Recently there has been much debate on whether or not there should be greater restrictions placed on high speed police chases. With there being 163 deaths in Australia in the past 19 years related to police chases, the discussion has been a long time coming. Whilst some believe that if you commit the crime you deserve consequences that follow, others believe that risking innocent people’s lives including the police over what are mostly minor infringements.
Maintaining a sturdy and professional tone, Kieran Walshe contends in her opinion piece ‘A ban on police pursuits would make criminals the winners’ (The Age, January 12th, 2012) that terminating all police pursuits would not be a positive move. King intends to persuade the public that banning the use of police pursuits would be a ‘win for the criminals’. The other point that is argued is that the current policy on police pursuits is not in need of changes and is functioning fine.
The first thing that is noticeable when you look at the article is the two pictures up the top of the page. The first picture shows two police officers smiling next to each other. One of them is presumably the author of the article. This picture is used because it shows the two officers as friendly people as they are smiling and having a laugh. The picture is also very bright which adds to the impression that the ladies are nice people. This is done because the reader is more likely to listen to and believe something that is written by someone that looks nice and friendly. The second picture is of a police car. Although it doesn’t seem like much the fact that this photo is also very light makes the car come across as something that is not to be feared. This is done because the whole article is spent trying to convince us that these cars are safe and this photo is adding to the concept.
Nearing the end of the Article, Walshe uses an Appeal to authority discussing the concept of police chase results. “In 2010 police in Victoria engaged in 658 pursuits, about half of these lasted less than two minutes and about 80 percent, less than 5”, this positions the reader in a such a state that if they are ever stupid enough to try and evade the police, the statistics show they will most likely be unsuccessful. The Author then continues on to state that in 2010 there were no fatalities as a result from police pursuits.
Walshe concludes the article by informing the readers that the police pursuit policy is under serious review and they are examining there policies on an ongoing basis to ensure they are the best possible. Walshe clearly states that “it is the poor decision of the offender who is creating the risk, not the police who are undertaking their duty”.