Police tailing the Bourke Street driver before he mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne had their hands tied by policy and could do little but wait until he exited his car, an inquest has heard.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant David Newman agreed, during cross-examination from a lawyer representing families of six victims, there was no plan to arrest the offender if he did not choose to leave his stolen vehicle as police tailed him.
"If he doesn't get out of that car refusing to stop, we had a pursuit policy but it didn't really cover resolution policies," he told an inquest on Wednesday.
"So do you wait until he gets out of the car? Yes you do."
Det Acting Sen Sgt Newman said there were limited possibilities of catching Gargasoulas, who was fleeing after trying to kill his brother, in terms of ramming, pursuits and boxing him in.
"It's not an acceptable practice by Victoria Police," he said.
"If he doesn't get out of the car we were very limited in what we could do, very little except keep him surveilled ... and hope he gets out.
"If he's driving and not stopping, our hands are tied."
As the police chase ensued, Detective Senior Constable Murray Gentner, who the inquest has heard the offender was fixated with, was chatting to him on the phone to try to get him to surrender - but the plan did not work.
When prompted by coroner Jacqui Hawkins on what could have been done differently, Det Acting Sen Sgt Newman replied: "If we were abiding by policy, nothing."
He said the special operations group, if called to assist that day, probably would have refused given no gun or hostage was involved.
He said the appropriate resolution to apprehend him was "the million dollar question".
"Do we do high-risk manoeuvres? That's a resolution policy. Do we disable the car by ramming it? Do we have members that are trained to do a bump on a car? These are all things I believed have been explored. Stop sticks are certainly a resolution but they can still drive on their rims. I've seen it happen," he said.
When asked by the coroner what the best result would be, without regard to policies at that time, he replied it was to box Gargasoulas in using four cars, ideally when he was in South Melbourne.
But he added it was a dynamic situation with many things to consider, including potential danger to the public.
By the afternoon, Gargasoulas would mow down pedestrians in Bourke Street in Melbourne's CBD, killing six people.
Gargasoulas was jailed in February for at least 46 years.
The inquest continues.
Australian Associated Press