Police pursuit powers under review

police car

Published on 9 April 2018 by Robert Drane

Police regulations governing the pursuit of suspects on bikes are under review, a government minister has confirmed.

Nick Hurd MP, the Home Office minister responsible for policing, said that “we do intend to change things” to protect police officers who pursue suspects on stolen bikes, scooters and mopeds. The low probability of being caught and arrested has been widely cited as a major contributing factor to a sharp increase in bike-related thefts and other crimes in recent years.

At present, many officers are reluctant to give chase due to the risk of being prosecuted for dangerous driving if a suspect falls off during the pursuit. A prosecution was brought against one Merseyside officer in 2015 after a criminal was knocked from a bike during a pursuit, leading to a 14-month period of suspension from front-line duties before he was ultimately cleared by Liverpool Crown Court.

Welcoming the announcement, BMF Chairman Jim Freeman said: “The BMF supports any move to encourage the police to pursue bike thieves. It's been a well-known 'get out' for bike thieves for many years, where their personal safety was a much higher priority than their apprehension. The deliberate removal of helmets by criminals using bikes to stop police pursuit is another aspect of the same issue.”

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Main photo: By KRoock74 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons