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Victoria Police get green light for pursuits

AAP logoAAP 27/07/2016 Kaitlyn Offer and Melissa Meehan

The chase is back on - Victoria's controversial police pursuit policy has been relaxed after carjackers took advantage of strict rules preventing chases.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says the new policy will give officers the discretion to decide when to engage in a pursuit.

He said it was a step back from a more restrictive policy introduced in July 2015 in the wake of coronial recommendations.

But he refused to explain when a pursuit could take place.

"What we've found, particularly over the last 12 months, is you've got pretty educated criminals out there," Mr Ashton told reporters on Wednesday.

"In our debriefing with them they pretty well know chapter and verse exactly the types of offences we will and won't (pursue for) so we often don't talk about a whole range of methodologies for that reason."

Victoria's controversial police pursuit policy has been relaxed, giving officers greater discretion to decide when to give chase. © Ten News Victoria's controversial police pursuit policy has been relaxed, giving officers greater discretion to decide when to give chase. The former policy prevented police chasing vehicles linked to theft or minor traffic offences, drawing criticism from the police union for giving hoons a green light.

Mr Ashton also responded to criticism there is less visibility of frontline policing in the wake of a wave of home invasions and carjackings in Victoria.

"(People are) more scared than they should be, I can tell you that, because we've never been more visible than we are now," he said.

The Chief Commissioner pointed to a 10 per cent rise in arrests as proof current policing methods were working.

"We are absolutely committed to being highly visible," he said.

"Part of the reason that the crime rate is up is off the back of the arrests our people are making."

Police Association Victoria boss Ron Iddles said police were happy with the new pursuit policy.

"I think it's simplified it, it's made it easier. I think there will be more pursuits," Mr Iddles told 3AW.

"I think the communication that went out in relation to the first policy wasn't good.

"Members considered it as a no pursuit policy when in fact it wasn't.

"The policy has again changed to relax it slightly, so I think you'll see more pursuits."

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