Teens baiting police into high-speed pursuits 'incredibly stupid'

By Ophelia buckleton

Superintendent Steve Greally revealed a concerning trend in the Auckland area which involved thrill-seekers trying to flee from police and filming the mayhem that followed. Photo / John Borren
Superintendent Steve Greally revealed a concerning trend in the Auckland area which involved thrill-seekers trying to flee from police and filming the mayhem that followed. Photo / John Borren

Young drivers are baiting police into initiating high speed pursuits - all to secure dramatic footage, the national police roading manager says.

The number of drivers fleeing the police jumped from 2300 in 2014 to 2900 in 2015.

Last year, the number was at 2400 by September - the last month for which provisional figures have been released by Police National HQ.

Talking to the Weekend Herald, Superintendent Steve Greally revealed a concerning trend in the Auckland area which involved thrill-seekers trying to flee from police and filming the mayhem that followed.

"We have some young people who have decided it's a good idea to bait police and film it," he said.

"Unbeknown to them the risks are so incredibly high."

In the Auckland region, the most significant rise happened in the Counties/Manukau area with the number of fleeing drivers rising from 352 in 2014 to 499 in 2015.

In one incident, a group of teenagers filmed themselves being chased by police in South Auckland, which was shared on YouTube.

"Driving on the wrong side and all, cuz," a passenger said in the video as sirens rang out.

AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon expressed concern about the trend.

He said it appeared teens committing these offences were hoping that if they drove dangerously enough, police would abandon the pursuit.

"It's incredibly dangerous and incredibly stupid," he said.

"You are not only putting yourself and those in the vehicle you are driving at risk, but also endangering all of those on the road, including police."

Noon's advice to drivers is: "It is never going to be better to flee than to stop.

"The chances of your vehicle crashing in a pursuit are very high."

Transport researcher Glen Koorey said the rise in fleeing drivers could also be due to a shift in police policy and public perceptions.

Updates made to the fleeing drivers policy, since 2015, allow any officer the decision to abandon a pursuit.

Recent police chases involving teenagers include five youths who were hospitalised after crashing into parked cars in South Auckland last year.

In November 2016 eight young people faced charges after a police chase involving a stolen vehicle. Four cars were wrecked in the chase before the stolen Honda was stopped by road spikes and rolled onto its roof.

Also in November, five youths aged between 15 and 18 were arrested after the stolen car they were driving was involved in a police chase. Two of the teenagers were hospitalised when the car crashed.

- NZ Herald

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