Police are calling for better technology to stop car chases.
Police are calling for better technology to stop car chases. Rob Williams

Bold plan to stop cars in their tracks on police pursuits

AS A young Queensland police officer for life in hospital, calls are growing for police cars to be fitted with hi-tech gadgets that would allow them to kill a vehicle's engine with the press of a button.

Constable Peter McAulay, 24, was hit early yesterday morning after setting up road spikes to try and stop two teenagers in an allegedly stolen vehicle.

A 16-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl have been charged with attempted murder after Constable McAulay was rushed to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital with serious head injuries and broken bones and fractures.

After the horrific crash, Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers is calling for remote vehicle immobilisers to become mandatory in new cars.

"I started in 2012. I have written to three successive prime ministers but it is now time for action, bipartisan support. With remote engine immobilisers there will never be a need for a police pursuit," Mr Leavers told Today.

"The primary situation is to protect lives and property. It can improve safety. It is a great thing. It is a no-brainer. We need to change the Australian design regulation. Within five to 10 years there will never be another police pursuit. We will be able to disable any stolen car at any point in time and ensure safety. It is commonsense."

 

Police inspect the scene on Brisbane Road, Booval. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Police inspect the scene on Brisbane Road, Booval. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

 

Constable Peter McAulay is fighting for his life in hospital. Picture: Queensland Police
Constable Peter McAulay is fighting for his life in hospital. Picture: Queensland Police

 

The proposed engine immobilisers wouldn't just be able to stop a car in its tracks, police would also be able to track vehicles through GPS.

"Once the car is reported stolen it can be disabled. This is a really positive thing," Mr Leavers said.

The Queensland Police Union President called on all state and territory governments to "get on board and stop playing games", saying the technology could one day be as common as airbags.

"Once ABS and airbags were considered to be only for the elite cars. Well, this will be the same. It will be as common as ABS and airbags. It can be in every new motor vehicle introduced into Australia. It is about safety. We should be using technology to its full advantage and protecting lives and properties," Mr Leavers said.

Constable McAulay is still in an induced coma in Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Politician and former Queensland police officer Peter Dutton has also called for better police pursuit laws.

"We do need to look afresh, I think, at the chase laws allowing people to get into stolen cars knowing that they are not going to be pursued," the home affairs minister said.

Mr Dutton said he supported the calls for engine immobilisers.

- With Wires