It is not acceptable that people flee instead of stopping, thus putting lives at danger.
But what also isn't acceptable are the reactions of police and politicians when anyone suggests that the police policy on pursuits may need a rethink.
I wouldn't be holding my breath on any rethink, though, if the attitude of Police Minister Judith Collins is anything to go by. Here is what the Herald reported her saying:
"I get tired of commentators who sit in their ivory towers telling the police what they should do and who live in areas where they've never had to confront real crime.Collins' attitude is childish and insulting. There's clearly a problem, and it won't go away by her calling people morons.
"Anybody who is so moronic to think that someone fleeing police is not criminal activity needs their heads read. Do they think dangerous driving is not criminal activity?
"Police have had years of getting really abused for doing their job and, frankly, I think the public is behind the police and they're getting sick of the police taking a beating every time the police go and do their job.
"The public realise that police just can't stand by and let dangerous drivers take over the roads."
Other police forces around the world have recognised the danger of pursuits and have severely limited the powers of police to initiate a chase. In Milwaukee in the US, for example, the new policy is to pursue only where the suspect is believed to have been involved in a violent offence, or where the car being chased presents a clear and immediate threat to the safety of others and the necessity of immediate apprehension outweighs the level of danger created by a pursuit.
This is quite different to our policy, where the police can pursue anyone in theory, though of course they are required to weigh up a range of factors before proceeding.
The Herald article cited above also reports that the majority of pursuits in this country begin over minor offences. So the bad guys we would be letting escape if we changed our policy really wouldn't be monsters or child-killers.
That being the case, isn't it time we considered a different approach?
And isn't it time the people who express concern about the number of deaths in pursuits weren't vilified by the Police Minister and the Police Association?