Officers On Roads And Frontline Teams Are In An “Awful situation”

Police officers are facing a lose-lose situation because they are being prosecuted for simply doing their jobs – and are being held liable if they don’t – Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, was speaking after leading barrister Mark Aldred told a conference that officers were “vulnerable” to being prosecuted for driving incidents when pursuing people but were equally exposed if they chose to not chase a suspect as the general public would be at risk.

Zoë said officers on roads and frontline teams are in an “awful situation”.

One officer in Hampshire is being investigated after a suspect made off on a moped, while other officers are still scarred after highly trained advanced police driver PC James Holden was prosecuted for pursuing a stolen van through Portsmouth. The case was taken all the way through to Crown Court, putting the officer through months of hell, before he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Zoë said: “It’s an awful situation and I really feel for my colleagues out there. There’s no protection there for emergency drivers when they are driving as they are trained to drive. Any police officer could find themselves up in court charged with careless or dangerous driving when they’re just doing their job.

“The majority of the public don’t want police officers to end up in court [following pursuits]. I’ve got no sympathy if an officer isn’t response-trained or isn’t pursuit-trained and then they go and do it. They know they don’t have the training for that. But for those officers that follow all the training that they’re given and follow all the directions that they’re being given by the control room, why should that officer then be prosecuted? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

“It’s not just police officers; it’s ambulance drivers, the fire service. I presume even the NHS blood drivers. It’s absolutely crazy.”

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