Gaining an insight into the mentality of fleeing drivers has seen Northland police sit down and talk with those convicted of or involved in pursuits.
The number of pursuits in the region has continued to climb over the past decade which is inline with national figures.
In 2010 police were involved in 145 pursuits across the region but that jumped to 268 last year.
Police pursuits, particularly those that end in tragedy come under close public and media scrutiny.
Northland police prevention manager Inspector Chris McLellan said incidents involving fleeing drivers were treated seriously as members of the public and police staff were put at risk.
"The decision to flee puts everyone at risk. Clearly there is an increase in the numbers and they are high-risk incidents."
He said, over the years, there were more police working in the region carrying out road policing duties but there did seem to be a willingness for drivers to flee.
Northland police had led the way with an initiative that saw officers interview those convicted of fleeing from police.
McLellan said interviewing fleeing drivers gave police an improved understanding of motivations, behaviour during pursuits, evaluation of police practices, and provided opportunities for prevention and deterrence.
"The more skills and knowledge officers have the better position they are in to deal with these incidents as they occur," McLellan said.
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Over the past 10 years the numbers of pursuits continued to climb and in 2019 Northland had five more pursuits recorded than central Auckland with 263.
The local rise in fleeing driver is part of a nationwide trend over the past five years.
John Williamson, chairman of Roadsafe Northland and Northland Road Safety Trust, said police had strict protocols for pursuits which were managed from a control room.
"Police are the best people to decide if a pursuit should continue or not."
He said some times the statistics looked horrific with young, unlicensed drivers driving at significant speed.
Police statistics show while not solely a youth issue, young people made up a large proportion of fleeing drivers in New Zealand around 16-20 per cent of fleeing drivers are under 20 years old, and the majority , 63-75 per cent, are under 30.
One of those involved in a police pursuit and waiting to be sentenced later this month in the Whangārei District Court is 31-year-old Adam Tipene, a forestry worker from Onerahi, who has pleaded guilty to numerous charges stemming from a police pursuit and then a fight in which Tipene stabbed a police dog twice in the head in 2018.
During a trial, evidence was given by Sergeant Conan Brown about a police pursuit involving Tipene who was driving a stolen car and led police on a chase from central Whangārei to Parua Bay before crashing and fleeing about 2am.
Brown said the vehicle was stopped on Bank St but failed to remain stopped and was driven off and headed along Riverside drive where speeds of up to 100km/h were reached. Tipene then continued to increase his speed to 140km/h and drive on the wrong side of the road.
At one point Tipene stopped and Brown said he could see reverse lights come on so he stopped and reversed.
"The reversing lights came on and that indicated to me he was going to attempt to ram us," Brown said during the trial before a jury and Judge John McDonald earlier this year.
On Whangārei Heads Rd Tipene continued to drive at speed and was "straddling the centre line". Brown said there were multiple times when Tipene stopped the car, reversed, and tried to ram the police car, before eventually crashing off the road.
Following another pursuit last year 25-year-old Liam Lomas was jailed for two and a half years after what Judge Greg Davis described as a "prolonged period of bad driving".
Lomas was "stoned on methamphetamine" when he fled from police.
During the pursuit heading north on SH1 Lomas went in and out of traffic and undertook motorists, forcing oncoming vehicles off the road. Lomas undertook a vehicle but clipped its rear, causing it to travel 100m on the wrong side of the road and spin 180 degrees.
He was forced on to a grass verge but continued to drive at speed. However, the car was damaged and became inoperable, eventually stopping near Puhipuhi.