THE introduction of greater protection for police drivers is “excellent news” for officers, Hampshire Police Federation has said.
Following years of lobbying, the law is to change in the autumn so that police officers are better protected during pursuits and blue light runs.
The recently renamed Protection of the Police and Public, Courts and Sentencing Bill will regard officers as driving dangerously only if the way they drive falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful constable who has undertaken the prescribed training; or
It would be obvious to such a competent and careful constable that driving in that way would be dangerous.
Zoë Wakefield, Hampshire Police Federation Chair, said this would enable police officers to do their job as best as they can, and also give the public greater confidence in the police.
She said: “This is a campaign that the Federation has been fighting for. This is brilliant news because now police officers will be tested against the training and the skills that they got on the training that they’ve had, not against a member of the public’s DVLA driving standard.
“In peak rush hour traffic you can’t get anywhere in any city centre without those blues and twos, so you’ve got to be a response driver, you’ve got to go through red lights, overtake vehicles and break speed limits in order to get to where you need to be. When people dial 999 and want our help it’s an emergency and they want us there now, not in 45 minutes time when we’ve fought through the traffic.”
The Police Federation of England and Wales’ Tim Rogers added: “All police drivers will have to drive and perform tactics exactly as they have been trained. Your average motorist probably never drives exactly as they did on their test but that is not an option for police drivers.
“The training is there for a reason. Driving a car at speed or contrary to any road signs or restrictions in place comes at a risk and that risk is only mitigated by officers following their training to the letter.”