In delivering her findings on the inquest into the death of Andrew Stark, Deputy State Coroner Magistrate Kennedy highlighted statistics which show the number of pursuits in NSW have almost doubled in the last decade.

“From 2011 to the nominated period there has been an increase in pursuits by some 90.8 per cent. In essence pursuits have almost doubled in the last 10 years,” she said.

“The data from a 2011 study found that of these, approximately 30 percent of those injured were innocent bystanders. More recent data puts that percentage higher.

“That fact alone would suggest that great caution and care needs to be taken when deciding to enter into a pursuit or indeed continuing one.

“It is a particular issue of public safety, and is a difficult matter for police who are suddenly faced with the decision as to firstly commence a pursuit and secondly whether to continue the pursuit.

“There is obvious public interest in the police undertaking their work to keep roads safe and it is of great concern when an individual fails to stop when required to do so for a lawful traffic stop.”

The Coroner referenced an coronial inquest from 2014 which was also held after a death as a result of a police pursuit.

Magistrate Kennedy said then Deputy State Coroner Dillon made significant remarks that remain applicable today. In his findings from 2014 in the inquest into the death of Hamish Raj his honour said:

‘If the general public and the legislators were aware that a particular law enforcement policy being applied by Australian Police Forces was not only resulting in a number of avoidable deaths and serious injuries, but also that one-third of victims were completely innocent bystanders, I believe it would cause great concern and an immediate demand for change.’

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