POLICE have arrested two people after two violent car-jackings and a two-hour high-speed chase across Perth's suburbs.
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But frustrated police today told PerthNow that the crime spree, in which police cars were repeatedly rammed, could have been stopped sooner.
They say their efforts to apprehend the armed man were hindered by senior officers who ordered they abort the pursuit on several occasions, despite claiming to have been within the pursuit guidelines and not exceeding the 140km/h speed cap.
The pursuit started about 10.20am in Scarborough when police sighted a silver Subaru, believed to have been stolen in a violent car-jacking in Mirrabooka overnight.
Officers gave chase down the Kwinana Freeway before the Subaru crashed near Read St, Rockingham, where the wanted man allegedly stole a blue Holden Commodore, dragging the driver from the vehicle at knifepoint.
It is understood a 21-year-old Mirrabooka woman, believed to be the man's girlfriend, was arrested in Rockingham, but the man fled in the Commodore. Police pursued, before the chase was aborted near Perth Airport as the police helicopter attempted to track the crime spree from the sky.
Police caught up with the vehicle in Morrison Rd, Swan View where the Commodore was smashed and dumped before he stole a red dual cab Triton ute.
That ute crashed and rolled on Alexander Drive, near the corner of Australis Ave, in Malaga after an collision with a police car just before 1.30pm.
It is understood there were at least another three attempted robberies or car-jackings, including in Hilton, Murdoch and Kewdale.
The man, a 22-year-old from Swan View, was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for observation. He is yet to be interviewed by North West Metropolitan detectives.
PerthNow readers who witnessed the crash today posted comments online: ``It was extremely frightening to be in the middle of that high speed chase in Rockingham this morning,'' one reader said.
``The car was heading straight towards the vehicle I was in, with three kids in the back, as they crossed the median strip on Rockingham Road, Rockingham.''
But police sources said the pursuit could have been stopped sooner.
``There were so many opportunities to stop him,'' the insider said.
``This guy was effectively allowed to run loose as a direct consequence of us not being able to intercept him earlier.
``We were hampered by a senior officer who allowed an armed offender to run riot,'' said another officer.
``They practically car jacked the Commodore while police were there.''
A WA Police spokesman said public safety had been paramount during the chase.
``The pursuit didn't happen continually,'' he said.
``There were points where we lost contact with him and other times where we backed off for safety (reasons).
``Police stuck very closely to what our policy is for pursuits and we did that for safety.''
Earlier, when the pursuit was ongoing police warned motorists to be vigilant and on the look-out for the cars.
``It's a very dangerous situation for motorists,'' police spokeswoman Ros Weatherall said.
The men were riding bicycles when they approached two cars parked in Coronata Way early this morning.
Once car, the Subaru, was occupied by two women, while the boyfriend of one of the women sat in the other vehicle.
The cyclists struck up a conversation with the cars' occupants before producing a hammer and threatening them.
The offenders then stole one of the women's handbags and the keys to the Subaru, at the same time damaging the other car and injuring the driver.
They then drove off in the Subaru.
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