Official investigation concludes that police take too many risks on the road
18 September 2007

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has advised that more structured rules be implemented in police chases. As the official non-governmental police watchdog, the IPCC was called in to carry out an investigation following a fatal crash on the M4 yesterday (17 September), involving a car that had been chased by police until it turned onto the wrong side of the carriageway, when the pursuit stopped. The car later crashed head-on into another vehicle. Five people died in the collision, and another is still critically ill in hospital.According to the chairman of the IPCC, Nick Hardwick, "the danger is that officers initiate a pursuit and without any tactics available to end it simply wait for something to happen."It is suggested that a strict code be enforced telling police when they should initiate a chase on public roads, and when they should back down. The IPCC also calls for control centres to be more active in informing officers of the situation and whether they should commit to a high-speed chase, and for officers in 4x4s and vans to avoid pursuits wherever possible. As a result of this, the Association of Chief Police Officers has announced a review of the existing pursuit guidelines, which currently are not compulsory regulations.There were 49 fatal and serious injuries as a result of police chases in the first half of 2007, compared to the 71 pursuit-related injuries and deaths recorded in the whole of 2006.

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