A major review of the police pursuit policy is due to be released to the public today - after more than a year of analysis and investigation into fleeing drivers and chases.

"New Zealand Police Fleeing Drivers in New Zealand: a collaborative review of events, practices, and procedures attached" is a joint review by the police and Independent Police Conduct Authority.

The review comes at the end of The Chase - a four day Herald series looking into pursuits and the people involved.

Police have engaged in more than 30,000 pursuits in the last ten years, during which time 79 people have been killed in crashes.


Others have been killed in pursuit-related incidents including police shootings - and hundreds, including those in the fleeing cars and the patrol cars chasing them, have been injured.

The Chase: To pursue or not to pursue, that is the question for police
The Chase: Fatal pursuit cop warned driver of 'killing your mates' 48 hours before crash
The Chase: mother speaks after fatal pursuit - 'we visit her grave every day'
The Chase: Woman who survived pursuit crash that killed her three mates 'begged' driver to stop
The Chase: Fleeing driver - 'I knew if I drove erratically they would stop chasing me'
The Chase: The rules of engagement for police pursuing fleeing drivers
The Chase: Young offenders playing 'high speed cat-and-mouse' with police
The Chase: Police pursuits a life and death issue - step on it or back off?

As of March 4 there had been 843 pursuits this year and four people killed in crashes.

Three of those were teenagers after the stolen car they were driving in Christchurch crashed into a tree and burst into flames.

A fourth man died after driving into the path of an oncoming truck in Hawkes Bay.

Another man was shot following a pursuit in Kawerau.

Police estimate they are involved in an average of 300 pursuits a month.

This week alone there have been three high profile pursuits in the news:


&bull: In Sunnyvale, West Auckland, the driver of a stolen Mazda Demio failed to stop for police and led them on a chase before crashing into a fence. Police had abandoned the pursuit before the crash.

• A man fled police in Tauranga, leading them on an hour-long chase over the Kaimai Ranges. Officers laid road spikes and after hitting those, the driver crashed the car into a tree. He then escaped from his crushed car, jumped a fence and tried to run away as police dogs chases him

&bull: The IPCA ruled police were justified in pursuing a fleeing driver who crashed into an innocent road user. Carmen Yanko died after a fleeing vehicle collided with her car in Nelson last year. Officers falsely believed the fleeing car contained wanted violent offender Lewis Popata. Fleeing driver Johnathon Tairakena and his passenger Phillip Stretch were also killed.

The purpose of the review, which started in July 2017, was to better understand the pursuit environment, and to identify any current issues with police management of the events.

The review will also identify areas of good practice.

Both police and the IPCA have been tight lipped about the review ahead of its release and both refused to comment on pursuits for The Chase series.

According to a media release from November 2017, the review is including all police pursuits notified to the IPCA between 1 January and 31 December 2017 - about 75 incidents.

Most of those are incidents resulting in death or serious bodily harm.

A ten percent random sample of all other police pursuits occurring between 1 July and 31 December 2017 - about 200 - is also being considered.

The IPCA said all cases covered by the review were being analysed to "identify common themes and issues and identify areas of good practice".

A joint working group has been meeting fortnightly to consider the results of that analysis.

Police were also undertaking a review of international literature and police practice.

"A more general review of all pursuits will enable both organisations to develop a better understanding of pursuits and the management of events," the IPCA statement said.

"This will help to identify opportunities to improve police policy, practice and procedures."

The review was supposed to be completed late last year, but was delayed until today.

It will be released at midday.

Pursuits - the facts

• Since January 2008 there have been 30,950 police pursuits.

• The number of pursuits has increased steadily each year for the last decade.

• During those pursuits, 79 drivers and passengers were killed in crashes

• Police figures show that pursuits are most likely to happen between 10pm and 6am.

• Crashes are more likely at night.

• The majority of drivers are young males and many are driving stolen cars.