Fatalities arising from road traffic incidents (RTIs) involving police vehicles make up the largest single group of deaths following police contact and are therefore a significant proportion of cases referred to the IPCC. Over recent years there has been concern over these incidents amongst the police and the general public. However, while specific cases can lead to much media attention there is very little robust evidence available to inform public debate. The IPCC felt that it was important to analyse these cases in more detail and have conducted a study to examine a range of the most serious incidents that have occurred over recent years and have sought to identify lessons for policy and practice.
Under the Police Reform Act 2002 police forces have a statutory duty to refer all incidents involving a death or serious injury to the IPCC; we therefore have a large dataset of completed investigation reports to draw on. The study aimed to establish the extent of road traffic incidents involving the police which have resulted in a fatality or serious injury; to report on the extent to which these occur in relation to police pursuits, responses to emergency calls or other police activity; to establish trend information on these incidents; and to examine the circumstances surrounding incidents leading to serious injury or death. As well as analysing the types of RTI cases referred to the IPCC, the study collated over a hundred complete investigation reports. The emerging trends and issues have been used to make recommendations for police forces and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). The report has been laid before parliament under section 11 of the Police Reform Act 2002 and can be found below:
Police Road Traffic Incidents: A Study of police-related road traffic and driving deaths and serious Injuries (pdf 1.15mb)
Since the publication of the research, the IPCC has been working closely with ACPO and road safety campaign groups to improve police pursuit policy. The ACPO guidelines have been revised and in May 2011 it was announced that they now have the force of law. Our investigations team will be taking part in awareness sessions relating to the codification of the guidelines. This will enable them to utilise the guidelines fully in investigations into police road traffic incidents. In addition, we are maintaining contact with stakeholder groups that have been involved in the process to date.
Code of practice on the management of police pursuits.
Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales annual reports.
2 March 2004Police pursuits in Wales (pdf 150k)The results from a one-year monitoring exercise in the four Welsh police forces, 2002-2003. This report follows on from the Fatal Pursuit report from 2002
2 March 2004Following Fatal Pursuit (pdf 244k)An investigation of serious Road Traffic Incidents (RTIs) involving the police, 2001-2002. This report follows on from the Fatal Pursuit report from 2002
June 2002Fatal Pursuit (pdf 164k)A study of fatal incidents arising from pursuit and other high-speed driving.
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