130 police officers have sought legal advice in the past year after finding themselves being investigated over their driving.
Sgt Tim Rogers, of West Midlands Police, called for a change in the law to reflect the training that police drivers undertake – currently they are treated no differently to ordinary members of the public. Steve Taylor, Chairman of Essex Police Federation, said:
“We do need to see more being done to protect officers.”
“They do the job they’re trained to do, within the training that they’re given, and yet still find themselves liable to criminal charges.
“That’s just a ridiculous state of affairs, and we do and should and will continue to look to the Home Secretary in particular and if she’s lucky enough to form a Government, that Government in general to bring the changes that we need to legislation.”
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, NPCC lead on roads policing, said guidance from the Department of Public Prosecutions should treat police drivers separately to other emergency services.
“We’re trying to balance risk but also our overarching aim to protect the public.
“The thing that bothers me the most is that there is no DPP guidance that separates out policing from other emergency services. We need somewhere for there to be explicit reference to say the police have to do things differently from other emergency services.”
However, he added that police drivers needed to have more training, saying:
“I compare training for roads policing to something like firearms and I think we are found wanting. We don’t refresh enough, we don’t train enough. Our training must keep up and it must be sufficient and it should be much more regular. Officers need to know what they are allowed to do.”
Barrister Mark Aldred said officers still need more protection from the law as there was a “disconnect” between legislation and what officers are taught.
“There’s something not right in the system and more protection is required still.
“There is a disconnect between the training and the law. As soon as you start engaging in risk that falls under dangerous driving and that can’t be right.”