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New rules to protect police pursuit drivers

The Home Office is launching a consultation to provide police officers with better legal protection when it comes to high-speed pursuits.

Metropolitan Police rider

The changes will provide police officers with better legal protection over high-speed pursuits

Particularly intended to help with a clampdown on motorcycle-related crime, the changes for England and Wales would tackle current issues with concerns among police that they can be charged, as with any driver, for careless and dangerous driving offences and would have to rely on Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) discretion to avoid prosecution.

The reforms would recognise highly trained policy drivers while also smashing the myth that officers cannot pursue riders who are not wearing helmets by making it 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.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said: “Police officers must have the confidence to pursue suspects where it is safe to do so and criminals should be in no doubt that they will not get away with a crime by simply driving recklessly.

“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.”

The consultation also asks for views as to whether the changes should also apply to police response driving, such as when officers are called to a terrorist incident, as well as pursuits.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.