Officers Should Have ‘Backup Of The Law’ To Pursue Suspects In A Vehicle

Police officers should have the “full backup of the law” when pursuing suspects in a vehicle, South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Federation Chair Steve Kent was speaking following the PFEW Roads Policing Seminar on 30 January. At the seminar, barrister Mark Aldred said that police officers were facing a “lose-lose situation” when dealing with a suspect who runs away, and that they were vulnerable to being prosecuted for driving incidents while pursuing people. However officers would be equally exposed if they chose to not chase a suspect, as the public would be at risk.

Steve said: “The public expects police officers to pursue bad people, including those who steal cars, and who use cars for vehicle crime. But it is an increasingly hostile environment for officers to do this, and it’s almost like it’s not worth it because the officer’s liberty and their livelihood is on the line every time. We’re not backed by legislation.

“We know that the public are understandably sick of off-road bikes and crime that involves vehicles, as well as the standard of driving on the roads. But nobody seems to join the dots together and it’s the police officers who are putting their necks on the line when they’re going out and doing this.”

He continued: “As far as I’m concerned, if police officers are honestly trying to do their best to apprehend criminality on the road, they should have the full backup of the law, rather than being lambasted.

“Because, 90% of the time, the public overwhelmingly backs our officers to do this job, so why isn’t that message being translated to politicians? It is seriously concerning.”