Publish, discuss chase policy

It is with great sadness I read of the death of two young men last weekend.

It is a regrettable consequence of our more affluent society that people die on the roads and it is even more regrettable that so many are young men.

In my local area of the UK we are having a similar debate to that being carried on in Cayman – how do we prevent so many deaths amongst our young people?

Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with an answer but would suggest that there is no simple answer.

However, your editorial does raise some pertinent issues regarding the conduct of police pursuits.

The UK has seen a number of such incidents each year with the Independent Police Complaints Commission reporting that approximately 40 people die each year from such incidents.

In recent years there have been significant changes in two areas directly related to police pursuits.

Firstly, the training of drivers has changed and secondly, the management of such pursuits has also been formalised.

Previous studies suggested that a police driver was not the best person to decide on either instigating or continuing such a pursuit.

In the UK, while a pursuit might be instigated by a police driver it is their responsibility to immediately notify their police control room where a senior officer, usually a police inspector, will decide, having regard to all the circumstances, if the pursuit should continue; from that moment on, responsibility lies with the police control room and the senior officer.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has a published policy for the management of police pursuits, which gives a lead to all police forces within England and Wales and forms the basis for a pursuit policy for each police service.

The RCIPS may not have such a robust policy in place and it should be a priority for an up to date and public policy to be implemented.

Let’s be honest, to implement such a policy is no easy undertaking and it does mean that some offenders will escape justice.

In the worst case, police may decide not to instigate a pursuit or withdraw permission for one to continue and the offending vehicle might go on to have a fatal accident.

Just like dealing with number of accidents involving our young people, there are no easy answers for police pursuits but only after a policy is published and discussed can the service move on from this awful weekend.

Ashley Tiffen

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