The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published new figures showing fatalities during or following police contact in England and Wales for 2016/17. Its report reveals there were 32 road traffic fatalities, an increase of 11 on the previous year, and the highest figure recorded in the last eight years. Twenty-eight of the deaths were from police pursuit-related incidents, more than double the figure for last year and the highest for 11 years, according to the IPCC.
Commenting on the report, Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "The sharp increase in pursuit-related deaths is deeply worrying and underlines the fact that police chases, often at excessive speed, are incredibly dangerous. We are particularly concerned to learn that none of these deaths were in response to emergencies and two-thirds of the people who died were passengers, bystanders or other road users. It simply cannot be worth risking innocent lives by engaging in perilous chases when trying to secure an arrest. The National Police Chiefs' Council must urgently review pursuit procedures in light of these very troubling figures."
Notes to editors:
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.