Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Blame offenders, not police

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Photo / File
Photo / File

The editor of The Dog and Lemon Guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, who describes himself as a leading road-safety campaigner, is calling for a ban on police pursuits - unless it is in response to the most extreme crimes, murder or rape.

He says having one driver of a speeding car is dangerous; having two, in the form of a fleeing driver and a pursuing police officer, is twice as dangerous.

He quotes figures from 2011 that show five people were killed and 89 injured in police pursuits, including 16 innocent motorists or bystanders. We've had two more incidents this week, yesterday's multi-death smash the most horrific.

It is so unfair to put the blame on the police. Just this week, the Police Conduct Authority criticised the actions of police in a pursuit in Gisborne that resulted in the deaths of three people in the fleeing car and another passenger seriously injured.

I cannot accept that the police are to blame. The sole person responsible for the carnage was the driver, 28-year-old Dylan Kingi, who had four previous convictions for drink-driving, who was driving without a licence and who was found to have twice the allowable alcohol level in his blood.

And this is the sort of individual Matthew-Wilson thinks should not be challenged?

It's unfortunate for his passengers that they suffered such dreadful consequences, but I don't have a speck of sympathy for the driver. I'm just glad he's off the road - forever.

The media must stop inferring that police are somehow at fault - as they do with headlines screaming: "Police chase leaves two dead."

The correct headline is, "Fleeing driver kills himself and his mate". It is the driver who sticks two fingers to the police, and that driver alone is responsible for what happens.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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