Police pursuit under review after five hurt in crash

POLICE say there will be a “high level of scrutiny” into a Ballarat police chase that resulted in a serious car crash on Sunday night.

Three people were hospitalised after the crash occurred during the pursuit in Wendouree about 7pm on Sunday, after a Holden Commodore allegedly drove through a give-way sign at the intersection of Grandview Grove and Grevillea Street.

Two people in the car being chased by police were taken to hospital and remain in a stable condition, while two of the three people in the other car not involved in the pursuit were also taken to Ballarat Base Hospital, according to Ambulance Victoria.

Ballarat police last night charged a 39-year-old Sebastopol man with multiple offences, including reckless conduct endangering life and negligently causing serious injury.

He was remanded and will appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court today.

"We are looking into our police pursuit policy" - Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill

On a day where Victorians woke to the news there had been three police chases across the state that ended in crashes overnight, Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said there would be internal investigations into all three incidents. The Ballarat crash is being treated as the most serious, with five people in total, including three who were not involved in the incident, receiving injuries.

Assistant Commissioner Hill defended the use of police pursuits, but admitted they were high risk and that the current pursuit policy was under review.

“They (the crashes) will be subject to scrutiny and a comprehensive review,” Assistant Commissioner Hill said.

“We are looking at our police pursuit policy; we are looking at the way we conduct our business.

“Our members are acutely aware of the dangers and risks associated with engaging in a police pursuit and continuing with the pursuit.”

Assistant Commissioner Hill sent out a strong message to people who continued to flee from police, citing there were “three or four” police chases across Victoria each day.

He said in the vast majority of the chases, it was police members who terminated the pursuit.

“I’m concerned that we’ve got drivers here in the state of Victoria that flee our police members, when our police members are going about their business of keeping our roads and communities safe,” he said.

“Why would you put yourself at risk and the broader community at risk when asked to do so? This is a difficult situation that our police confront on a far too regular basis.

“Life is very, very short. Don’t make it shorter.”

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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