Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Put the blame where it belongs

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A police photographer at the scene of this week's fatal car crash. Photo / Simon Baker
A police photographer at the scene of this week's fatal car crash. Photo / Simon Baker

The headline on the front page of the New Zealand Herald screamed: TWO KILLED IN POLICE CHASE.

A leading news website had: Fatal police chase.

And that sticks in my craw. How about: Two killed by criminal driver? Two dead after failure to stop?

I suppose to the poor grieving families of the couple who were killed, the headlines mean nothing.

To me, though, it seems to suggest that the police were in the wrong and not the disqualified driver who failed to stop when police ordered him to, who ran a red light and who has the blood of two innocent people on his hands.

I'm sick and tired of seeing police having to jump through hoops to justify the actions they take in respect of stopping dangerous drivers.

Police make about 2000 pursuits a year and one in four ends in a crash.

When it's the criminal driver who dies, I don't give the matter a moment's thought. They took on the police and they lost and paid the ultimate price.

Where it's innocent victims who become the collateral damage in the battle between arrogant young nihilists and our beleaguered police, it becomes tougher to stomach.

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that there is a $10,000 penalty for fleeing police but apparently it is seldom imposed. Why not? Fine the buggers, impound their cars, seize everything of value that they own, impose a fatwa for a year.

See if that can help the police restore order on the roads.

In the meantime, sheet home the blame where it belongs.

- Herald on Sunday

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