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Deaths from police pursuits more than double

The number of people killed during police pursuit-related incidents has more than doubled in the last year, from 13 to 28.

The figures, released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), reveal that out of 24 incidents, only one involved a person riding a motorbike. One other involved a quad bike.

They come at a time when both motorcyclists and the general public have expressed frustration at the lack of police pursuits involving criminals riding mopeds.

The figures break down as:

  • Ten people were the driver of a vehicle being pursued by the police when it crashed. Of these, one person was riding a motorbike. In another incident, the person was riding a quad bike.
  • Twelve people were passengers in the car being pursued by the police.
  • Five people were pedestrians, and one was a cyclist, who were all hit by the pursued or suspect vehicle.

The figures are the results of IPCC investigations and can be found in their report, Deaths During or Following Police Contact, England and Wales, 2016/17. All police pursuits that involve a serious injury or death are investigated by the IPCC.

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In 2014/15, the number of pursuit-related deaths was only 7, meaning the total number of deaths has doubled two years in a row.

Since 2014, officers are reported to be less likely to pursue motorcyclists, due to the risk of prosecution and the impact of tougher guidelines on police pursuits.

However, those guidelines have been in place since 2009 and various years between their introduction and now have seen a number of spikes and dips. In some years the number of deaths has been as low as 7 (14/15) but as high as 27 (12/13). There has been no explanation from the police of the doubling for the past two years.

It is unclear if the reports finding will affect current discussions between the National Police Chief’s Council and the Home Office on a potential review of current pursuit guidelines.

In the same two year period that deaths have doubled each year, figures from the Metropolitan Police show that motorcycle enabled crimes have risen seven-fold, from 1,053 in 2014 to 7,668 last year.

Get yourself sorted:

If you would like to see police given more authority to pursue motorcycle borne criminals, please see how you can help change the legislation.
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