POLICE drivers will become safer in their jobs with greater legal protections a step closer.
Representatives of the Police Federation of England and Wales Federation met members of the House of Lords earlier this month to press for amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Zoë Wakefield said this should make a “real difference” to police officers when they get behind the wheel.
She said: “Hopefully this is going to translate so that police officers, when they respond, when they drive at high speeds and use their response training skills, that they are not then judged against the standards of an ordinary member of the public. I would hope that their driving will be assessed against the standards that they’ve been trained to drive at as to whether or not they’ve dipped below that standard or not, or been dangerous in their actions.”
This will improve the lives of police officers who face years of investigations simply for doing their jobs, she said.
Zoë said: “It will make a difference because we had an officer in Hampshire that went all the way to Crown Court on a dangerous driving charge for just doing what he’d been trained to do and I know there’s been multiple similar cases all over the country, which is just horrendous to think about.
“These officers think – ‘Well they’ve told me it’s an emergency so I’ll put the blue lights and the sirens on and I’ll drive according to how I’ve been trained. I might go through some red lights, taking care. I might overtake on the wrong side of the road and I might exceed the speed limit, but that’s all the stuff I’ve been trained to do’, and then you end up in Crown Court because of that. It’s ridiculous that it ever got to that point. Hopefully this will mean now that that doesn’t happen anymore.”
Zoë added: “I’d hope that if any officer has had to go to court with careless or dangerous driving then they have been assessed against their training and they did mess up. Because with all these other ones, they did nothing wrong. So I’d hope that no officer has to go to court where they’ve done nothing wrong, just because the law doesn’t give them the right protection.”