Police pursuit policy could be changed as early as December
It has been confirmed that the NPCC, Home Office and other bodies have agreed to change legislation so appropriately trained police officers do not face prosecution when involved in the pursuit of criminals using vehicles.
Biker & Bike has learnt that after a meeting described by an attendee as ‘productive’ there was a, “…common agreement to progress the issue of appropriate legislative change to enable trained professional police officers to use their training and approved tactics in order to deal with criminal use of vehicles without fear of prosecution themselves.”
The meeting, which took place on 29th August was attended by every body responsible for police legislation and its enforcement. This included representatives from the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission, who investigate police officers involved in pursuits that end in injury or death), the Crown Prosecution Service, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Transport.
The meeting was also attended by the Police Federation, which represents rank and file police officers, who have long called for changes in legislation to protect officers who face prosecution when involved in vehicle pursuits.
No exact details have been released about what was discussed or the nature of the legislative changes, but it is believed that one of the key changes may be to exempt appropriately trained and qualified police officers from the standard of ‘competent and careful’ as required by the Road Traffic Act.
Currently, an officer can be prosecuted for Dangerous Driving under the Act. The Police Federation has recently advised its members to cease pursuits at the earliest sign they may be liable to prosecution.
If true, the news means the single biggest barrier to police pursuits of motorcycle riding criminals will be removed, possibly as early as December of this year.
Protecting officers from prosecution is one of the core principles of the guidelines that officers must follow when involved in pursuits. Another is the safety of offenders involved in a pursuit.
It is thought that exempting officers from prosecution means the NPCC and College of Policing, who are responsible for the guidelines, could ease some of the more prohibitive policies that need to be followed during police pursuits.
Before any new legislation comes into effect, police officers will still have to follow existing legislation and can still be liable to prosecution under certain circumstances.
The news follows an announcement that the UK’s worst affected city for motorcycle related crime, London, is to take a zero tolerance approach to moped enabled crime.