England and Wales see 60% increase in public injured by police vehicles

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Friday, June 24, 2005

The total number of people killed and injured by police officers driving cars in the course of their duties in England and Wales has risen by 61% in just one year.

The figures were released by Home Office minister Hazel Blears in a written answer to a question from Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green in London.

They show that in 2002-2003, a total of 22 people were killed and 1,131 were injured.

But in 2003-2004, the number killed has increased to 31, with more than 2,000 injured, of which 138 were serious.

All the people killed or injured were involved in road traffic collisions with police vehicles responding to emergency calls, or those involved in high-speed pursuits.

The police force with the worst record for deaths is Greater Manchester Police. Four people died in collisions involving GMP vehicles in 2002-2003, but the number increased to 6 the following year. However, the number injured dropped from 74 to 56 over the same period.

The safest force was Dyfed-Powys Police, who did not kill or injure anyone in both years. The force covers a rural area of Wales, with a low population density.

Independent Police Complaints Commission Chair Nick Hardwick issued a statement in response to the figures.

Training and risk assessment are the keys to reducing deaths and serious injuries involving police drivers", he said.

"We all accept that in emergencies police officers have to speed and go through red lights but they must not take unacceptable risks, either for themselves or the public."

"The IPCC will continue to manage or independently investigate the most serious collisions involving police driving. We are ensuring that the lessons learned will benefit the police service."