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Police afraid of speedsters?

2012-05-21 12:16

POLICE TO GIVE UP THE CHASE: If you're a British criminal, a speedy getaway just became a lot easier as it's reported officers there are afraid to chase down fleeing criminals.

Police officers are reluctant to chase down speeding criminals for fear of being prosecuted for dangerous driving.

According to the DailyMail, the UK's Police Federation stated that hundreds of officers were concerned about undertaking high speed pursuits due to the risk of them being required to appear in court.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer is investigating current legislation as the Federation warned that officers could refuse to pursue criminals unless the law is changed.


The move follows a landmark case involving a police officer being prosecuted for chasing a criminal - despite no complaints being made.

Constable James Holden was following a serial burglar who raced through several red lights and went the wrong way along a section of road before his stolen van crashed through a railway barrier in Cosham, Hampshire.

Despite no complaints, senior officers said the chase had gone on "too long" and had put lives and properties at risk. An independent review described Holden’s driving as "admirable, not careless, reckless or dangerous" and "typical of an urban pursuit", reports the DailyMail.

Despite this, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service decided to prosecute the officer for dangerous driving though a jury cleared the constable of any wrongdoing in February 2012.

The landmark case has raised fears that dozens of other police patrol officers could face prosecution simply for trying to catch a fleeing criminal.

Chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation John Apter said: "In some cases police officers are saying I do not want to go through what PC Holden went through just for doing my job.

"I am not going to put my foot down. Some officers have decided that the risk to them is not worth it. I understand that position," he said.

Apter said that if laws aren't changed police officers would lose faith in the system and won't put themselves at risk.

Apter said: "I can see officers refusing to pursue which would be very sad for the police and for the public - it would be Christmas for criminals."


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