Police Federation

Roads Policing Seminar 2024

The first Police Federation of England and Wales event this year was the Roads Policing Seminar which took place virtually.

1 February 2024


The seminar on 30 January attracted colleagues from around the world including Abu Dhabi, New Zealand, Australia, and Malta which showed the level of interest in UK roads policing.

Brian Booth, PFEW roads policing lead, led a debate around ‘a victim led approach to roads policing’. The panel addressed the impact of increasing workloads on roads policing and family liaison officers, particularly in cases involving victims and their families.

Richard Crabtree, a principal lawyer from Slater and Gordon, specialising in serious injuries, highlighted a reduction in resources, affecting the vital link between the criminal justice system and families. MPS Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox emphasised the disparity in resource allocation between murder and fatal crash investigation, while Ross Moorlock, Brake CEO, stressed the importance of strong support for families affected by road incidents. The discussion also reviewed disclosure policies, the need for broader support, and the role of specialist services in complementing police efforts to aid victims and their families.

Discussing the aftermath of a fatal road crash or life-changing injury, James Simon, CEO of, Restorative Justice Council, defined the broad definition of justice, including fairness, morality, criminal accountability, financial compensation, and emotional healing. The panel recognised the challenges in achieving justice for diverse victims, with Mr Crabtree outlining the dual aspects of criminal and civil justice. DCS Cox discussed legislative improvements but explained the need for increased sentencing and better support for victims to have impactful change.

Mr Moorlock pointed out overarching disappointment in lenient sentences, calling for lifetime driving bans for offenders, and addressed the misuse of exceptional hardship claims. All were in agreement that to reform the justice system for road victims we must seek longer sentencing, lifetime driving bans, and stricter criteria for exceptional hardship claims.

Mr Crabtree explained how solicitors can assist victims of road traffic collisions alluding to their crucial role in civil proceedings, especially in cases of fatalities or life-changing injuries. He emphasised the need for collaboration with insurers, early evidence gathering, and proactive work to secure rehabilitation, therapy, support care, and financial stability for victims.

Raymond Williams, Police Relationship Manager, Slater and Gordon, shared a case study where a specialist lawyer facilitated better treatment and accommodation for an injured individual. DCS Cox supported this theory, reaffirming the importance of legal firms in the National Collision Board, advocating for early connections between legal advice, trauma support, and civil claims. Ross Moorlock underscored the significance of working with specialist legal firms to ensure victims receive expert guidance and avoid potential pitfalls.

The second session, ‘New driving legislation - does it deliver better protection for officers?’ led by Tim Rogers, PFEW pursuits and driver training lead, discussed the impact of legislative changes through the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act 2022 on police pursuits and driver training. The new legislation aimed to address flaws that led to officers being charged for simply performing their duties.

Mr Rogers expressed his satisfaction with the changes he had driven to push through via campaigning, but highlighted concerns about some chief officers failing to comply with the legal obligations, inadequate planning for the new legislation, and chronic underinvestment in roads policing.

The session covered the licensing process for police driver training units, emphasising quality assurance and compliance with standards, with the presentation detailing the Police Service Quality Management System (PS QMS) and the evidence required for licensing, highlighting the consequences for non-compliance and the need for a strong appeal process.

Jo Boxall-Hunt from the College of Policing, subject matter expert, and a current driving instructor from the MPS, presented on the upcoming licensing process for police driver training units. The goal of the process is to ensure a standardised approach, similar to firearms and Taser licensing. The licensing will involve stages, with provisional licenses initially granted. The PS QMS will be used for submissions, and the process includes formal visits, annual submissions, and health check visits. Compliance is crucial, and non-compliance may result in the suspension of training. Ultimately this approach is aiming to maintain quality and uniformity in police driver training programmes across different forces.

Julian Coe, NPCC practitioner lead for driver training examines police driving incidents, explaining the importance of reviewing officers' decisions in line with their training. As part of an SME group, they consider factors such as training compliance, vehicle suitability, and whether officers face additional pressures in real policing situations. The group aims to provide a balanced and fair perspective on cases involving police driving. Mark Aldred, Barrister, QEB Hollis Whiteman, pointed out gaps in training and policy for situations where officers need to arrest fleeing suspects. He suggested updating policies to address these scenarios and encouraged experts to consider a broader perspective when evaluating cases.

Our third session explored forensic collision investigations, Andy Smith, forensic collision investigation lead for PFEW and Northumbria Police Federation rep. John Beckwith, Forensic Collision Investigation Network (FCIN) director, and Duncan Thurlwell, operations manager, shared insights, emphasised the network's goal to enhance collision investigations nationally. Mr Beckwith stressed the FCIN's role in supporting local forces, improving standards, and addressing challenges, requiring collaboration and standardisation. The presentation reviewed the ongoing work to integrate forensic science, reduce road fatalities, and enhance public confidence in investigations.

Nick Faulconer, deputy head of fleet services for the MPS, discussed the NPCC strategic fleet portfolio update in another session on the agenda. The NPCC's fleet strategy focuses on four key areas: effective emergency response, visible presence and deterrence, net zero and environmental sustainability, and wider context.

The draft fleet strategy aims to establish core minimum standards, conduct regular audits for efficiency, navigate rapid technology changes, and promote net zero objectives. Mr Faulconer emphasised the future shift towards hybrid or electric fleets, aligning with the UK government's net zero plans. He highlighted the challenges, operational implications, and the need for collaboration to ensure a smooth transition to sustainable and connected mobility in policing. The presentation also covered Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) regulations and the evolving landscape of connected and automated mobility.

Brian Booth raised concerns about electric vehicles and the challenges faced by officers during pursuits in complex environments. He discussed the importance of proper training to avoid endangering officers. Brian Jones, vice chair of the Scottish Police Federation, shared insights into Police Scotland's electric vehicle journey, outlining its fleet and charging infrastructure.

Mr Jones outlined electric vehicle hazards, including chemical risks, armoured cabling, and potential dangers during collisions. He discussed the live nature of electric vehicles even when turned off, the risk of electric shock, and the difficulty in disconnecting components. Concerns at collision scenes were highlighted, including noxious substances, vapor, and the need for a 100-meter security perimeter.

He then presented a video depicting a potential thermal event in an electric vehicle, underscoring the importance of awareness and safety measures for emergency responders. He concluded by addressing firefighting challenges and the need for increased awareness and resources for police officers dealing with electric vehicles.

For the final session of the virtual event, the discussion centred around the future of roads policing, addressing concerns about the decline in roads policing officers and the need for a national focus on road safety. Simon Hill spoke on the broad role of roads policing, dealing with various crimes beyond traffic offences.

AA President Edmund King stressed the need for a national commitment to road safety, while Nick Simmons, CEO of RoadPeace, argued for the importance of behaviour change and consequences for road violations. Ruth Halkon, researcher at the Police Foundation, suggested a national approach to enforcement and technological solutions was needed overall. The discussion made clear the multifaceted role of roads policing and the potential impact on officers' wellbeing.

The panel discussed the potential establishment of a national roads police force with varying levels of support, although there is a need for dedicated traffic police, the counter approach highlighted challenges such as funding and the broader priority issues within policing.

Key discussion points included impact of technological advancements, and the need for research into effectiveness, data and analysis. Concerns were raised about the lack of prioritisation of road safety within the spectrum of policing, the variation in practices across different police forces, and the challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled officers.

The event concluded with questions from the audience, addressing issues such as the impact of austerity measures on roads policing, the potential skewing of road policing numbers due to training delays, and the need for long-term views on establishing and maintaining roads policing units.

A poll was taken at the end of the session to see how many people were in favour of a national roads police force, see below for the results.

To view all available sessions, visit our YouTube page

We would like to thank our headline sponsor, Slater and Gordon, for supporting this event.

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