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Conference 2017 | Police drivers are faced with an undue risk because they are taught to drive in a way that the law deems is dangerous.

That's the view of Hampshire Police Federation Chairman John Apter, who quizzed NPCC roads policing chief Anthony Bangham at the Police Federation conference.

John said: "All of the risk is for the officer and the driver. It's the officer who makes a decision. With the greatest respect that is a copout from leadership.

"By the definition of the law, we are training people to drive dangerously. Does that mean chiefs are vicariously liable? Does that mean that it will only be when a Chief is gripping the rail alongside one of our colleagues in court that things with truly change?"

CC Bangham said: "It cannot be right that it's acceptable we authorising it and allowing people to make decisions that our outside the law. For pursuits it is outside the law and we have to close that gap."

The roads policing session also heard from a Merseyside PC who said he barely slept when he found out he was being investigated for dangerous driving - facing court proceedings and a gross misconduct charge.

PC James Ellerton found himself in court after he stopped a dangerous bike rider in the streets of Liverpool in the early hours of 14 September 2015.

The rider himself was disqualified from driving after the incident.

PC Ellerton (pictured) was acquitted of the criminal charges by a jury in October 2016 and was subsequently cleared of gross misconduct. However, seven months after his trial he is still not back to frontline policing.

Speaking to the Police Federation Annual Conference in Birmingham, PC Ellerton said: "I remember the day I was served like it was yesterday. I had sleepless nights as I ran the events over and over in my mind. But I remember thinking deep down, I'm sure I'll be alright.

"There was no warning when I received the charge. Even the force Professional Standards Department had no idea. By this point I barely slept.

"Luckily, I was fully supported by my force. Before I knew it I had my first appearance at court. This was my lowest point but I continued I fight. I told myself that even if I was convicted I could look myself in the eye and know that I had done the right thing.

"I still remain positive about my future in the police. For now, I want to use this experience to protect our colleagues so they don't have to go through the same situation as I did."

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, NPCC lead on roads policing, said guidance from the Department of Public Prosecutions should treat police drivers separately to other emergency services.

He said: "We're trying to balance risk but also our overarching aim to protect the public. "The thing that bothers me the most is that there is no DPP guidance that separates out policing from other emergency services. We need somewhere for there to be explicit reference to say the police have to do things differently from other emergency services."

Barrister Mark Aldred said officers still need more protection from the law as there was a "disconnect" between legislation and what officers are taught.

He said: "There's something not right in the system and more protection is required still.

"There is a disconnect between the training and the law. As soon as you start engaging in risk that falls under dangerous driving and that can't be right."


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