Police pursuit policy changes postponed
Moves to see a change in police pursuit regulations have been dealt a blow after Parliament cancels the second reading of a bill aiming to change the laws on dangerous driving.
A vital stage of getting police pursuit rules changed has been postponed. A second reading of the Emergency Response Drivers (Protections) Bill was due to be heard by MPs on 16th March 2018, but will not now be heard for at least four months.
The Bill aims to give emergency response drivers better protection from prosecution, by exempting authorised drivers, including trained police drivers, from prosecution for Dangerous Driving under the Road Traffic Act.
The change in legislation would pave the way for police regulators to make changes to police pursuit rules. The delay is to allow for the completion of an ongoing review which will investigate ‘the law and best practice regarding police pursuits.’ The earliest the second reading will now take place is 6th July.
The Police Federation, the body that represents rank and file officers, has been pushing hard for the change and say the delay is a serious blow.
The Federation’s Pursuits Lead, Tim Rogers said, “To get this disappointing news just hours away from a key legislative milestone, which had already secured cross-party support, is a bitter blow – and all the more devastating.
“What are our members and fellow emergency response drivers to do in the meantime?
“We have fought extremely hard for more than seven years to get to this point, liaising with the Home Office, National Police Chiefs’ Council, MPs from all parties and many, many other stakeholders,” he added.
The first reading of the Bill was accepted in December, with Policing Minister Nick Hurd supporting the bill in Parliament after its introduction by senior backbench MP, Sir Henry Bellingham.
However, the Bill cannot pass into law until it has been heard for the second time in Parliament, a stage that gives MPs the opportunity to make amendments.
In the meantime, motorcycle thieves and anti-social riders will be able to operate knowing police officers run the risk of possibly losing their jobs if they respond to a ‘blue-light’ call that involves dangerous driving.
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