MP’s to vote on police pursuit
In the first major step towards resolving so-called ‘no chase’ restrictions on police drivers, a special Bill is going before Parliament that could lead to changes in police pursuit rules.
After a Summer of increasing violence around the theft of motorcycles and a huge increase in moped-related crime, MPs are being given the opportunity to change laws that affect the pursuit of two-wheeled criminals.
On 19th December, Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham will be putting forward a Ten Minute Rule Bill, called the Emergency Response Drivers (Protections) Bill, to Parliament. MP’s will then hear a second reading in March 2018.
This could change the law by allowing police and other emergency response drivers to be exempt from the standard of ‘careful and competent’ under the Road Traffic Act.
Under the current law, a police driver can face prosecution for dangerous driving during a pursuit if they are not judged to be driving carefully and competently.
The possibility of prosecution for even highly trained drivers has led to both restrictive police policies being issued to officers and a reluctance to engage in even authorised pursuits by the drivers themselves, for fear of damaging their careers and livelihoods.
It is believed these restrictions have directly contributed to an explosion in motorcycle-related crime in many UK cities. Allowing police drivers to pursue criminals on two wheels without the risk of prosecution for Dangerous Driving is expected to impact on police responses significantly.
The Police Federation has given its full backing to the Bill as it seeks to get better protection for drivers under its ‘Protecting the Protectors’ campaign.
There does, however, remain the issue of caught offenders still not receiving custodial sentences, another direct cause of the rise in motorcycle-related crime. Recently, police chiefs have asked for stiffer sentences in a sign that Criminal Justice System policies to keep young offenders out of jail is causing bigger problems.
Get Yourself Sorted:
For the Bill to be passed – and the biking community really does need this Bill to go through to see a change in police pursuit rules – MPs must vote in favour of the Bill.
Please contact your local MP and ask them to support the vote.
Contact them here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
If you need some text for an email, cut and paste the following:
Dear [insert MP’s name]
You may be aware of a significant rise in motorcycle-related crime and anti-social behaviour. It affects nearly every community, like ours.
One of the causes of the increase is that existing Road Traffic Act law, by which police officers are judged, means officers can too easily be prosecuted for dangerous driving when they are trying to stop a criminal driving dangerously themselves.
The current law is piecemeal, impractical and unworkable, so I would please ask you to support Sir Henry Bellingham’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, the Emergency Response Drivers (Protections) Bill, when it is presented to Parliament on the 19th December.
It will give trained police drivers the exemptions they need to be able to engage in pursuits without themselves being in fear of prosecution.
Thank you for your support.