New Police Pursuits Consultation announced

The Home Office has launched a Police Pursuits Consultation to test proposals for new standards for police driving, that could lead to an end to ‘no chase’ policies.

Under new proposals set out by the Home Office, highly trained police drivers could be treated differently from other motorists where the law requires the standard of ‘competent and careful’ to be applied.

Currently, officers involved in an incident where their driving appears to fall below the standard of careful and competent automatically face investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and possible prosecution. The Police Federation, which represents rank and file offices claim many officers refuse to conduct many pursuits for fear of a prosecution that could put their career at risk.

The Home Office is looking at ways to reduce the possibility of an officer facing a prosecution and have come up with proposals that will be put to the public under the Police Pursuits Consultation.

“Our proposed changes will make sure that skilled police drivers who follow their rigorous training are protected, while ensuring the minority of officers who do cross the line are robustly held to account,” Policing Minister Nick Hurd said.

Among the new proposals, the consultation is proposing a new test for police drivers that would require:

* an officer to drive to the standard of a careful and competent police driver of a similar level of training and skill
* that the driving tactics employed, including any exemptions from road traffic legislation, such as speed limits, or contact with a suspect vehicle, are authorised appropriately and are both necessary and proportionate

Confusingly, these proposals do not seem to move current legislation on as authorisation is already currently required. Instead, it places emphasis on better police training. The Police Federation’s Tim Rodgers acknowledges the move, saying, “We welcome this announcement as it is unacceptable to have officers trained to drive in a way that exposes them to prosecution merely for doing the job the public expects of them.

“I do however say this with caution as this has been an issue we have been campaigning on now for several years and although it is a positive step that the government have finally agreed that a legislation change is required, they must now act quickly to prevent more officers suffering unnecessary and often mendacious prosecutions.”

In announcing the Police Pursuits Consultation, the Home Office also took the opportunity to, ‘…smash the myth that officers cannot pursue riders who are not wearing helmets, the government will also make clear in law that a suspect is responsible for their own decision to drive dangerously and that blame should not be attached to the pursuing officer.’

If you don’t have time to read the full Consultation, Biker & Bike has reproduced the six key questions the Home Office wants to consult you on. You can read and respond to them here:

Get yourself sorted:

You can read take part in the full Consultation here:

You can read more about the need to change police pursuit policies here:

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