A research paper into people who flee police has found they feel they will be treated as guilty anyway so carry on driving.

As for youth, their lack of cognitive development was a "significant" factor as was risk taking and the want to elude police.

Sandra Venables, Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing, said the release of the findings today were timely given the death of Kenneth McCaul, 64, on Tuesday when a car, being driven by a 17-year-old, crashed into his vehicle while running a red light at a Christchurch intersection.

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The teenage driver was expected to be released from hospital yesterday, while four passengers, all aged in their teens, remained in hospital in a moderate condition.

Venables said the tragic incident made the work police were doing even more important.

"We are committed to making our roads safer and that's what the fleeing driver
review and its recommendations are about."

Meanwhile, a paramedic has spoken of his frustration at the behaviour of teenagers involved in a crash two weeks ago in Christchurch.

A young passenger in the car which fatally smashed into an innocent driver - broadcast an Instagram video from his hospital bed where he admitted travelling at 140km/h and running a red light at Rangiora two weeks ago.

The paramedic - who Newstalk ZB agreed not to name - told Chris Lynch he attended the crash in Rangiora where a teenager rolled their vehicle at high speed.

He says the scene was immediately flooded with friends wanting to take photos for social media.

In March, police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority released the thematic review Fleeing Drivers in New Zealand: a collaborative review of events, practices, and procedures, Venables said.


Police were today releasing the first quarterly report on their response to the review of their management of fleeing drivers.

The report showed police were focused on implementing the action plan which saw police currently working through eight different recommendations.

"One of the main points out of the review was the opportunity to ensure our staff are appropriately applying Police's risk assessment tool TENR [Threat-Exposure-Necessity-Response]. So we have been working on developing new scenarios for training our people to ensure better understanding and use of TENR," Venables said.

Under this programme of work Police have also been reviewing the current training for Comms Centres and the Police Professional Driver Programme.

One of the recommendations from the review was to research the motivation of fleeing drivers.

"The paper suggested that attitudes towards police and a perceived presumption they would be treated as guilty have an impact on driver behaviour and the choice to flee. For youth, cognitive development is also a significant factor, as is risk taking and the want to
elude police," she said.

As part of delivering on the Action Plan, police had been investigating new technologies.

"If there is technology available that would contribute to the safety of these events, then we want to look at those options.

"I want to reiterate that the safest choice in these events is for the driver of the vehicle to pull over and stop when signalled to do so. It is not worth the risk they are putting themselves, their passengers, and other road users in if they choose to flee.

"Police is focused on continuous improvement around our management of fleeing driver events. While it is ultimately the decision of the driver to flee from Police, it is vital that our staff are continuously monitoring their response to ensure it is aligned with our TENR risk assessment tool."

Key findings

• Young people in general, are more likely to have negative attitudes towards police, and less willing to comply with vehicle stops.

• Negative interactions with police strongly influence perceptions of police,

• The most consistent finding was young people want to be treated respectfully and not presumed guilty when they feel they have done nothing wrong,

• Literature supports the theory young adults lack self-control and ability to control emotional,

• Youths, especially men, who engage in risky driving are more likely to engage in other risky behaviours.

• Some have personality traits of "sensation seeking and reinforcement
sensitivity, through to planned behaviour and discounting of risk".

• There was "an important distinction" between those who show intention or willingness to flee police.