Matthew Scott backs review of police pursuit laws
Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed the Home Office’s consultation to give the police greater confidence to pursue suspects.
Mr Scott has previously, alongside frontline police officers and the Police Federation, expressed concern that drivers do not have sufficient backing in legal terms should an incident occur during a pursuit. Officers can find themselves subject to lengthy scrutiny and uncertainty while the Crown Prosecution Service and potentially the Independent Office of Police Conduct reviews the circumstances of the incident.
The Government is therefore consulting on a separate legal test for police drivers that would require:
Following the Policing Minister Nick Hurd’s announcement on 22 May, Mr Scott said:
- an officer to drive to the standard of a careful and competent police driver of a similar level of training and skill;
- that the driving tactics employed, including any exemptions from road traffic legislation, such as speed limits, or contact with a suspect vehicle, are authorised appropriately and are both necessary and proportionate.
‘I fully endorse this new consultation that I hope will solve this absurd situation once and for all. Our highly-trained response drivers should not have their careers put on hold, or face legal action, just for doing their job of pursuing alleged criminals.
‘I am pleased that Ministers are speaking out against the myth that drivers cannot pursue suspects not wearing a helmet. It is not right that police officers can be held accountable for a suspect’s dangerous driving. The law should be changed to reflect that the alleged criminal is responsible for their own decisions.’