New rules call as deaths from cop crashes double

PUBLISHED: 17:25 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 August 2010

THE number of people killed by police cars has almost doubled in the last year. Some 40 people died as a result of a collision with officers

THE number of people killed by police cars has almost doubled in the last year.

Some 40 people died as a result of a collision with officers' vehicles in 2008/9, up from 24 the previous year.

The figures have led to calls from police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for a universal pursuit policy to ensure all forces are following the same procedures.

IPCC Commissioner Tom Davis said: "It is now two years since we published the findings of a major study into deaths following police road traffic incidents.

"As part of that study we called for the introduction of standard mandatory guidance. Although we are moving closer to achieving this goal it has yet to happen."

A former Bromley police officer, Malcolm Searles, from Swanley, is currently facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving along with three counts of dangerous driving and three counts of speeding after his car hit grandmother Sandra Simpson, 61, on August 23 last year.

He is due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on September 4.

The IPCC wants police control rooms to take a greater decision making role in police pursuits and for risk assessments to be undertaken quickly where possible.

Mr Davies added: "There is ministerial approval for statutory guidelines drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers to be codified.

"But it will still take some time until codification takes place and until then individual forces will continue to work to their wide range of policies.

"This means police officers can be using different policies to colleagues from another force who police the same road 100 yards further along. This makes providing a consistent evaluation of officers' actions difficult for IPCC investigators.

"It also confuses the public and therefore undermines their confidence in the standards they understand officers should adhere to.

"Therefore we have taken the decision that in the near future we will be applying the ACPO agreed police pursuit guidelines in all investigations, before government codification takes place.

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