Over the past year or so, the Internet has been full of footage where police have used their vehicles to ram offenders riding mopeds. This practice has caused a real split in the public as some are for the hard tactics and others see the police as acting in a criminally dangerous way.
There are now plans to change the law to support the police in their actions amid rumours how current rules are undermining the police in their war against moped gangs.
The Home Office has carried out a public consultation on proposals to introduce a new high legal evidential test for police officers facing possible criminal allegations following a high-speed pursuit. This would mean the police response driver’s expert training would be taken into account should criminal proceedings be brought against them, following such a pursuit.
Currently, all emergency services drivers, responding to a 999 incident, are exempt from prosecutions for offences such as speeding, running a red light and traffic sign violations. However, the same legal test for offences of careless driving and dangerous driving are applied in the same way to police officers as they are to the general public.
The changes, which the home office have stated were backed by the “overwhelming majority” of respondents to its consultation will aim to:
Introduce a new legal test so that an officer’s driving is compared to that of a competent and careful police driver with the same level of training performing the same role, rather than a member of the public;
Apply to all police officers trained to response driver level as well as advanced driver level, therefore covering those pursuing criminals and also emergency police responders;
the various emergency service exemptions to traffic law will be reviewed.
Said Javed, the Home Secretary stated: “It’s vital police officers feel confident and protected when pursuing suspects on the roads or responding to an emergency.
“It’s also crucial that we send a clear message that criminals – whether in cars or on mopeds – cannot escape arrest simply by driving recklessly.
“These proposed changes will strike the right balance – giving trained officers the confidence they need to fight crime effectively and ensure our roads are safe.”
Unsurprisingly, the plans have been welcomed by the Police Federation for England and Wales, who represent 119,000 serving police officers. They have been campaigning for such a change for a long time.
Chairman John Apter said: “It is good that Her Majesty’s Government has agreed to this much-needed change in legislation to reflect police driver training.
“This is a positive step and something we have long been campaigning for.
“Sadly, it comes too late for many police officers who have been investigated and had their lives turned upside-down, facing lengthy court proceedings for simply doing the job they have been trained to do.
“It is important that when police officers are required to use their training to protect society, they can do so with the confidence that the law is on their side.
“What now needs to happen is meaningful action – we need the Government to be bold, prioritise this issue, find the Parliamentary time to do so, and fulfil its promise to police officers and the public.”
About Carl Millar
Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.
Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.
With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.
Getting in contact with Carl and Millars Solicitors is really easy. You can call him FREE on 0800 999 5535 or in an emergency you can call on 07732 054827.