Metropolitan Police Federation

Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh and the PFEW Parliamentary Sub-committee met with members of the House of Lords this week to discuss how the law can better protect police officers.

The Sub-committee pressed for three amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in their meeting with Lord Hogan-Howe, Lord Bach and Lord Coaker, who “showed support” for the changes.

The issues discussed included protecting roads police officers and putting time limits on disciplinary investigations.

One proposal in the Bill is that drivers not only stop under section 163, but to also switch off their engine. PFEW is also suggesting police officers should have the power to ask occupants of the vehicle to exit upon request.

It is also calling for the law to protect drivers who have to engage in pursuits. A new legal test will be applied measuring police drivers against ‘careful and competent police driver’, but this could still leave officers exposed. PFEW is pushing the Government to consider adding a reasonableness defence clause to the bill to give officers flexibility to act instinctively to keep the public safe.

Lastly, the PFEW is fighting for police disciplinary investigations to be concluded within 12 months from the moment an allegation is made, via its Time Limits campaign.

PFEW’s tabled amendments, which have already gained cross-party support, will now be taken forward to the committee stage and will be discussed in detail by the House of Lords.

PFEW Parliamentary Sub-committee Secretary Tiff Lynch said: “It was a really important day for the Parliamentary Sub-committee where Met Fed Chair Ken Marsh, Tim Rogers, Phill Matthews, PFEW Welsh Lead Nicky Ryan and myself, met peers from the House of Lords prior to the debate on the second reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

“It will now move into the committee stage, and I am really grateful to those peers in the House of Lords to be showing us so much support for our amendments. We will continue pushing towards a change in legislation which will support and protect our members.”

PFEW Pursuits and Driver Training Lead Tim Rogers added: “It is exceptional news that peers understand the amendments we have tabled and what is required.

“They have agreed they are an essential aspect of making the bill fit for purpose to ensure our colleagues covering the millions of miles of our roads network to keep the public safe are given the support and protection they deserve and are not penalised for doing their jobs.

“To make the bill achieve what legislators intended we need this amendment.”

Speaking about the Time Limits campaign, PFEW Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews said: “We’ve explained our rationale on why we think it is important for both complainants, members of the public and our police colleagues to get complaints dealt with within a 12-month time scale – or, if not, to have some legal oversight on why the investigation isn’t moving at a reasonable and fair pace. The lords have understood that and are prepared to support that in the Bill, which is great news.”