Passengers in Police Vehicles
Dated: 30 Oct 2015
NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED
POLICY TITLE: Passengers in Police Vehicles
OWNING DIRECTORATE: Local Policing and Operations
AUTHOR: Chief Inspector, Motor Patrols
CONTACT DETAILS: 101 Ext. 62953
AIM OF POLICY: To provide clarification regarding the carriage of passengers in police vehicles.
BENEFIT OF POLICY: Protection of police officers, police staff and members of the public.
REASON FOR POLICY: Northumbria Police acknowledges its duty to protect life in accordance with Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
DESCRIPTION OF POLICY:
Use of Police Vehicles
Police vehicles will only be used in connection with authorised police duty.
Northumbria Police recognises that particular risks may be presented when single-crewed officers or police staff carry unaccompanied passengers. A dynamic assessment should be undertaken encompassing all the risk factors including the vulnerability of both the passenger and the single-crewed officer or police staff member, and the risks associated with awaiting the arrival of a colleague or other third person to act as chaperone.
Northumbria Police acknowledges its duty to protect life in accordance with Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
In recognition of this, although any person travelling in a vehicle being used for police purposes is not required by law to wear a seatbelt, all Northumbria Police personnel are required to protect themselves by wearing seatbelts at all times, except where they assess that doing so on a particular journey would expose them, or others, to some greater danger.
All Northumbria Police personnel will, where practicable, encourage detainees to wear seatbelts and will require other passengers in police vehicles to wear seatbelts as a condition of being transported in the vehicle.
The transportation of detainees is subject of a separate Force policy.
It is not practical to make a full range of child safety equipment available (such as booster cushions and restraints) for use in operational police vehicles. Before transporting a child passenger, the driver will consider whether there are alternatives which may be safer, for example social services or relatives that may be able to assist, and whether it is safer to transport the child or to make other arrangements for the child's safety. Where there is no practical alternative to the child being carried in police transport, the child will sit in the rear and should if possible wear a seatbelt. Once at a place of safety other arrangements will be made for further transport. Police vehicles will not be used under any circumstances.
People who are stranded or in danger
If a member of the public is in a position considered vulnerable by a police officer (taking into account all relevant circumstances including location, time of day, likely threat to the person, any representations by them and the duty of the police to protect life), the officer will offer assistance in moving the individual to a safer location.
Northumbria Police is not a taxi service and assistance will normally only involve helping to arrange transport at the person's own expense, e.g. by calling a relative, friend or taxi.
Where this is not possible, the officer will offer transport to a police station or other suitable safe place nearby, where other arrangements can be made. When this is necessary the Communications Centre will first be informed and a note made in the vehicle logbook. Only in exceptional circumstances, and with the authority of a supervisor, will a person be taken home by police.
A VULNERABLE PERSON SHOULD NOT BE LEFT ALONE IN AN ISOLATED LOCATION, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT, UNLESS THE PERSON DECLINES ALL ASSISTANCE.
People who require medical attention
Whilst police vehicles should not be routinely used to transport people requiring medical attention, it is accepted that there will be occasions when transporting such individuals in police vehicles may be the most appropriate way for officers to deal with an incident.
When police vehicles are used for this purpose the following actions must be undertaken:
1) Inform supervision to obtain authority to transport.
2) inform control room in order that the relevant details be added to the incident log and/or an incident log to be created if not already in existence.
Any decision to transport persons for the purpose of medical attention shall be considered on an individual basis according to the circumstances as existing.
Passengers in connection with operational incidents and duties
Although Northumbria Police will not routinely offer to transport appropriate adults, keyholders, people involved in road traffic collisions, witnesses and next of kin, people released from police detention etc, there will be circumstances where it is appropriate or efficient to do so. Where this is done in connection with an incident, the Communications Centre will be informed and a comment added to the appropriate incident log. Where no incident log exists, details of the passenger and journey will be added to the vehicle logbook. Where lengthy journeys are considered, permission will be obtained from a supervisor. While carrying a non-police passenger in these circumstances the vehicle will not be driven using blue beacons or sirens and will not respond to calls which require the driver to use legal exemptions to speed limits etc. If it is necessary to respond to an exceptionally urgent call, the passenger will be left at a safe place before responding.
Pre-planned operations - media and other agency passengers
Where passengers are to be carried in connection with a pre-planned operation (for example, other enforcement agency staff or media representatives) the officer producing the operational order will, when undertaking risk assessments of the operation, specifically consider and document:
Whether it is appropriate to carry passengers when it can be expected that circumstances may develop during the operation, particularly where it is anticipated that beacons and sirens or legal exemptions may need to be used.
How passengers will be dealt with, should an emergency occur, which has not already been considered within the operational order, (e.g. leave passenger at a safe place, remove the vehicle carrying passengers from the danger area etc).
Whether equipment (e.g. video or audio recorders) required by the passengers can safely be carried and what additional safety measures carrying the equipment will require.
SOURCE DOCUMENT: None
GROUPS AFFECTED: All Police Officers and Police Staff
ACCESS AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: None