Title: Managing the safety of police pursuits: a mixed method case study of the Metropolitan Police Service, London

Organisation: University College London (Centre for Transport Studies)
Date uploaded: 23rd June 2020
Date published/launched: May 2020

This report into the safety of police pursuits in London sets out a series of recommendations to reduce the associated risks.

The report, which explores the factors that generate pursuits and influence their safety, was authored by professor Nicola Christie, from University College London (UCL) Centre for Transport Studies with funding from the Road Safety Trust.

The study combined analysis of Metropolitan Police Service pursuit data (201618) and evidence from 24 interviews with police drivers and control room staff.

The analysis revealed the proportion of pursuits that resulted in an injury was 3.7% while only 1% of pursuits resulted in an injury to a member of the public not involved in the pursuit.

The interview data suggested that pursuit safety could be improved by drivers giving clearer justification of why they decided to pursue, more training of operators to perform risk commentaries, greater use of pre-emptive strategies and continuing the checks and balances provided by control room staff.

Moreover, fear of personal repercussions, concerns about facing criminal investigation in the event of a crash, and public scrutiny made all staff involved in the management of pursuits risk averse.

Recommendations for improving safety, set out in the report, include refresher driver training in line with other operations which can involve lethal force, such as firearms, and improving risk commentary training for operators.

Meanwhile, the report calls for technologies that track or immobilise a vehicle and curtail a pursuit to be more widely available and says in the future, drones could be used as an alternative to helicopter deployment.

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