20 May 2018

Officers have right to chase fleeing drivers - Police Association

10:21 am on 20 May 2018

Porirua mayor says many in the city would be grieving for the loss of a teenager who died in a police car chase.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Bailey Patmore, 15, from Cannons Creek in Porirua, died in the boot of a stolen hatchback when it crashed off State Highway 1 at Tawa while fleeing police.

It had been chased by a police officer from the Terrace Tunnel in central Wellington.

Mayor Mike Tana said he was deeply sorry about the teenager's death.

"As a parent I feel this loss quite strongly and my heart goes out to ... those people and those families that have to deal with this ... and will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives," he said.

Mr Tana said he was keen to see if there was anything he could do to ensure losses, such as this, did not happen again.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has started an investigation.

The Police Association said the community must follow the rule of law and police have a right to chase fleeing drivers.

Vice-president Craig Tickelpenny said chasing fleeing drivers was one way the police could act.

"If we don't follow some of these vehicles, what's going to happen further on down the track ... that is part of the job to keep people safe within the community, and it comes down to people making poor decisions when police actually are just trying to pull them over," he said.

Mr Tickelpenny said the officer involved was receiving support.

It is the sixth confirmed pursuit-related death this year.