Speaking at the launch of the 2000/01 Annual Report to Parliament, chairman of the PCA Sir Alastair Graham said: 'Police forces must take urgent steps to meet the rising tide of public concern about a totally unacceptable 178% increase in fatalities involving pursuits by police over four years.'
There were nine deaths resulting from pursuits in 1996/97, and 25 in 2000/01 - 18 of those deaths were in the car being chased. Sir Alastair said despite the Association of Chief Police Officers introducing a new driver training scheme last December 'it is worrying to note that there are still reports of officers participating in pursuits or responding to emergency calls with inadequate training and using inappropriate vehicles.'
One measure to stop the problem would be the introduction of black boxes, trialled by many police forces, including the Metropolitan, Thames Valley and Hampshire constabularies.
Sir Alastair continued: 'The widespread introduction of data recorders for police vehicles involved in pursuits may help to prevent police drivers from taking unacceptable risks with public safety, as well as their own.'
Surrey Police has started a six-month test in 40 patrol cars in the Guildford and Waverly area after a 25% increase in the number of collisions last year involving its police cars. Half will be fitted with fleet data loggers for fleet management and half with incident data loggers (IDLs) to aid accident investigation. The black boxes record information such as speed, movements, braking, and whether lights and sirens were in operation at the time of the incident.