A group of teen offenders in custody at a youth justice facility have spoken up about why they flee police - giving rare insight into a growing and often fatal issue in New Zealand.
The teens have shared their own experiences of fleeing police, explaining why they put their foot down - repeatedly in most cases - and what they think of police who chase them.
They say a fear of police, not wanting to get caught in stolen cars or with stolen property or simply being on drugs are the main factors for taking off.
On teen said he got "anxious and lost in thought" when he saw officers behind him.
"Because I don't want to get caught, and let my family be told I was the driver or passenger of a stolen car," he said.
"So that's when my actions take over my thoughts, they become blank... I begin to start getting paranoid because the police are not stopping or will not stop and give up… this is when the actions of my driving becomes even more dangerous, reckless, unsafe and unpredictable."
In March the Herald published The Chase, a four day series taking an in-depth look at pursuits ahead of the release of a major review on the polarising police practice.
Police have engaged in more than 30,000 pursuits in the last ten years, during which time 79 people have been killed in crashes and hundreds injured.
Previous reviews into pursuits have revealed 40 per cent of drivers who don't stop for police are under the age of 20 and a further 30 per cent between 20 and 29 years old.
As part of the series the Herald spoke to experts about why younger drivers are more likely to flee police, including criminologist Greg Newbold.
The Chase: 'I'm not at peace' - pursuit death haunts cop
The Chase: mother speaks after fatal pursuit - 'we visit her grave every day'
He suggested teens fleeing police don't care about the consequences - they are often high on adrenaline and most of the time their decision to flee came down to the thrill of the chase and trying to replicate what they see on television or play on Xbox or Playstation.
"They are trying to be their own heroes in their own movie, that's all it is," he said.
"They see car chases on games and in movies all the time and they think it's heroic and in the superficial way they think it will be exciting to do the same thing.
"They don't realise what the actual consequences are and I think that's why they take off."
The series was shown to youth offenders at Auckland youth justice residential facility Korowai Manaaki as part of their reading programme.
They were invited to write their own response to the experts, and those were shared with the Herald .
For legal reasons the boys cannot be named.
READ THE TEENS' FULL LETTERS BELOW
But most are well known to police for offending - often serious and repeated.
Oranga Tamariki youth justice system development director Phil Dinham said the responses were "interesting".
He said the boys views were not indicative of all teens at the facility but offered firsthand insight into the mentality behind fleeing.
"They are not always trying to be some kind of action hero… many of them have extremely negative views of police," he said.
"Across Oranga Tamariki we are trying to make sure we share young people's views - sometimes we don't agree with what they say but it gives us a chance to engage with them, to challenge attitudes and change behaviour.
"These letters formed the basis of some really good discussion with staff, we try to get into that mindset and see what we can do to change it."
Dinham said the boys conveyed that they were "not all idiots high on drugs".
Some were very simply terrified of the police.
He said the letters showed the boys were aware that pursuits were scary and that they were "losing control" of their actions.
"That enables us to say 'okay, when you find yourself in that situation again, what are the things you can do to change that behaviour?'," Dinham explained.
"How they can self regulate, understand... What would make them take a step back and think about the consequences?
"What would make them think 'hang on, I don't want to be on the front page of the newspaper and have my whanau coming to my tangi, what can I do differently'."
Dinham said OT had started to work with police to challenge the behaviour of young people and hoped to increasingly bring officers and offenders together to "have conversations" that could help them understand each others' points of view.
Part of that was encouraging and helping young people get drivers licences.
Many did not hold them and that was why they fled police.
"Cars in the wrong hands are very dangerous things," Dinham said.
"If they are going to drive, let's make them feel proud of driving well and learn the rules of the road.
"A lot of the young people who flee don't have a licence and they are worried about being caught - if we can do something about that, get them a licence, they might protect and value themselves more."
Dinham said OT and police were committed to working together on that.
"It's good to not just be adults talking at young people," he said.
LETTERS FROM THE INSIDE: TEEN OFFENDERS ON FLEEING POLICE
Teen 1: I don't like the way police treat me
I disagree with many things that were said about young drivers fleeing from police.
They say that the cause is that we replicate what we see on PlayStation, television, Xbox or often because we are on drugs.
Part of it could be true but I can only speak on my behalf.
The reason why I flee from police is that I am often high or the vehicle is stolen.
Also I have things that do not belong to me or I feel defenceless.
I also don't like the way the police treat me or so-called "young criminals".
I reckon the police abuse the authority they have by trying to be some kind of heroes themselves.
They must like giving kids a hiding.
Some kids may also feel threatened by police for what they have witnessed and experienced from them before.
I am a young fella who has been in trouble since I was 13 stealing cars, joyriding, and ram raids.
I am now 16 years of age.
Why I did what I did was that I just wanted my own income - but was too young to work so I thought that doing what most young people now days was going to last forever.
So this is why young people like me often flee from police.
We are confused and know what they can do to us is abuse the authority they have.
Youth two and three: offenders will drive at fast speed to 'escape'
From my point of view I say that young offenders commit crime for numerous reasons, like how they seek attention of fame in the criminal world.
Youth offenders usually have their own area that they come from, north, west, east and south.
In these areas youth offenders have their own group of friends also known as youth gangs.
Most of the time these youth gangs offend for money, drugs, labelled clothes, alcohol, cigarettes and many other things that's worth taking.
Youth offenders usually plan to steal, rob, or hurt people for things they want.
Once they have taken what they want, they usually have a getaway car or escape route they would take.
Most of the time youth offenders get stolen cars as it is fast to get away in.
The offenders will drive at fast speed beyond the legal speed limits.
At this point, members of the public would observe the reckless driving, loss of traction due to speed, and lack of knowledge for road codes and safety.
To the dangerous driving of the offenders, police would be informed of the unsafe driving in a public area.
At this stage police will be searching for this car and the driver followed by passengers in the car as well.
As soon as the youth offenders are aware of the police in sight, and know the police are in search of them, they try and avoid being apprehended by police.
Once the siren and red and blue lights have been activated by police, offenders will know they're in position of a police pursuit.
Due to my experience of being the driver and also being a passenger of a police pursuit, I always get anxious and lost in thought of what to do, because I don't want to get caught, and let my family be told I was the driver or passenger of a stolen car.
So that's when my actions take over my thoughts, they become blank because, my actions have over powered my thoughts to what could happen to me or anyone else.
During the time of being in a police pursuit I begin to start getting paranoid because the police are not stopping or will not stop and give up.
Because they haven't stopped, I know they have to pull off the pursuit if it becomes too dangerous to continue due to safety of themselves, the driver, passengers of the car and the members of the public.
But when the police have not stopped this is when the actions of my driving becomes even more dangerous, reckless, unsafe and unpredictable.
In the end someone gets hurt, if not physically then emotionally.
In other cases some offenders steal cars for fun, being bored or need to get somewhere too far to walk.
People who take cars for fun just joy ride for as long as they want to.
After a few hours or days, police will be looking for a car that was reported stolen from owner or user of the car.
The offenders who joy ride usually get caught off guard driving in a stolen cars in search of police and owners.
When they see police they either stop, or pull a police chase and hope to get away from them.
Youth four: our adrenaline goes up, but so does our fear
It makes me wonder how people call themselves experts but haven't experienced or been in a high speed chase.
They get all their expertise from what they read and what they see.
Not everyone thinks in the same way.
Everyone is different and everyone in a high speed chase thinks differently.
I agree and disagree with some of this information.
I agree that our adrenaline does go up but so does our fear.
I know for a fact that we are not trying to be heroes in our own movie.
And most of the reasons we crash is because the police ram or try and spike us off the road.
And to me that should be counted as attempted murder or manslaughter.
Police replicate what they see on the movies too by trying to ram and tail gate us off the road but their brains are fully developed.
So you tell me, do police think about the consequences when they chase us?
Youth five: I recall times I chose to pull a chase
From my point of view, and experience towards this issue, I recall times that I chose to pull a chase and not stop for red and blue flashing lights.
I have many reasons to why I never stopped, but I never tried being a hero in my own movie as said in the article, and I have never tried replicating what I've seen on television or video games.
In this article it says "since January 2008 there have been more than 30,000 pursuits, hundreds of crashes and 79 deaths".
However I think that if police pulled off the chases that have ended in crashes or deaths, I highly agree that those numbers of crashes and deaths would be minimised to lower numbers.
In this article it also says that "those drivers don't think about the consequences of their actions".
In most ways this is true, speaking from what I know is experience.
Police also don't think about their driving and the input they have towards a chase.
I know this because I have seen a lot of things the police are not legally allowed to do while in pursuit.
From my view I know some police abuse the authority they have as police, knowing they can cover their dirty tracks.
For example they may be willfully following the law, still chasing while it is unsafe and dangerous, beating up the offenders when they are captured from pursuit.
They may do somethings they know is wrong and still cover their dirty work as police.
For all the things they might have done wrong as police, sometimes they might not report what they did wrong, and record a false statement.
In this article it shows a record of more than 30,000 police pursuits, it doesn't show any record of the offenders who chose to pull over and not pull a pursuit.
My point is no one sees the good, they only see the bad.
Some example for what youth offenders do that are good is, pulling over and not pulling a pursuit, being compliant with police, showing remorse by writing an apology letter to victims and police for what they have done.
From what I've seen happen in my experience of being in pursuit, there were times police should have pulled the pursuit off due to speed, reckless driving and loss of traction.
In these times of danger, police should have no choice but to abandon the pursuit.
The Safety of the police, offenders, and members of the public need to be taken more seriously.
Safety is supposed to prevent crashes and deaths due to police chases.
In all 79 pursuits that have ended in deaths, I highly agree there were times of the pursuits when the police should have pulled off due to safety, but they didn't.
I get thoughts of all the deaths in pursuits, but my point is has anything changed?
How many more deaths before anything does change?
I strongly agree that if all those 79 deaths were all police, that lost their lives chasing offenders, that something would change due for safety and whatever other reason there is.