Police cars were involved in more than 250 crashes last year

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Words: Nile Bijoux
23 Apr 2019

More than 250 police vehicles were damaged in collisions last year as aggression towards police rises, according to local media.

National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said that while the number of incidents was similar to previous years, 2018 saw a notable spike in aggressive driving towards police. Greally said that more people are willing to “ram” police vehicles

Eight crashes involved U-turning police over 2018, three happening in Auckland, one in Canterbury, one in Otago, one in Waikato and two in Wellington. In 2017 there were just three - one in Manawatu, Canterbury and Southland.

The crash in Manawatu was caused by a U-turning police officer, who turned into the path of a motorcyclist whilst engaging in a pursuit, leaving him with a permanent disability.

Greally said that if police caused an accident, they were treated like anybody else.

The 2017 Manawatu incident had an effect on the recent report on how NZ Police treat fleeing drivers.

Seven final recommendations came from the review:

- Improve the police driver programme and staff understanding of TENR (Threat, Exposure, Necessity, Response) during fleeing driver events.

- Improve the skills of all staff involved in fleeing driver events.

- Review the fleeing driver policy against the review findings.

- Investigate whether units should be able to use their vehicles to stop offending vehicles that continue driving despite having their tyres spiked.

- Improve post-event follow-up to strengthen accountability mechanisms.

- Review the role of the Air Support Unit (Eagle helicopter) and clarify its role.

- Explore ways of improving the communication centre's access to real time information.

- Commission further research and analysis of fleeing drivers to improve understanding of their motivations.

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