Many scholars and associations have suggested that the government needs to introduce no pursuit policy so that innocent lives could be protected due to the high speed car chases. However, others argue that no pursuit policy may handicap the law enforcement agencies. These scholars suggest that instead of no pursuit policy, attempt should be made to introduce tough measures so that criminals can be caught without harming others. According to this view, criminals who run away from the police should never be tolerated by the administration. This view has put the blame of negative consequences of pursuits on the administration.
The main argument of these scholars is that it is dangerous to drive fast and put the life of the people in danger, which affects large number of innocent people. Therefore, government needs to take appropriate action in order to save the lives of many innocent victims of police chases. (Watson 2003) However, there is no guarantee that even after the introduction of such tough measures against criminals, they would accept police custody without resistance, since it is found that introduction of capital punishment did not resulted in decrease in major crimes in various states.
Therefore, one cannot accept the argument that administrations’ lack of tough measures against the criminals is responsible for the death of many innocent victims. Research has revealed that police pursuits are dangerous as they may lead to death of and injury to many individuals. Therefore, this aspect deserves special consideration by the administrators. However, while pursuing the criminals, the police face a dilemma as in all the cases they are not able to take right decisions.
While taking these decisions they should consider the impact of their decision on the society. For example, if they refuse to pursue, then, it may have negative effect on the society as the criminals are encouraged to flee. (Hill 2002) It is also argued that too many restraints put on the police may affect their functioning as they may fail to discharge their duties. The main responsibility of the police is to protect the life and property of the citizens.
(Hill 2002) At the same time, insufficient control of police pursuits can lead to the loss of lives of many innocent people. This shows that the government and the police have been facing the dilemma – to pursue or not to pursue. (Hill 2002) It is found that many pursuit-related cases are not reported by the police because according to police many deaths take place after they terminate the pursuit. This has resulted in the lack of accurate data concerning the number of deaths that take place due to police chases of the criminals.
According to one estimate nearly 350 people die every year due to the chase of criminals by the police. However, another estimate places this figure at 2500 per year. This figure has been refuted by the police as they believe that there are actually less number of deaths due to police chases. Nevertheless, the police also agree that the number 350 is too small as in reality more number of people have died or got injured due to police pursuits. Nearly 55000 people every year get injured due to the police chases.
These data clearly indicate that many people are losing their lives without their fault, although the families of these victims do not obtain justice as it is not possible to punish the police for the killing of innocent people who die in the accidents. (Hill 2002) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been collecting data regarding the death of the people due to police pursuits. According to this agency more than 300 people died in 1998 due to police chases. Among these, more than 100 people were innocent victims who were not in any way connected with either the police or the criminals.
(Hill 2002) This can be considered as a huge figure and there is a need to find some solution to this major problem. A major problem in obtaining accurate data is the lack of mandatory report system, which has resulted in the reporting of less number of people who died in the police chases. The study has revealed that many police pursuits death takes place after the people are stopped for traffic violation. This has resulted in the death of one person every day – either law breakers or innocent citizens. (Hill 2002)