Road is clear for criminals

9 May 2012
, CarsGuide
Road is clear for criminals
Police have stopped chasing criminals because it’s dangerous.

Queensland Criminals are thumbing their noses at police, with officers forced to quit as many as eight car chases a day under Queensland pursuit laws.

Figures show more than 900 criminals have evaded Queensland police since the start of the year, knowing in many situations that officers are unable to pursue them. Logan was the worst area for criminals on the run, with more than 200 offences recorded, followed by Townsville (98) and Oxley (44), between January 1 and April 10.

The figures are up by more than 250 per cent in Logan this year, compared with the previous year, before police pursuit policy was changed. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers wants police to engage in pursuits in all matters, but also wants civil and criminal protections for officers in pursuit.

"The public expect police to engage in pursuits, the public do not expect police to sit idly by while criminals rule the streets,'' he said.

One officer who spoke to The Sunday Mail said: "We want to be able to do our job. But what is more important to the individual officers who understand the consequences is we want to be protected.''

A spokesman for Police Minister Jack Dempsey said he was open to discussing pursuits with the union and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson, but only if it made them safer.

"A stolen car isn't worth the life of a police officer . . . or an innocent civilian,'' the spokesman said.

The LNP plans to introduce laws for a minimum $5000 fine and two-year suspension for people who evade police. Mr Dempsey favours newer technology such as police helicopters.

The policy was changed last year after 19 deaths and 737 injuries since 2000. The Office of the State Coroner and Crime and Misconduct Commission made several recommendations which led to the changes. Police policy states officers can pursue only if the offender is a violent high risk or if they risk taking a person's life.