7 August 2023
It is critical police drivers do not drive until they have secured a licence under the new law from an accredited instructor.
Through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which was enshrined in law last year, police drivers have greater legal protection thanks to years of campaigning by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
The law now takes into account the high standards of training received by police drivers, which means their driving will no longer be judged to the same standard of the careful and competent driving member of public.
However, any manoeuvre performed must be within their training, and officers must be up to date with their training.
The guidance issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had to be updated to reflect the changes that came into effect on 30 November 2022, with the new legal test for police drivers.
This test is covered through Statutory Instrument 1112 which all forces should now be complying with.
Writing to all 43 police chiefs, PFEW Pursuits and Driver Training Lead Tim Rogers stressed how important it is for each force to ensure it is fully compliant with this new statutory framework.
He said: “It is critically important that police officers do not drive if they are not licensed under this legislation. There is no movement on this whatsoever. Senior police officers, regardless of rank, cannot extend or grant an officer’s permit under any circumstances.”
Additionally, PFEW is deeply concerned some forces are opting for non-accredited instructors, which is putting officers at risk.
It is imperative officers’ driver training is delivered by a driver trainer who has been licensed by the College of Policing, and their driving schools are compliant with the licensing requirements of the new law.
“Training delivered by a non-licensed person is invalid and will leave officers in a vulnerable position,” explained Mr Rogers.
“This is a generational change for policing; one that improves confidence for both officers and the public. To ensure this legislative change achieves its policy objectives it needs your full support,” he concluded in his letter to chiefs and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
In the meantime, PFEW is urging all officers to make sure they are fully aware of the new legislation and the regulations that underpin that law.
An FAQ document has been produced by PFEW and the NPCC and aims to help officers better understand the new laws regarding their driving.
Read the FAQs.