Fears that criminals could take advantage of speed cap

Dyfed Powys Federation secretary Roger Webb fears criminals would take advantage of any speed cap imposed on the police.

Instead, Roger said it should be left to the judgement of individual drivers as to the appropriate response to emergency calls in line with their training.

Roger’s comments come after Judge Mark Lucraft called for the Metropolitan Police to review acceptable speeds for responses to 999 calls during the sentencing of an officer for causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Lucraft said: “I note there is no clear guidance provided by the Metropolitan Police on speeds police cars should not exceed in responding to emergency calls when driving in residential areas or roads subject to a speed limit of 30 mph.

Speed limits

“In my judgment further thought should be given to this issue particularly as the speed limits in many residential areas are being further reduced to 20 mph.”

Roger said: “Creating a second speed limit for police drivers would reduce their ability to respond quickly and effectively to emergency calls.

“The speed limit would almost certainly have to be made public and I’m sure that criminals would take advantage of that.

“They’ll know that our drivers can only respond at a certain speed and that if they drive faster we’re less likely to catch them, and that will create a greater risk to the public.

“Police drivers are trained to a high standard and that training includes the appropriate response. No two incidents are the same and it should be left to individual drives to make a judgement in line with their training.”

Roger’s comments were echoed by Tim Rogers, pursuits driving lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales.


Tim Rogers, pursuits driving lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales.


He said: “To impose a second speed limit moves away from the law, creates confusion and vulnerability for all concerned.

“It also reduces the ability of policing to operate effectively. The imposition of a second limit would make police drivers somewhat impotent. Criminality would soon catch onto this frailty.

“The efficiency of subject matter experts assessing the standard of the careful and competent police driver is confused by any force imposing a local speed cap.

“The force then would be sitting outside of the national legal standard that keep officers and the public safe.”

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has written to all chief constables in England and Wales to say that a review into all aspects of police driving was being carried out following the court case.


But Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, NPCC lead for police driving, said the NPCC “does not support the notion of speeds caps or a local policy which in effect serve only to create another speed ‘limit’ above the legally recognised limit”. 

He wrote: “The act of driving to attend a call for service or incident must always be regarded as an integral part of our overall response to the incident itself.

“Decisions that relate to the appropriate use of speed, whether exceeding the posted limit or not, must be made by the trained police driver on a case by case basis, considering all of the available information and individual circumstances known at the relevant time.”

Tim Rogers welcomed the NPCC’s “sensible and evidence-based approach”.

He said: “I do hope for a sensible approach from chiefs across the country, one that supports the mechanisms we have worked hard to implement.”

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