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Police responding to emergencies have sufficient legal guidance and exemptions

29 Jun 2017

The NPCC lead has reiterated that police officers responding to emergencies are covered by legal guidance that shows it is not in the public interest to prosecute them. 

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said:

“Individual forces receive hundreds of thousands of 999 calls every month to respond to emergencies.

“The existing guidance enables officers to use their extensive training to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible without putting members of the public at risk. There are clear exemptions in law for officers in these situations. Together with our colleagues in the fire and ambulance services we are deeply proud to be a service that reacts first to protect the public from danger.

“Current guidance from the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Crown Prosecution Service already recognises that it is unlikely to be in the public interest to prosecute officers for driving offences while they are responding to emergency calls. There have been very few incidents in which an officer responding to emergency has been prosecuted or had misconduct charges brought against them.

Further information:

While there is a case for additional legal support for officers pursuing a subject, the general guidance and existing traffic law covering response driving in emergencies is considered sufficient.