Policy on Observing Speed Limits

JS Dean made this Freedom of Information request to Cheshire Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please could you provide the following information about the Cheshire Constabulary police force.
(1) Is there a policy that police vehicles must observe speed limits whilst being driven for routine police work (i.e. excepting emergencies)?
(2) If there is a policy, what form does it take? If there is a written policy, please supply a copy.
(3) If there is a policy, is the policy being monitored, and if so, how?
(4) If there is a policy being monitored, what were the results of the latest assessment? Please supply any relevant documents.

Thank you,

John Dean

Cheshire Constabulary

Dear Mr Dean,

I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence received 05/04/2012 which is
being dealt with as a request for information in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I am in the process of dealing with your request and will respond in due
course and in any case by 08/05/2012. Please contact us by e-mail at
[Cheshire Constabulary request email] if you have any further enquiries.

Regards

John Gannon
Information Management Unit
Tel: 01606 366556
===================================
Cheshire Constabulary Headquarters
Clemonds Hey
Oakmere Road
Winsford
CW7 2UA
===================================

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2 Attachments

Dear Mr Dean,

I refer to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 as set out below:

Please could you provide the following information about the
Cheshire Constabulary police force.
(1) Is there a policy that police vehicles must observe speed
limits whilst being driven for routine police work (i.e. excepting
emergencies)?
(2) If there is a policy, what form does it take? If there is a
written policy, please supply a copy.
(3) If there is a policy, is the policy being monitored, and if so,
how?
(4) If there is a policy being monitored, what were the results of
the latest assessment? Please supply any relevant documents.

In accordance with section 1(1) (b) of the Act our response is provided
below;

Questions 1, 2 & 3 Please see the attached Codes of Practice for police
drivers. In addition the following extracts are included to assist you:

4. USE OF EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT ON POLICE VEHICLES
Sirens, flashing headlights, blue flashing lights and special warning
lights are fitted to
police vehicles for use when a police driver engaged on an urgent response
call, is being
impeded and needs to obtain a clear passage through traffic. They also warn
other road
users that you might be travelling faster than normal traffic. Most road
users on hearing the
warning of an approaching emergency service vehicle will try to give it
precedence, but the
police driver must understand the use of warning equipment gives no
protection or right of
way whatsoever. Officers should not lose sight of the fact that unwarranted
use of warning
equipment can undermine its value. It should never be assumed that other
road users
would hear the sounding of wailer equipment or see the blue flashing
lights.
A police driver will be required on occasions to drive a police vehicle in
an emergency driving
situation. Where an officer, by operational necessity and
falling within any legal exemption, chooses to disregard a statutory
requirement then all
the emergency equipment fitted or issued to the police vehicle MUST be
operated to give
warning of approach to all road users. This is irrelevant of the time of
day or location.
The requirement of emergency response equipment to be used is as follows;
h Siren
h Blue Light / Warning Beacon
h Headlights – (Flashing headlights where fitted)
Special warning lights may also be used, but are not to be used in lieu of
a blue light /
warning beacon.

It must be remembered that at speeds over 45mph sirens become ineffective
and
cannot be heard by occupants in vehicles in advance of the emergency
vehicle,
HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT NEGATE THERE USE OVER THIS SPEED AS
OTHER ROAD USERS MAY BE VULNERABLE
If the police vehicle being used is not fitted with emergency response
equipment or the
equipment is unserviceable, it must be considered unsuitable for emergency
response
work.
When driving a police vehicle under emergency response conditions it should
be
remembered that there is no legal exemption under the law to drive other
than safely.
Proper care and attention, with due consideration to all road users is
necessary on all
occasions. Police officers should ensure that their driving capabilities
remain within the
boundaries to which they have been trained by the force Driver Training
department and
within the limits of the vehicle used.
It is the responsibility of the officer to decide that a call received
requires an immediate or
urgent response and operates the emergency equipment. This will be based
upon the type
and nature of the incident, the traffic conditions and distances and the
expected time of
arrival at the scene. The equipment must remain in operation for the
duration of the
journey unless it is deemed the call no longer requires such a response.

The above is our force policy not the law. The law, as can be seen within
the booklet, does not require a vehicle to display emergency equipment to
use a lawful exemption.

Eg:-

1. A police vehicle could follow a speeding vehicle being driven by a
member of the public in order to gather evidence of an offence of speeding
without displaying any emergency equipment.

2. An unmarked vehicle could also use all the exemptions in law without
displaying any emergency equipment that would compromise its role.

Whilst on normal patrol officers are encouraged to set a good example to
members of the public and adhere to all aspects of Road Traffic Law unless
that would hinder the use to which the vehicle is being used at that time.

All response trained drivers have their level of competence assessed every
5 years and further training is delivered if required. As you are aware
this is currently being reviewed.

T.P.A.C. trained drivers are assessed every 12 months.

Basic drivers have an authority that lasts for 30 years.

Monitoring of all drivers is the responsibility of the Driving School
Manager.

(See attached file: Police Response Driving - Codes of Practice.doc)

Question 4: There is no information held.

If I can be of any further assistance in this matter, please do not
hesitate to contact me.

If you are not satisfied with the decision applied in this case I enclose
for your attention a copy of the Constabulary's appeal procedures.

(See attached file: FOI Appeals Procedures.Final version.doc)

Regards

John Gannon
Information Management Unit
Tel: 01606 364176
*************************************
Cheshire Constabulary HQ
Oakmere Road,
Winsford,
Cheshire,
CW7 2UA

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