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WA police union want to ram in pursuits

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The WA police union says officers should have the right to ram cars during pursuits, to stop offenders who are fleeing.

Known as the precision immobilisation technique, or pursuit intervention technique, the PIT allows police to tap a vehicle when they come up beside it so that it loses control and police can take action.

WA police union president George Tilbury says that criminals are killing innocent people on roads and they can't stand by and do nothing.

"Additional options need to be implemented for police to consider during pursuits and one of those is the use of force," he told 6PR radio.

He said the PIT manoeuvre is used in Canada, the US and the UK, but not in Australia.

The comments come after a Perth couple, grandparents Glenys, 60, and Kevin, 66, died this week after a car being driven by their son was hit by a vehicle fleeing police.

Their son, Michael, is in a critical condition in Royal Perth Hospital with life threatening injuries. The family has requested their surname not be used.

The 16-year-old boy accused of being involved is in custody and has been charged with manslaughter.

Former police minister Michelle Roberts said that implementing PIT manoeuvres would be a radical step for any jurisdiction in Australia, but the proposal shouldn't be immediately dismissed as the union is putting the idea forward in good faith.

Acting WA police commissioner Gary Dreibergs said that safety is the number one priority for police, and officers would have to live with the consequences if pursuits were fatal due to the manoeuvre.

He told ABC radio that trials of airvans (planes) fitted with surveillance equipment have nearly finished and are a good opportunity for police to put another option in the air.

Mr Tilbury said police must act now due to pursuit figures nearly trebling, with 322 pursuits in 2010 and 1029 last year.

Police minister Liza Harvey told reporters the decision would be made by the commissioner and his team.

"They are the experts ... and I would certainly be informed by their advice," she said.

"I've asked the police executive to work with the union. It's not up to me to rule in or out the way that police go about their operations."

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