Better to be a suspect than a witness in pursuit driving

18 May 2016

Perhaps astonishingly to some, police officers driving with blues and twos are better protected in law to be treated as a suspect in the event of an incident, as opposed to being treated as a witness.

Police response drives are effectively illegal as there is currently no legislative support for officers if something goes wrong.  This was the focus of a session at our annual conference today, led by Tim Rogers, PFEW’s lead on pursuits.

He said: “If an officer is trained to drive to a certain professional standard and licensed by the College of Policing, we should provide the right protection.  But the way the law currently stands, they put themselves at risk of prosecution when they’re trying to keep communities safe.”

When asked directly whether it was better to be a suspect or witness, barrister and panel member Mark Aldred said ‘suspect’.

PFEW is leading the way to change the law though the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), represented by Anthony Bangham on the panel, believes protection is only needed for advanced pursuit drivers, but not response drivers.

Mr Rogers added: “We do not support this approach - we want all drivers to be afforded legal protection.  Frankly it’s criminal these safeguards are not in place already.”