Inquiries opened into two police pursuit deaths

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Inquiries have been opened into the deaths of two men who died over the weekend during police chases of cars suspected to have been taken unlawfully.

Andrew Craggs, 20, died instantly on Saturday evening when he crashed head-on into a bus while being pursued in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was later found to have been driving his own car, although he did not have a licence.

Hours later a pedestrian was killed in Liverpool when he was hit by a taxi that had been involved in a collision with a suspect car being chased by police.

Detectives have named the dead man as Brian Scahill, 45, of Kensington in Liverpool. Two youths, aged 16 and 17, were freed from the car being pursued and one of them was being questioned last night.

The Police Complaints Authority said it was preparing new recommendations to reduce the number of motorists and pedestrians killed during police chases.

More than 30 people were killed in accidents connected to police pursuits in the year to March, a considerable increase over the previous five years. Last year Sir Alistair Graham, the authority's chairman, said that if there was any increase in the number of deaths he would consider asking the Home Office to ban police drivers from breaking traffic laws unless the person being chased was suspected of a serious criminal offence.

Many of the people killed over the past 12 months have been young men suspected of taking away cars illegally.