Bendigo Police Defend No-Pursuit Policy

The decision from police to stop engaging in pursuits is saving lives, Bendigo police say, after two run-ins with dangerous drivers in the city over the weekend.

The driver of a Subaru drove at officers on Sibley Place in Strathdale on Sunday morning, before fleeing the scene.

Another driver sped away from police at speeds in excess of 150 kilometres per hour on McIvor Highway on Sunday night, driving through a red light at Reservoir Road.

On both occasions, police were unable to pursue the vehicles.

Senior Sergeant Mark Edwards, of Bendigo Highway Patrol, said a change in policy in July – in which police can only pursue vehicles after extremely serious offences – has made the streets safer.

He said police had a number of means to track people down, instead of engaging in pursuits.

“The data is telling us that the number of crashes from pursuits is down, that it’s just not happening anymore, and that’s what we want,” Senior Sergeant Edwards said.

“Three type of people who engage in pursuits: individuals on traffic matters, drug users and more serious criminals, who display more sinister behaviour.

“In all of these instances, it’s safer not to chase them.”

He said the policy change meant criminals were even more accountable for their actions, rather than blaming police for causing crashes.

Read more in Bendigo Advertiser.

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