Officers who have been involved in incidents in which they have been injured – or risked injury – due to a driver making off after a police stop are being urged to help build a body of evidence that could help secure a change in the law to give colleagues better protection in the future.
The Federation is working with the Home Office to amend the new Police Powers and Protections Bill to allow for a new requirement for officers to require motorists to get out of their vehicles when requested to do so after a police stop.
It comes after a series of incidents in which officers have been seriously injured by drivers who when stopped refuse to get out of their vehicle and then drive at them when making off.
Tim Rogers, pursuits driving lead for the Federation nationally and deputy secretary of West Midlands Police Federation, has already successfully campaigned for legislative change to give better legal protection for police drivers and this has been included in the new bill meaning their driving will no longer be judged by the standards of the careful and competent driver with their training and expertise being taken into account.
But, while liaising with the Home Office to progress the new bill, it has become clear that an amendment to Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 or a new power under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) could potentially be incorporated too.
“Despite the current crisis, ministers appear to remain committed to introduce the bill, which was introduced in the Queen’s Speech last December, later in this Parliamentary session which is very positive news,” says Tim.
“Legislative vehicles for such improvements; improvements that will have a positive impact on all officers, do not come along very often. Therefore, we have several matters on the same bill.”
Tim wrote to the Home Office in March to ask for consideration of an expansion of Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, to introduce a new power that would allow police to make people get out of a vehicle on request.
The move has the support, in principle, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s roads policing lead, Anthony Bangham.
But Tim also wants to hear from any officers who have been involved in incidents where they have been injured – or risked injury – after stopping a vehicle and urges them to contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
“We need as much evidence as possible to be able to present to the Home Office so that we can succeed in securing a change to legislation that will give officers better protection. Too many officers are being injured and we need to secure a change in the law to help prevent these type of incidents in the future,” says Tim.