Let's have the following scenario, where a police officer is trying to pull a car over, but the car decides to try to run away. HOW fast is the police officer legally allowed to go when chasing the car?
Here's the relevant statute for Virginia, 46.2-920
A. The driver of any emergency vehicle, when such vehicle is being used in the performance of public services, and when such vehicle is operated under emergency conditions, may, without subjecting himself to criminal prosecution:
- Disregard speed limits, while having due regard for safety of persons and property;
B. The exemptions granted to emergency vehicles by subsection A in subdivisions A1, A3, A4, A5, and A6 shall apply only when the operator of such vehicle displays a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights as provided in §§ 46.2-1022 and 46.2-1023 and sounds a siren, exhaust whistle, or air horn designed to give automatically intermittent signals, as may be reasonably necessary.
Such exemptions shall not, however, protect the operator of any such vehicle from criminal prosecution for conduct constituting reckless disregard of the safety of persons and property. Nothing in this section shall release the operator of any such vehicle from civil liability for failure to use reasonable care in such operation.
So the law does not impose any specific speed limit. Department policy may still impose speed limits on its own officers in this situation, but violating department policy is not a violation of the law per se, if the violation of policy is not reckless. Of course, the million dollar question is what constitutes reckless disregard for the safety of persons and property.
As fast as is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances, as long as it is for "police purposes" which includes pursuing a car that fails to stop.
Properly trained and qualified officers have an exemption to the posted speed limit under section 87 Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984:
(1) No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire and rescue authority, for ambulance purposes or police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion.
For awareness, they also have statutory exemptions to observing keep left/right signs, and complying with red traffic lights. The latter are to be treated as a "give way" (aka yield in certain countries).
Although tagged virginia, I have answered in line with the LawSE Help Centre: "we expect and encourage answers dealing with other jurisdictions ... please tag your answer using the tag markdown: [tag: some-tag]"
The speed limit for the road OR if it is reasonable in the circumstances that the speed limit should not apply, as fast as the driver, acting reasonably, determines
The relevant provisions are detailed in each state or territories’ road rules. Most have adopted a modified form of the Australian Road Rules.
These make it an offence to exceed the posted speed limit or, if there isn’t one, 50km/h in a built-up area (one with street lights) or 100km/h in a rural area. Police are bound to follow the road rules just like everybody else.
s305 provides an exemption for drivers of police vehicles if, in the circumstances, the police driver is taking reasonable care and it's reasonable that a provision of the road rules should not apply.
Every police force in Australia has guidelines on pursuit and an officer who follows those guidelines will almost certainly be found by a court to have been acting reasonably. Operating beyond the guidelines may also be reasonable in the circumstances.
Again, in every Australian police force, a pursuit, like the discharge of a firearm or taser, is a critical incident and will be subject to automatic investigation by a police integrity unit. Depending on the state, this may be part of the police force or an independent body.
If the pursuit results in a death, there will be a coronial inquest which will examine the lawfulness of the pursuit. Anyone harmed by a pursuit may seek compensation which will also examine the lawfulness of the pursuit.