13 Oct 2010

Police minister backs officers in pursuits

4:59 pm on 13 October 2010

Police Minister Judith Collins says she wants front line officers to have greater powers to deal with less serious offences.

Speaking to the Police Association conference in Wellington on Wednesday, Ms Collins said criticism of police over high speed pursuits or tasers is nonsense.

She says New Zealanders will not respect a police service that is soft on offending or bows to political correctness, and she wants officers on the beat to be given more discretion about handling offenders.

Ms Collins said New Zealand has the best police force in the world, but it has no shortage of critics.

Two deaths on Friday after a high-speed chase in the Bay of Plenty have brought the total number of people killed in relation to pursuits this year to 18, the worst on record.

A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority earlier this year questioned whether police should engage in high-speed pursuits over minor offences such as speeding or theft.