The bike crime epidemic Part 5: How you can get ‘no chase’ changed
If the so called police ‘no chase’ restrictions on pursuits of criminals on motorcycles are lifted, as may happen, don’t expect there to be a reduction in bike theft anytime soon.
It will still be illegal for a police officer to pursue a dangerous driver using the same driving tactics as the offender. You can help get that law changed.
As you’ll hopefully have already read about in our series on the bike crime epidemic, action is finally happening to reverse the current situation that has enabled a motorcycle-related crime epidemic: The restrictions on police officers involved in pursuits of motorcycle-riding criminals.
If you haven’t, the National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing, among others, are currently looking at the policies that determine whether an offender can be pursued by police in a motor vehicle. At Ministerial level in Government, they are also aware of the situation.
But even if the police update their policies on vehicle pursuits of motorcyclists there is a piece of legislation, the Road Traffic Act 1988, under which individual police officers can be prosecuted if a pursuit leads to an undesirable outcome. Such an outcome would be a serious injury or death to a member of the public, a fellow officer or even the criminal they were chasing.
As even highly trained officers are not exempt from Dangerous Driving a prosecution can end their career or lead to a prison sentence. This means, even if guidelines and policies are changed at Force level, it’s unlikely that officers themselves will resume pursuits as the risks to them as individuals remain too high.
The Police Federation, which represents all police officers, has recognised that the legislation needs to be changed so that appropriately trained officers are exempt from having to apply the standard of ‘competent and careful’ during a pursuit. This would fix it and allow, along with changes to police policy, the pursuit of criminals on motorcycles. Bye, bye TMAX gangs.
You can accelerate progress
The Government won’t look at legislation to change the Act anytime soon unless they are forced to do so by Members of Parliament insisting they do.
To do that, we need to raise awareness among MP’s and get them to propose a Bill and then vote for the Act to be changed.
Believe us, we are highly aware of the irony of one of the most persecuted interest groups in the country, bikers, stepping in to help the police. But if we don’t the situation could actually get worse, not better.
If you really want to see a change and remove the effective immunity motorcycle-riding criminals enjoy please do the following:
Either copy and paste the text below or send your own correspondence on the subject to your local MP and ask them to lobby and subsequently vote for an amendment to the Road Traffic Act.
You can find your local MP’s contact details here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
You can also request that Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for the Home Office, who is responsible for Police & Fire services, makes it a priority to get the legislation changed.
His Constituency Office contact details are:
20 Church Plain, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 1NE
Tel: 01493 854 550
Email: [email protected]
You can also double up by writing to him at the Home Office:
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
Tel: 020 7035 4848
Email: [email protected]
Here’s our suggested text:
You may be aware that in the past two years there has been a substantial increase in motorcycle-related crime. This includes muggings of the general public by moped riders and theft of the vehicles themselves.
Many factors contribute to the situation, but the single biggest element is that the police face severe restrictions on pursuing criminals who use motorbikes.
The NPCC, College of Policing and local Forces are looking into policy changes that will lift some of the restrictions.
But there remains in legislation, specifically in the Road Traffic Act, 1988, the requirement for police drivers to maintain the standard of ‘competent and careful’ during a pursuit, or face the prospect of possible prosecution and in some cases a prison sentence.
This raises the danger of even highly trained police drivers and riders declining to engage in pursuits because of the risk to their career and livelihood.
I am asking you to please raise the issue in the House of Commons, to support any proposed Bill that would exempt qualified officers from needing to abide by that standard and to vote to change the legislation.
To you, the reader
FROM THE BIKER & BIKE TEAM
We appreciate you supporting this campaign if you can. It’s our belief that no amount of bike demos, vigilante action or calls to 101 with details of suspected bike thieves are going to meaningfully change the situation.
That’s not to say that people should stop doing these things (vigilantism excepted) because there needs to be as much awareness and exposure of the epidemic and its causes as possible. But the real change can only come from having appropriate legislation.
Only a change in police policy and freeing up police drivers to do their job without fear of prosecution is going to put an end to the ‘TMAX gangs’ and #BikeLife rampages.
If we all act now, hopefully sometime within the next 18 months the police will be given the appropriate exemptions and new policy and the situation will start to turn around. But it needs us to act.
Let’s crack on and defeat the scrotes.