits this year. Ten died after fleeing police in 2017 - up from two in 2014.

Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing Sandra Venables said that fleeing drivers were a high risk and put themselves, police and the public in danger.

She said every incident was different and urged drivers to always stop if signalled by police.

Newshub Nation.

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