Chase Rules for Police (Motor Vehicles – Ontario)

Update:

The Special Investigations Unit (S.I.U), accompanied by the OPP, is investigating the death of a motorcyclist’s passenger, who fell off a motorcycle, when Durham Police tried to pull over the vehicle and the motorcyclist accelerated rather than stopping on the 401 on Friday night (August 27, 2010) at approximately 11:40 p.m.

This took place last night on the westbound lanes of Kings Highway 401, close to Brock Street in Whitby, Ontario and caused the highway to be shut down for twelve (12) hours.

After falling from the back of the motorcycle, the passenger was hit by several other vehicles travelling at speeds in excess of 90 km/h. The passenger died on the highway, as a result of her injuries.

The operator of the motorcycle took off and kept going after his passenger fell off. The police have not yet located him. It isn’t surprising that the driver of the motorcycle left the scene of the accident; but it is surprising that the other vehicles that came into contact with the unidentified passenger, kept going as well and did not remain at the scene of the accident(s).

These are the laws surrounding police chases of motor vehicles:

SUSPECT APPREHENSION PURSUITS (under the POLICE SERVICES ACT – see Ontario Regulation 266/10), published on Ontario e-laws on June 30, 2010.

See ONTARIO REGULATION 266/10 made under the POLICE SERVICES ACT

SUSPECT APPREHENSION PURSUITS

Interpretation
1. (1) For the purposes of this Regulation, a suspect apprehension pursuit occurs when a police officer attempts to direct the driver of a motor vehicle to stop, the driver refuses to obey the officer and the officer pursues in a motor vehicle for the purpose of stopping the fleeing motor vehicle or identifying the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle.

(2) A suspect apprehension pursuit is discontinued when police officers are no longer pursuing a fleeing motor vehicle for the purpose of stopping the fleeing motor vehicle or identifying the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle.

Initiating or Continuing pursuit
2. (1) A police officer may pursue, or continue to pursue, a fleeing motor vehicle that fails to stop,

(a) if the police officer has reason to believe that a criminal offence has been committed or is about to be committed; or

(b) for the purposes of motor vehicle identification or the identification of an individual in the vehicle.

(2) Before initiating a suspect apprehension pursuit, a police officer shall determine that there are no alternatives available as set out in the written procedures of,

(a) the police force of the officer established under subsection 6 (1), if the officer is a member of an Ontario police force as defined in the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009;

(b) a police force whose local commander was notified of the appointment of the officer under subsection 6 (1) of the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, if the officer was appointed under Part II of that Act;

or

(c) the local police force of the local commander who appointed the officer under subsection 15 (1) of the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, if the officer was appointed under Part III of that Act.

(3) A police officer shall, before initiating a suspect apprehension pursuit, determine whether in order to protect public safety the immediate need to apprehend an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle or the need to identify the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle outweighs the risk to public safety that may result from the pursuit.

(4) During a suspect apprehension pursuit, a police officer shall continually reassess the determination made under subsection (3) and shall discontinue the pursuit when the risk to public safety that may result from the pursuit outweighs the risk to public safety that may result if an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not immediately apprehended or if the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not identified.

(5) No police officer shall initiate a suspect apprehension pursuit for a non-criminal offence if the identity of an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is known.

(6) A police officer engaging in a suspect apprehension pursuit for a non-criminal offence shall discontinue the pursuit once the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is identified.

Notice of Pursuit
3. (1) A police officer shall notify a dispatcher when the officer initiates a suspect apprehension pursuit.

(2) The dispatcher shall notify a communications supervisor or road supervisor, if a supervisor is available, that a suspect apprehension pursuit has been initiated.

Order to Discontinue Pursuit
4. (1) A communications or road supervisor shall order police officers to discontinue a suspect apprehension pursuit if, in his or her opinion, the risk to public safety that may result from the pursuit outweighs the risk to public safety that may result if an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not immediately apprehended or if the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not identified.

(2) A police officer who receives an order under subsection (1) shall obey the order even if the officer is not a member of the police force of the communications or road supervisor who made the order.

Policies
5. Every police services board shall establish policies that are consistent with this Regulation about suspect apprehension pursuits.

Procedures for Tactics
6. (1) Every police force shall establish written procedures that set out the tactics that may be used in its jurisdiction,

(a) as an alternative to suspect apprehension pursuit; and

(b) for following or stopping a fleeing motor vehicle.

(2) Every police force shall establish written procedures that are consistent with this Regulation about suspect apprehension pursuits in its jurisdiction.

Use of Firearm
7. A police officer shall not discharge his or her firearm for the sole purpose of attempting to stop a fleeing motor vehicle.

Pursuit in Unmarked Police Motor Vehicle
8. A police officer in an unmarked police motor vehicle shall not engage in a suspect apprehension pursuit unless a marked police motor vehicle is not readily available and the police officer believes that it is necessary to immediately apprehend an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle or to identify the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle.

Stopping a Motor Vehicle
9. (1) During a suspect apprehension pursuit, a police officer shall consider the tactics for stopping a motor vehicle as set out in the written procedures of,

(a) the police force of the officer established under subsection 6 (1), if the officer is a member of an Ontario police force as defined in the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009;

(b) a police force whose local commander was notified of the appointment of the officer under subsection 6 (1) of the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, if the officer was appointed under Part II of that Act; or

(c) the local police force of the local commander who appointed the officer under subsection 15 (1) of the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, if the officer was appointed under Part III of that Act.

(2) A police officer may intentionally cause a police motor vehicle to come into physical contact with a fleeing motor vehicle for the purposes of stopping it only if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that to do so is necessary to immediately protect against loss of life or serious bodily harm.

(3) In considering the action mentioned in subsection (2), a police officer shall assess the effect of the action on the safety of other members of the public and police officers.

(4) Despite subsection (2), a police officer may cause a police motor vehicle to come into physical contact with a fleeing motor vehicle for the purposes of pinning it if the fleeing motor vehicle has lost control or collided with an object and come to a stop and the driver of the motor vehicle continues to try to use it to flee.

(5) Nothing in subsection (2) precludes police officers involved in a pursuit, with assistance from other police officers in motor vehicles, from attempting to safely position the police motor vehicles in a manner to prevent the movement either
forward, backward or sideways of a fleeing motor vehicle.

(6) Every police force shall ensure that its police officers receive training about the intentional physical contact between motor vehicles that is described in subsection (2).

(7) The training must address the matters described in subsections (2) and (3).

Other Procedures
10. (1) Every police force shall establish written procedures on the management and control of suspect apprehension pursuits.

(2) The procedures must describe the responsibilities of police officers, dispatchers, communications supervisors and road supervisors.

(3) The procedures must describe the equipment that is available for implementing alternative tactics.

Supervision
11. (1) If more than one jurisdiction is involved in a suspect apprehension pursuit, the supervisor in the jurisdiction in which the pursuit begins has decision-making responsibility for the pursuit.

(2) The supervisor may hand over decision-making responsibility to a supervisor in another jurisdiction involved in the pursuit.

Application of Code of Conduct
12. A police officer does not breach the code of conduct when deciding not to initiate or choosing to discontinue a suspect apprehension pursuit because he or she has reason to believe that the risk to public safety that may result from the pursuit outweighs the risk to public safety that may result if an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not immediately apprehended or if the fleeing motor vehicle or an individual in the fleeing motor vehicle is not identified.

Training
13. Every police force shall ensure that its police officers, dispatchers, communications supervisors and road supervisors receive training accredited by the Solicitor General about suspect apprehension pursuits.

Records
14. (1) If a police officer engages in a suspect apprehension pursuit and the officer is a member of an Ontario police force as defined in the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, the police force of which the officer is a member shall ensure that the particulars of the pursuit are recorded on a form and in a manner approved by the Solicitor General.

(2) If a police officer engages in a suspect apprehension pursuit and the officer is appointed under the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009, the officer shall report the particulars of the pursuit to the appointing official or local commander who appointed the officer under that Act and that person shall ensure that the particulars are recorded on a form and in a manner approved by the Solicitor General.

Revocation
15. Ontario Regulation 546/99 is revoked.

Commencement
16. This Regulation comes into force on the later of the day the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009 comes into force and the day this Regulation is filed.

Update: August 30, 2010 – Police still searching for driver in fatal motorcycle accident.

Update: September 1, 2010 – Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has identified Ms. Ioana Bocunescu as the passenger who fell off the motorcycle at approximately 11:40 p.m. on August 27, 2010 after it unexpectedly accelerated and she died as a result of the fall and being torn to shreds by vehicles travelling at 100 km/h on highway 401/Brock Street, in Whitby, last friday night.

The Special Investigations Unit (commonly referred to as the “SIU“) is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries (including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police. Part VII of the Police Services Act creates the SIU and defines its powers. Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where warranted by the evidence, to cause a Criminal charge or charges to be laid against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to the Attorney General of Ontario.

Update: September 4, 2010 – Man dies after police car collides with motorcycle and the SIU has been called in to conduct an investigation.

Update: September 18, 2010 – 37 year old Mr. Rashid Soujah, from North York, is charged with manslaughter with respect to the death of 40 year old Ms. Ioana Bocunesc.

It is alleged that on Aug.27/10 while travelling on Highway 401/Brock Street in Whitby, on his motorcycle, with Ms. Bocunesc as his passenger, the Durham Regional Police attempted to pull him over at approximately 11:30 pm; rather than pulling over his bike, Mr. Soujah rapidly accelerated and his passenger fell off the bike and rather than stopping, Mr. Soujah continued to travel along on the highway. After falling off the bike, Ms. Bocunesc’s body hit the highway and was then torn to shreds by other motor vehicles travelling on the same highway at speeds of 100 km/h. Ms. Bocunesc died at the scene.

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