Martin Saari­nen

Po­lice shouldn’t have to worry about the threat of dan­ger­ous driv­ing raps

Auto Express - - Watchdog - Mart­in_saari­nen@den­ @ Ae_­con­sumer

AUTO Ex­press has re­ported ex­ten­sively in re­cent years on the de­clin­ing lev­els of po­lice staff in the UK and the im­pact on road safety.

We’ve sent sev­eral free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quests and spo­ken to po­lice forces and other emer­gency ser­vices, plus in­ter­viewed road safety ex­perts to un­der­stand what the de­clin­ing num­bers of of­fi­cers need in or­der to up­hold road safety.

Part of the so­lu­tion is be­ing able to pur­sue crim­i­nals and dan­ger­ous driv­ers so they can be ar­rested and taken off the road. But this month, the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion of Eng­land and Wales warned its 120,000 mem­bers that of­fi­cers could be pros­e­cuted for dan­ger­ous driv­ing in emer­gen­cies.

Tim Rodgers, the fed­er­a­tion’s lead on roads polic­ing, told of­fi­cers: “There are no ex­emp­tions to the of­fences of care­less or dan­ger­ous driv­ing to per­mit emer­gency driv­ing.” Le­gal ex­perts be­lieve that po­lice pur­suits are “highly likely to fall out­side the law as it is cur­rently drafted”.

Rodgers and his col­leagues are work­ing to change the laws so that of­fi­cers don’t have to worry that they might be pros­e­cuted for dan­ger­ous driv­ing, but so far, pro­pos­als to change the law have yet to pass.

It’s right that po­lice and other emer­gency ser­vices shouldn’t be al­lowed to drive how they want in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, but th­ese are highly trained and ded­i­cated in­di­vid­u­als, work­ing to pro­tect us. Plac­ing a cloud of un­cer­tainty on top of them won’t help im­prove road safety. Re­cent events have placed an un­prece­dented amount of pres­sure on our emer­gency ser­vices, and there’s no need to add more to it.

“Plac­ing a cloud of un­cer­tainty on top of po­lice won’t help im­prove road safety”

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