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DEATHS FROM FATAL POLICE CAR CHASES SOAR

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The Police Complaints Authority forecasts that at least 40 people will be killed in high-speed police chases on Bri...
The Police Complaints Authority forecasts that at least 40 people will be killed in high-speed police chases on Britain's roads this year, reported the Sunday Express (pp 10-11).

The last seven months have seen 26 deaths. Police drivers are involved in about 1,000 car crashes every month.

With 25 police pursuit deaths for the whole of last year and only six in 1999, the increase is 'alarming' set against the overall fall in fatal road accidents. Last year 3,400 were killed - the lowest number since 1926.

So far no action has been taken against any of the officers involved in the 26 deaths.

The Police Complaints Authority, which investigates the accidents, says the police drivers involved were considered to be following standard procedure.

However, Kevin Delaney, former head of the Metropiltan Police traffic division, said poor judgment from police officers was often to blame. He said: 'There is a real problem here. It really is a very, very serious issue. But it takes a very brave chief constable to tell his officers to slow down. Police authorities want to believe this isn't a problem, but it is. It is institutional. Police forces don't have the money or the inclination to provide their drivers with the training they need'.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Simom Hughes pledged to raise the issue with home secretary David Blunkett today.

And the Police Complaints Authority has also called for an overhaul of police pursuit policy.

PCA chairman Alistair Graham said: 'The number of deaths this year could rise to 40. Each police force has a duty to ensure its actions do not place the the public at risk. I think there is a major question mark regarding whether there is sufficient training for police officers'.

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