HC Deb 22 April 1998 vol 310 c638W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are given to police authorities on the(a) type and (b) amount of special training that must be given to police officers before they are allowed to drive police vehicles in emergency situations. [38538]

Mr. Michael

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has provided forces with detailed guidelines on police driver training. ACPO's police driving report published in May 1989, made recommendations on the grading of drivers and the core elements and minimum lengths of training courses. Such training is progressive and is designed to develop the skills of drivers so that they increase their awareness of the range of factors that affect their own training, their own capabilities, the characteristics of the vehicles they drive, and road and traffic conditions. However, it is ultimately for individual chief constables to determine the extent of training received by their officers and how they are deployed.

Under current arrangements, officers attend Standard or Advanced driver training courses either in-force or regionally. They progress from Standard to Advanced driver training through patrol experience and driver ability.

Driver training is based on "Roadcraft", a published manual available to the public, the 1989 police driving report and the Horner Report of 1995 on pursuits. Following the death of Judith Hood, killed as a result of a collision with a police car driven by a driving instructor on a training exercise, ACPO set up a working party to examine police pursuit driving training. The working group has examined the recommendations of both the 1989 and 1995 reports which it considers to be good practice but the group has yet to complete its work. The key issue is the need to train officers so they are capable of understanding modern road conditions and exercise all due care when travelling at speeds and in conditions beyond those experienced by the general motorist. Attitudes of police drivers and computerised driver simulator training are key areas currently being explored by the working group.