Whistleblower helps Northern Echo reveal new ‘don’t chase’ policy at police force over car safety concerns

Police officers have been told not to chase criminals due to problems with their BMWs, the Northern Echo revealed to readers.

The paper revealed to readers that a ‘no pursuit policy’ has been introduced by the force sparking fears that criminals could get away simply by driving over the speed limit.

A police whistle-blower shared documents from senior officers at Durham Police ordering traffic and firearms officers not to exceed the speed limit in affected BMW vehicles unless there is an immediate threat to life.

Durham Constabulary confirmed a review of its vehicles is underway after politicians labelled the situation ‘astonishing.’ The story was broken by Gavin Havery.

The policy was outlined in a series of bullet points seen by the Echo. They said:

  • All BMW drivers are aware that vehicles must be driven within the speed limits and that only in clear Article 2 risk circumstances are the speed limits broken and only when absolutely necessary;
  • Some of the high performance features on the vehicles are not to be used;
  • The vehicles are to be driven conservatively at all times;
  • Vehicles must not be left idling.

A Durham Constabulary spokesman confirmed the review of the BMW fleet was underway.

He said: “We are aware of a reported problem affecting some police vehicles across the country and have already taken steps to ensure the safety of both our officers and the public, including a review of our fleet to ensure that any potential issues are swiftly identified and addressed.

“Durham Constabulary remain confident that service delivery will be maintained while this review is being carried out.”

A spokesman for BMW said: “We have been working with the police for some time on a technical matter linked to a small number of special high-performance vehicles.

“This issue is associated with the particular way in which the police operate these high-performance vehicles.

“This unique usage profile puts extra strain on some components and therefore BMW has specified a special servicing programme for these vehicles.”

A leader column in the Echo piled on the pressure: “The public needs to know that the police have all the tools to apprehend the most dangerous criminals,
and yet police policy is that BMWs should be driven “conservatively”.

“This is an issue which has to be highlighted — you can’t have criminals being allowed to make a clean getaway — and there are questions that need to be answered. Is it a matter of resources, which politicians can be badgered to fix?”

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