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Fleet News Spring Conference: Police will step in following fleet accidents

UK police forces will take a greater role in enforcing occupational road safety under Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plans.

The Government body is developing a national protocol with the police which could mean companies whose drivers have been involved in an accident having their health and safety policies scrutinised by the police.

Speaking at the conference, Sharan Bains, head of policy on work-related road safety at the HSE, said: 'There is already a protocol with the police and the HSE for fatal accidents but for accidents which are not so serious, the HSE is developing a protocol over the next year.

'Often the HSE gets involved with accidents too late, but the police are there at the scene.'

Under the new proposals, Bains said the HSE would concentrate its resources and not intervene in areas which could be regulated better by others.

However, it will develop guidelines for the police, with the new proposals being rolled out through the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on a national basis.

Bains said: 'The central path of the HSE strategy is to partner with others for road-related safety. We want to continue to raise awareness but it is important to bring occupational road safety into broader mainstream road safety.'

The police have welcomed the new initiative, according to Bains. She said forces were trying to develop a more proactive and educational service. 'The message we are getting is that the protocol is something the police can integrate into their own policies. Resources are a long-term issue but some forces have already developed initiatives.

'One force already sends a member of staff to visit a company if a fleet driver is fined for speeding. The police then ask about the company's road safety policy,' she added.

The police are expected to integrate occupational road safety into their general role but Bains believes the issue is not just about enforcement.

She said: 'Police contact with drivers provides a more proactive and holistic approach and it provides a leaner, trimmer public service.'

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