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Detail of outcome
In May 2018, we consulted on the law, guidance and practice surrounding police driving in England, Wales and Scotland. We sought views from groups representing road users, police officers, forces and other related organisations to harness their knowledge and expertise.
We would like to extend our thanks to all those whom responded to the consultation. The consultation received over 380 responses from individuals and organisations from across the UK, including 222 responses from police officers, forces and other related organisations.
In addition, during and since the consultation period, we have also continued to work with the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police Federation, the National Police Chiefs Council and others in order to refine our proposals.
We have considered the responses to the consultation and believe there is consensus on the need to make some changes to ensure the police drivers are given the tools to do their jobs, while maintaining road safety.
The government will look to introduce a new test to assess the standard of driving of a police officer. This new test will compare the standard of driving against that of a careful, competent and suitably trained police driver in the same role rather than use the existing test which compares driving against a standard qualified driver who would not normally be involved in police action.
The government has also decided to examine how to:
- make clear police officers should not be regarded as being accountable for the driving of a suspected criminal who is attempting to avoid arrest by driving in a dangerous manner, providing the pursuit is justified and proportionate; and to
- review the existing emergency service exemptions to traffic law to ensure they remain fit for purpose
We have published the findings of our review of the legislation, guidance and practice surrounding the police’s pursuit of suspected criminals, announced in September 2017, and we are seeking views on future options in this area.
The review focussed in particular on the issues facing police drivers and whether driving in accordance with their training, experience and exemptions from certain areas of road traffic legislation might leave them facing criminal or disciplinary proceedings.
Issues set out in this document for consultation and potential future action include:
- considering whether any legislative change should apply only to police pursuits or to police response driving as well
- whether to revise the various exemptions from certain areas of road traffic legislation to make them clearer and more consistent
- amending the definitions in the offences of careless and dangerous driving to take account of the training and experience of police drivers
- making clear that a suspect being pursued is responsible for their own decision to drive dangerously and that blame should not be attached to the pursuing police officer
Subject to the outcome of this consultation and work elsewhere, the we intend to bring forward comprehensive road safety legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.